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Shifting to Quality Digital Learning with DLN Smart Series

Submitted by on April 23, 2013 – 2:02 pmNo Comment

DLN logoDigital Learning Now! (DLN), Foundation for Excellence in Education, and Getting Smart have partnered up to deliver the Digital Learning Now! Smart Series.

The series, released through the rest of 2013, is a group of collaborative papers that bring together top thinkers on the current trends in teaching and learning to explore the implementation challenges at the intersection of digital learning and the Common Core (source: 8 Implementation Challenges and Solutions). These complementary papers (complete with infographics, presentations, and soon with accompanying videos) are available to you on DLN’s Smart Series page.

View DLN’s infographic Blended Learning & The Teaching Profession.

Catch Up On the Current Smart Series Papers


1. Funding the Shift to Digital Learning: Three Strategies for Funding Sustainable High-Access Environments (view the infographic)

Beginning with historic buyers and past practices, this paper describes three potential strategies for investing in student access devices—state and district provided, parent pay, and a mixed model. The paper links credible examples for each strategy, which lead to the bottom line—educational leaders can plan for investing in devices and meet multiple goals simultaneously.

2. Data Backpacks: Portable Records & Learner Profiles (view the infographic)

This paper describes the poor condition of how student records and transcripts are managed, and how the current process fails to meet everyone’s needs. With such basic information following students each year, teachers can barely see into a student’s past performance, teacher notes, strengths, weaknesses, and needs.This paper provides two recommendations for addressing the inadequacies of today’s student records in order to power personalization from day one, at every step, for every student.

3. Getting Ready for Online Assessments (view the infographic)

This paper focuses on the new K-12 assessments following the Common Core State Standards. It provides a timeline for state and district leaders transitioning to online assessments in 2014-2015 and recommends we see the shift as the catalyst for changing teaching and learning in order to shift the education system toward personalized learning for all students.

4. The Shift From Cohorts to Competency (view the infographic)

This paper explores how competency education can connect learning to students’ passions and interests, drawing them toward higher-order thinking and deeper learning. The authors discuss how the shift from cohorts to competency can improve student achievement and school performance, and they answer frequently asked questions related to competency-based learning. The paper addresses education leaders’ concerns about shifting to competency education and ends with a discussion of state policies that support competency education.

5. Blended Learning Implementation Guide (view the infographic)

This paper is an implementation guide full of updated best practices and helps leaders create successful efforts in planning, implementing, and evaluating blended learning.

6. Funding Students, Options, and Achievement (view the infographic)

This paper offers design principles to assist policymakers as they reorient the system around students, and recommends school finance redesign, state and district collaboration, and creating space for innovation (rather than a centrally-mandated agenda). The authors contend that a full system redesign is needed and suggest that policymaker should focus on unlocking dollars for students through a weighted, flexible, portable, and performance-based system.

Stay Tuned for the Next Papers

Find all papers released for the Smart Series on DLN’s Smart Series page. The seventh paper, Improving Conditions & Careers, will publish in May and explore the implications of blended learning on the teaching profession. The eighth paper, due in June, will present the reality and promise of these shifts by busting common myths about online and blended learning.

Stay up-to-date with Digital Learning Now! on Twitter @diglearningnow (hashtags #SmartSeries and #DigLN) and on Facebook Digital Learning Now.

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