A State-By-State Look at Top Ed-Tech Initiatives

Kansas: The Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science (KAMS), established by legislative action in 2006 by SB 139, is a high school program for the state’s top high school students. KAMS is a residential learning experience that provides exceptional high school juniors and seniors a combination of college-level instruction by Ph.D. faculty; a high school diploma and 68 hours of college credit; hands-on research supervised by Ph.D. scientists; leadership development and civic engagement opportunities; co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to develop the whole student; a safe campus and residential environment; and trained support staff.

Kentucky: Encyclomedia is an internet-based comprehensive learning service offered free to Kentucky public schools through a partnership between Kentucky Education Television and the Kentucky Department of Education.  It offers teachers and students more than 4,000 videos, 40,000 video clips, and thousands of digital images, all searchable by key word, content area, grade level, and Kentucky academic standards.

Louisiana: Louisiana Course Choice links Louisiana students with access to thousands of high-quality academic and career-oriented courses. Approved course providers offer core academic, Advanced Placement, and CTE  (career and technical education) courses, as well as test preparation courses and college credit opportunities.

Maine: Maine’s revolutionary Learning Technology Initiative paved the way in terms of one-to-one programs, emphasis on personal learning, and statewide professional development.

Maryland: The MDK12Library.org initiative establishes a purchasing consortium of all 24 local school systems for the statewide, cost-effective purchasing of digital content. It also aims to provide equitable electronic database access for all students and teachers, and it promotes effective use of digital content in teaching and learning.

Massachusetts: With successful initiatives such as a lease-to-own laptop program and partnerships with local colleges to offer graduate credit for professional development, the Hampshire Regional School District is forging ahead in its goal of making technology an integral part of all operations.

Michigan: Last fall, Oxford Community Schools launched a virtual exchange program that allows American and Chinese students to take online classes taught by teachers on the other side of the globe. The classes are hosted by Oxford Virtual Academy, a school without walls within the district that already supports more than 500 full-time students and more than 250 part-time students. Oxford’s launch of the program began with three virtual English classes for the students in China: TOEFL preparation, ACT preparation, and English composition.

Minnesota: getSTEM is a web portal designed to connect Minnesota educators with science and technology businesses, in order to better prepare students for post-secondary education programs and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. getSTEM is a partnership between the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), along with sponsoring businesses.

Mississippi: This statewide initiative aims to expand broadband access across the state, especially to rural areas and those where students are in need of reliable, high-speed connections.

Missouri: While now a national initiative with multiple partnerships, eMints began in Missouri. It changes how teachers teach and students learn, and eMINTS National Center programs were developed in collaboration with the University of Missouri, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Missouri Department of Higher Education.

Montana: The Montana Digital Academy offers educational opportunities to Montana students and schools. Students can make up core classes, enroll in rigorous courses that might not be offered in their brick-and-mortar schools, and can take elective courses as well. 

MTDA puts no limits on learning. The school year is uninterrupted, running through fall, winter, spring, and summer. Students in our summer school classes can access courses at home or while traveling on vacation.

Nebraska: The NeBook Project is a partnership of schools, state, and nonprofit agencies to create digital books, assess their quality, and share them through a new virtual library that will also host content from multiple resources, including PBS and the National Archives.

Nevada: Connect Nevada is a subsidiary of Connected Nation and operates as a nonprofit in the state of Nevada. The public-private initiative has been established to work with each of the state’s broadband providers to create detailed maps of broadband coverage, conduct surveys to assess the current state of broadband adoption across Nevada, and to help communities plan for technology expansion. Connect Nevada Edified operates through Edified–Connected Nation’s new education initiative that seeks to increase the deployment of the latest mobile technology, robust wireless connectivity, education apps, and twenty-first century teaching practice in America’s K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. Edified builds partnerships with technology companies, education research organizations, broadband providers, and distinguished educators who desire to work collaboratively to promote technology solutions that have great potential to revolutionize learning and education outcomes.

New Hampshire: OPEN NH is growing and cost-effective statewide online professional development system geared to school or district needs. The initiative selects and trains facilitators, designs online courses specifically tied to the needs of NH schools and educators, and researches effective online professional development.

New Jersey: TeachTechNJ is dedicated to recruiting individuals to teach technology education in New Jersey. The state is predicted to face a shortfall of at least 900 ed-tech teachers by 2015. The initiative is geared toward high school students and parents, college students, career changers, and current educators.

New Mexico: New Mexico is making strides in digital content and eTextbooks. HB 310, passed in 2011, requires publishers to provide instructional materials in an electronic format for eReaders beginning with the 2013-2014 school year.

New York: New York City’s Innovation Zone (iZone) initiative is a community of schools focused on personalizing learning. By meeting the needs, motivations and strengths of each child, students will be better prepared for success in K-12, college and career. Across the iZone, schools achieve personalization in a variety of ways based on which ideas, technology and tools work best for their school community.

North Carolina: The Mooresville Graded School District has captured headlines for months in the wake of Superintendent Mark Edwards being named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. Under Edwards’ leadership, all students in grades 4-12 are provided with a laptop for 24/7 use. Technology is supported with comprehensive professional development for teachers, and the number of district students who move on to college has increased from 74 percent to 88 percent.

North Dakota: The Northeast North Dakota STEM Network, a statewide initiative aiming to produce students who are better prepared to enter a global workforce with critical skills, is focusing on ways that educators, from K-12 all the way up through post-graduate teaching positions, can master teaching these important fields and concepts, including communication and collaboration, critical thinking, and teamwork.

Laura Ascione

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