School districts often fall in the trap of using grants, PTA/PTO fundraisers, local taxpayer money, or federal funds to purchase technology equipment without an understanding for proper implementation and the infrastructure needed, minimal professional development for staff to shift instructional pedagogy, few contacts for community engagement or support, and little to no action plan for long term sustainability. Project 24, a free resource for school districts, set out to change the course of this looming crisis.
School districts are often focused on one or two implementation areas when rolling out digital learning, inadvertently and mistakenly leaving departments, stakeholders, and various decision points out of a shortsighted process. To avoid such common mistakes, districts can begin the systemic planning process by working through a free self-assessment, known as the Project 24 Digital Readiness Survey, created in conjunction with a well-known expert in technology integration policy and practice–Cheryl Lemke of the Metiri Group.
This comprehensive survey forces school district leaders to come together to analyze current district readiness in seven key areas known as “gears.” The seven gears highlight necessary implementation points and district level planning in the following areas:
Academic Supports: A well-instituted digital learning framework isn’t just something that occurs inside a district, as there are many outside support and resources that must be maximized to dynamically personalize the learning experience for all students.
Districts poised to be successful with digital learning implementation should have the following expectations and community partnerships in place: learner-centered environments, community engagement and outreach, a digital learning environment, as well as parental communication and engagement.
Budget and Resources: Shrinking or stagnant budgets and growing college and career readiness demands require that districts and schools approach budgeting and resources in creative, systemic, and new ways. School districts succeeding in this gear are successful in the following areas: efficiency and cost savings, alignment to district and building level strategic and tactical plans, consistent funding streams, and learning return on investment.