Kentucky Launches Digital Learning Plan

The Kentucky Board of Education has published a preliminary draft report that outlines its ambitious targets for online and digital learning in the state's public schools, writes the Associated Press.

The Digital Learning 2020 draft calls for a shift to online assessments and instructional materials, and ensure that all students in Kentucky have access to digital learning, via digital and online offerings within public schools.

The report also proposes creating a new branch of the state Department of Education that would be dedicated to managing the program and funding.

The report only hints at funding changes. It suggests linking funding to student performance in online courses, but offers no cost proposals.

"We have to find ways to provide more one-on-one opportunities for our students," David Cook, director of the Education Department's innovation division, told the board.

"What are the delivery methods that work best … let's fund those … rather than something that's archaic."

The report consists of 11 recommendations – including moving to online assessments by the 2013-2014 school year, shifting to online instructional materials by 2014-1015, and allowing students to use technology to personalize their learning.

However, there are some that still need convincing. Many board members have expressed concerns that are they believe to be representative of the general public, especially with regards to student access to computers and whether online teaching materials would be subject to state oversight.

"You tend to think there is a textbook that somebody has sat down and reviewed the textbook," said David Karem, board chairman.

"The quality control is a big issue. It's going to be a huge challenge."

This draft report comes after the Governor's Task Force on Transforming Education in Kentucky which called for greatly expanded use of technology in the public schools.

Cook has outlined plans to meet with board members regularly and keep them updated on the work-in-progress report.

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