‘Roadmap for Reform’ contains detailed recommendations for state policymakers on digital learning

This past week, former Florida Governor and chairman of Digital Learning Now! Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise unveiled an expansive plan for utilizing technology to achieve educational progress entitled the “Roadmap for Reform: Digital Learning.” The detailed 72-point plan aims to bridge the considerable gap between student needs and available state resources using technology and digital learning.

Currently, less than 10 percent of the nation’s students experience the benefits of digital learning, while a far greater percentage are in failing schools with ineffective and inadequate teachers. The Roadmap for Reform is designed to customize education for the individual student so he can learn at his pace whether in school or at home, an opportunity currently not afforded to the average student.

According to the Roadmap, ten elements are necessary for High Quality Digital Learning: 1) Student Access 2) No Barriers To Access 3) Personalized Learning 4) Advancement (According to progress achieved) Quality Content 6) Quality Instruction 7) Quality Choices (access to multiple digital learning providers) 8)Assessment and Accountability 9) Funding and 10) Infrastructure. These elements are then subdivided into 72 specific guidelines by which elected officials and lawmakers can advance digital learning.

The ideal benefits yielded by digital and online learning are profound. Students are no longer restricted by time, nor are they confined to the classroom. They can engage in learning outside of pedagogical methods of teachers which may fail to meet the unique demands of individual students. Furthermore, emphasizing technology will alleviate the strained resources of public schools.

Both full-time and part-time online learning engages students in ways that classroom instruction sometimes fails to do, whether due to poor instruction or overburdened class sizes. Evolving and innovative methods are needed to garner student interest, and the array of interactive programs and software technology providers should be taken advantage of in public education.

Also included is a state-by-state report card, which comprehensively assesses the progress of every state on each individual metric of the ten Roadmap elements. According to the results, Louisiana appears poised to make significant progress if it continues to embrace digital learning, though it needs improvement especially in areas of funding and infrastructure. This year brought the arrival of Louisiana’s first online charter school, Baton Rouge’s Louisiana Connections Academy, with others slated to follow. For a state roundly criticized for its public education, digital learning is an important component with potentially transformative implications.