North Carolina is committed to providing the personalized digital-age education its K-12 students need to be successful in college, in careers, and as productive citizens. The transition to digital learning has already begun in North Carolina at the State, district, and school levels:
- Legislative actions during the past two years address preparing educators for digital learning, providing digital resources, and ensuring technology access in all schools;
- The School Connectivity, Home Base, and K-12 Cloud Computing initiatives have advanced North Carolina in providing the necessary broadband access, software systems, and digital resources;
- The North Carolina Virtual Public School has expanded curriculum offerings through virtual learning for students throughout the State;
- First-Hand Experience – Many of the State’s educators have already gained first-hand experience as digital-age learners in virtual and blended professional development programs; and
- Innovative Digital Learning Initiatives – Most importantly, districts and schools throughout the State are already deeply engaged in innovative digital learning initiatives.
On behalf of the State Board of Education and Department of Public Instruction, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation at North Carolina State University has developed the North Carolina Digital Learning Plan to accelerate North Carolina’s progress, working in collaboration with policymakers, education leaders, practitioners, business leaders, and other partners across the State. The charge to the Friday Institute was comprehensive:
The digital transition . . . will require changes in instructional practices, new types of educational resources, changes in classroom and school management, revised school staffing models, enhanced school and district technology infrastructure, Internet connected devices for all students and teachers, and educator training and support tailored to specific district and charter deployments. Further, State and local funding and policy frameworks will need to be revised. In short, the digital transition will require comprehensive planning.
The goal of the Digital Learning Plan is to build upon the existing foundation to develop a coherent long-term strategy that sets directions and priorities, supports innovation, and provides resources to enable the State’s educators and students to benefit fully from digital-age teaching and learning. The Plan provides recommendations for State actions that will guide and support K-12 schools in their transitions to digital-age education. This document summarizes the rationale and major recommendations of the Plan. The detailed Plan and additional background information are available at ncdlplan.fi.ncsu.edu.
Once the State budget for fiscal years 2016 and 2017 is finalized, a specific action plan will be developed for those two years to move North Carolina’s transition to digital learning forward to the maximum extent possible within the available resources.