'Keeping Pace' Report: As Edtech Improves, Individual Schools Take Control

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The 12th annual "Keeping Pace With K12 Digital Education" report is out, and this year's stated goal is to give a clear picture of why and how schools and districts implement digital learning. It also devotes a chapter to the policies that govern that implementation. The report found that autonomy over digital learning is shifting from states governments to individual schools and districts. According to the report, affordable options for digital learning are becoming more available, schools' proficiencies with technology are growing and the products themselves are improving. All of these factors lead to more more customized integrations of technology with instruction—a process schools are managing themselves.

By way of introduction, the report defines "digital learning" as follows: "any instructional practice in or out of school that uses digital technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience and improve educational outcomes." The definition, the writers say, is intentionally broad.

Combining online and onsite digital learning is much more common now than the entirely online model that originated in the 1990s, the report found. Students are now accessing online learning materials much more from school with a teacher than alone from home.

The report also includes a hefty glossary of every term you need to know in edtech. It emphasized visual communication of its data, some of which we have reproduced below.

From a sample of several million courses, the report deduced what subjects are most common. From these observations, the writers confirmed anecdotal evidence that"that schools will often select elective online courses for students that the school does not offer."

For any parents in search of a state with online curriculum available, "Keeping Pace" has compiled a map of the availability of state-sponsored virtual schools:

For any parents in search of a state with online curriculum available, "Keeping Pace" has compiled a map of the availability of state-sponsored virtual schools:

Lastly, the report summarizes recent policy initiatives and how they will affect education technology:

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