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The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education

Update on Digital Learning

To:
Members of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education
From:
Mitchell D. Chester, Ed.D., Commissioner
Date:
December 6, 2013

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We will devote the first hour of the December 16th special Board meeting to an update on digital learning.

As we have noted during previous Board discussions, school systems across the country are leveraging 21st century technology to advance learning in K-12 classrooms. Among the products and services that are proliferating are digital curriculum materials and electronic textbooks designed for student use; tools for teachers to use in monitoring student progress and managing classroom activities; on-line courses to increase course choice and supplement face-to-face instruction; and full-time virtual schools. Many of these have been fueled by the availability of low-cost end user devices (tablets and laptops) and an increase in digital tools and resources, making it possible for districts to move computers out of the computer labs and into the hands of students.

Our presentation on December 16th is part of our ongoing effort to keep you abreast of digital developments in Massachusetts public schools. The presentation will be divided into three parts:

  • Comparative data on districts' technology infrastructure, and information on our efforts to bring all schools and districts up to standards.

  • A demonstration of some of the digital tools and resources already being used in our schools, with the participation of teachers and students who are engaged in that work. The demonstration will include an update on how a district is using Edwin teaching and learning, a comprehensive suite of tools being developed jointly by Massachusetts and Ohio.

  • An update on the implementation of the new virtual schools law, which was enacted a year ago following the Board's recommendation for greater state oversight of virtual schools. This will serve as background information for the Board's discussion and initial vote on virtual school regulations on Tuesday, December 17th.

Associate Commissioner Cliff Chuang and Luis Rodriguez, Director of our Office of Digital Learning, will join us for this discussion. Copies of their presentation will be available at the meeting.



Last Updated: December 11, 2013
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