New report: 8 ways to enhance digital learning in Utah schools

Digital learning is transforming K-12 schooling in Utah – whether through fully digital courses available from the Statewide Online Education Program, district programs or charter schools, or through “blended learning” models that incorporate aspects of digital learning into a physical classroom setting.

This positive transformation will continue to occur thanks in part to recent laws passed that have created one of the best policy environments for online learning in the nation. Still, Utah can do more to expand and improve this innovative and productive environment so students can use digital learning to learn what, where, when and how is best for them.

Sutherland has released a new policy report, “8 Ways to Enhance Digital Learning in Utah Schools,” which provides eight specific recommendations for helping expand and improve digital learning opportunities for children in Utah. Here is a list of the eight recommendations: 

  1. Adopt a digital learning requirement for high school graduation.
  2. Expand digital learning opportunities for middle and elementary school students.
  3. Establish competency – not time spent in the classroom – as the benchmark for advancement from one grade to the next.
  4. Require data on student learning to be considered when recertifying teachers.
  5. Require a professional development course in digital instruction for teachers of online or blended learning courses, and provide opportunities for training in digital instruction to all teachers.
  6. Clearly define in state law criteria and processes for shutting down poorly performing digital learning providers.
  7. Explicitly define blended learning in state law.
  8. Establish education savings accounts on a statewide basis.

You can read the full report here.

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5 Responses to New report: 8 ways to enhance digital learning in Utah schools

  1. Harvey1950 says:

    Why in the world would Sutherland push for enhanced digital learning when there is no evidence to suggest it’s any better than other, more traditional, forms of teaching? Of the few serious studies available on the subject, most indicate students educated primarily online do not perform nearly as well as their traditionally educated peers. Just because it’s new and innovative doesn’t make it better.

    • Matthew Piccolo says:

      Do you have links to these studies? I’d be interested to see them. 

      Digital learning happens in many forms from completely online at home to blended learning models in home and the classroom to simply using a software application for a few minutes a day in the classroom. The best part of digital learning is that it provides options — many options — so parents and teachers can tailor to the needs of each individual child.  Digital learning probably isn’t best for everyone, but a traditional classroom setting probably isn’t either. We should give children as many options as possible to help them learn in the best way for them.You can find research on the effectiveness of online learning at these links…http://www.inacol.org/research/ http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploads/Thinking_Outside_Building.pdf 

  2. Harvey1950 says:

    Why in the world would Sutherland push for enhanced digital learning when there is no evidence to suggest it’s any better than other, more traditional, forms of teaching? Of the few serious studies available on the subject, most indicate students educated primarily online do not perform nearly as well as their traditionally educated peers. Just because it’s new and innovative doesn’t make it better.

    • Matthew Piccolo says:

      Do you have links to these studies? I’d be interested to see them. 

      Digital learning happens in many forms from completely online at home to blended learning models in home and the classroom to simply using a software application for a few minutes a day in the classroom. The best part of digital learning is that it provides options — many options — so parents and teachers can tailor to the needs of each individual child.  Digital learning probably isn’t best for everyone, but a traditional classroom setting probably isn’t either. We should give children as many options as possible to help them learn in the best way for them.You can find research on the effectiveness of online learning at these links…http://www.inacol.org/research/ http://www.sutherlandinstitute.org/uploads/Thinking_Outside_Building.pdf 

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