MDE Encourages Districts to Take Tech-Readiness Pledge Part of 2015 Digital Learning Day

March 13, 2015

LANSING – As part of today’s Digital Learning Day (DLD), a nationwide effort to promote modern tools in K-12 schools, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) encourages local district leaders across the state to take a tech-readiness pledge.

The Future Ready District Pledge, developed by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) in October 2014, is a commitment by district superintendents to work with educators, families and community members to make all of their schools “Future Ready.” 

The Future Ready Schools effort, a USED partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education, is designed to encourage and support local school superintendents as they transition their districts to personalized, digital learning.

“Future Ready pledges commit to fostering a culture of digital learning and moving to high-speed connectivity in their schools, as well as offering digital tools to help students and educators,” State Superintendent Mike Flanagan said today. “This is an extremely important effort, and I encourage all local superintendents to take the pledge.” 

The pledge is available at http://www.futurereadyschools.org/take-the-pledge, and pledgees are eligible to attend a free Future Ready Regional Summit.

For DLD 2015, the MDE is partnering with the Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRIG) operations office to raise awareness about the importance of digital learning for 21st century teaching, learning and assessment. 

The TRIG was authorized by the Michigan Legislature to prepare for online learning and assessments.  Appropriations for Michigan TRIG and federal E-rate activities totaled about $154 million in 2012-2014. Coordinated by the Universal Service Administrative Company under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission, E-rate helps schools and libraries nationwide obtain affordable broadband.

The MDE administers the technology readiness grants through Intermediate School Districts so all school buildings are ready to provide online testing.

In the ramp-up to DLD 2015, the TRIG’s five consortia are highlighting ways their member districts have integrated technology into the classroom. Some examples: 

  • Intra-Michigan Consortium (iMC): At Frankfort Elementary School in Frankfort-Elberta Area Schools, fifth-graders are the first in the district with a device for each student. The kids are showing increased student engagement and the teacher’s classroom role has evolved into helping students own their learning.
  • Kent ISD Consortium: At Bedford Schools, DLD falls on a staff professional development day. The district has named the day “Bedford 360 PD.” Plans call for breakout sessions where teachers learn about digital instruction. For details, visit http://bedfordedtech.weebly.com/.
  • Rural Northern Michigan Consortium: Ashlie O’Conner, a teacher at Alcona Community Schools, is a volunteer Instructional Technology Coach for the district.  In addition to consistent technology integration in her classroom, she has organized a school-wide hour of code. Learn more about this initiative at www.hourofcode.com.
  • Southwest Michigan Consortium: A special education center-based school in Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency provides services to nine districts in the Kalamazoo County. WoodsEdge Learning Center uses technology to help students with severe physical disabilities reach their fullest learning potential. Demo: http://kresa.org/digitallearning.
  • Greater Michigan Educational Consortium (GMEC):  At Harvey Swanson Elementary in the Brandon School District, students are engaged in practice learning using games and subscription applications. 

Learn more about DLD 2015 at www.digitallearningday.org. #DLDay