Robust Infrastructure

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When employed as part of a comprehensive educational strategy, the effective use of technology provides tools, resources, data, and supportive systems that increase both teaching and learning opportunities, while ensuring equity in access and opportunity for each student. In addition to promoting efficiency, learning environments with sound infrastructure are designed to support anytime, anywhere learning based on competency and content mastery. Learning environments provide flexibility for individual or collaborative work supported by caring adults who are guiding the way for each student to succeed. High-quality, high-speed technology and infrastructure systems within and outside of a school district are essential to supporting anytime, anywhere learning and to advancing comprehensive digital learning. Future ready schools and districts continuously leverage partnerships with community groups (e.g., public libraries, community centers, municipalities, and internet service providers) to help learners pursue their learning beyond the school day. 

Adequacy of Devices: Quality and Availability

The school has considered a host of creative options to ensure that diverse and appropriate technology devices are available to all students and staff to support powerful digital learning at any time, from any location, in and out of the school network. To ensure equitable access to digital learning opportunities, future ready schools and districts implement plans specifically focused on providing devices to all students (e.g., providing district-owned devices to each learner, leveraging bring your own device (BYOD) programs, loaner/rental programs, etc.) and partnerships to support adequate out-of-school broadband access.  

Robust Network Infrastructure

Adequate bandwidth and a supportive infrastructure are in place to ensure ready and consistent access to online resources for teaching, assessing (including formatively and summatively), and learning. Network performance monitoring identifies possible bottlenecks and prevents and/or mitigates adverse impact to teaching and learning. Privacy, safety, and security are primary concerns as well. The school community collaboratively designs responsible use policies and confirms that the network design supports these policies. All users are provided in-depth and ongoing digital literacy and cybersecurity training. 

Adequate and Responsive Support

Sufficient technical and instructional support is available in every school. This support is proactive and provides resources, coaching, and just-in-time instruction to prepare teachers and students to leverage technology for learning, thereby reducing the need for interventions during the learning process. In addition, teachers and staff are trained to identify inequities that hinder learners digital learning such as  limited access to tools and resources outside of school, digital literacy skills, and/or  family support. Future ready schools and districts secure a leadership position designed to make decisions to improve teaching and learning through technology integration. This role outlines the district’s vision for technology, implementsdigital learning strategies, and ensures that technology resources align with students’ learning needs. 

Formal Cycle for Review and Replacement

Future ready school and district teams continuously monitor technologies— software, hardware, and infrastructureto ensure upgrades, additions and, when called for, sunsetting/eliminations in a timely, environmentally responsible, and proactive manner. Where possible, teams make concerted efforts to automate systems. 

Featured Resource

[blog] Closing the Homework Gap in Middletown City School District

Providing students with home internet access and devices has been the greatest equity challenge facing the district, but it is only one part of the district’s strategic plan to support innovative instruction.

Implementation Guide

Consistent and Ongoing Communications

The effective use of technology provides tools, resources, data, and supportive systems that increase opportunities for teaching and learning.

Cited References
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  • Battelle for Kids, “Roadmap21: Under Revision,” http://www.roadmap21.org/assets/Creating-Your-Roadmap-to-21st- Century-Learning-Environments1.pdf (accessed June 18, 2020). 
  • Consortium for School Networking, “Certification,” http://www.cosn.org/certification (accessed June 18, 2020). 
  • ———, Smart IT: Strategic Technology Planning & Investment,” http://www.cosn.org/smartit (accessed June 18, 2020). 
  • “The Device Debate in Digital Learning,” Alliance for Excellent Education webinar, 42:00, July 25, 2013, http://all4ed.org/webinar-event/the-device-debate-in-digital-learning/. 
  • Education SuperHighway, Network Essentials for Superintendents: Upgrade Your Network for Digital Learning (San Francisco, CA: Author, 2015), http://www.educationsuperhighway.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Network-Essentials-For-Superintendents-Version-2.14-2.19.15.pdf 
  • Education SuperHighway, “School Wi-Fi Buyers’ Guide,” http://buyersguide.educationsuperhighway.org/ (accessed June 18, 2020). 
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  • M. Russell, D. Bebell, and J. Higgins, Laptop Learning: A Comparison of Teaching and Learning in Upper Elementary Classrooms Equipped with Shared Carts of Laptops and Permanent 1:1 Laptops,” Journal of Educational Computing Research 30, no. 4, (2004): 313330. 
  • State Educational Technology Directors Association, “Transformative Digital Learning: A Guide to Implementation,” http://digitallearning.setda.org/ (accessed June 18, 2020). 
  • K. Thigpen, Creating Anytime, Anywhere Learning for All Students: Key Elements of a Comprehensive Digital Infrastructure (Washington, DC: Alliance for Excellent Education, 2014), http://all4ed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DigitalInfrastructure.pdf. 
  • Tepe, L., Kehl, D., & Morris, S. (2014). Connected Communities in an Age of Digital Learning: A Vision for a 21st Century E-rate Program. Available at: https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/events/connected-communities-in-an-age-of-digital-learning/  
  • UNESCO, Turning on Mobile Learning in North America: Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications (Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, 2012), http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002160/216083E.pdf 
  • U.S. Department of Education, “ConnectED: Learning Powered by Technology,” https://www.ed.gov/connected (accessed June 18, 2020).  
  • ———, Future Ready Schools: Building Technology Infrastructure for Learning (Washington, DC: Author, 2014),  https://tech.ed.gov/futureready/infrastructure/  
  • ———, Transforming American Education Learning Powered by Technology: National Education Technology Plan 2010 (Washington, DC: Author, 2010), http://tech.ed.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/netp2010.pdf.