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The Board of Digital Learning Advisory Council

2017-2018 Annual Report

  1. Introduction

    The 2013 virtual schools legislation (Chapter 379 of the Acts of 2012, An Act Establishing Commonwealth Virtual Schools) created the Digital Learning Advisory Council (DLAC) to advise the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) and the Commissioner on:

    • The development of policies guiding virtual schools, supplemental online courses, education technology, and other matters related to virtual education.
    • The identification of best practices to encourage online education to complement classroom instruction in district schools.
    • The assessment of the appropriateness of the fee that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) may retain for the administration of the virtual school program.

    The law specifies that the DLAC include representatives from various statewide education organizations, districts and schools including virtual schools (i.e., teacher, administrator, parent), higher education, and non-profit and technology companies. The current DLAC includes a broad range of experts who meet these criteria.

  2. 2017-2018 Work of the Council

    In FY18, the Sustainability and Planning Subcommittee reviewed the proposed Chart of Accounts for technology, which comprises all of the operating and capital expenditures that local school districts report to the Commonwealth each year, and made the recommendations provided in the next section.

    The DLAC discussed updating the agency's guidance on technology planning, with a special focus on sustainability (e.g., buying vs. leasing, staggered purchasing, building in overages for devices, etc.) and the related implications for staffing, professional development, and the integration of technology planning into existing district and school improvement plans and capital plans.

    The DLAC discussed updating the agency's guidance for accessibility and assistive technology, an effort that began in FY17, and set a deadline of completing the guidance by the end of FY19. The DLAC also worked with, an independent nonprofit that seeks to identify high quality instructional materials, to include accessibility their evaluation criteria. This work will continue into FY19.

    At its March 26, 2018 Special Board Meeting, BESE heard a panel presentation and engaged in a dialogue with panel members and DESE staff about personalized and competency-based learning. DLAC member Michael Horn gave a presentation on personalized learning, competency-based learning, and their relevance to helping to close achievement, employability, and equity gaps in Massachusetts.

  3. Council Recommendations

    1. Chart of Accounts: The DLAC recommended that DESE provide a method for clarifying its method of accounting for technology leadership, software, online systems (e.g., learning management systems), security systems, and school-specific training in the use of technology software. The changes will be implemented beginning in FY19.

    2. Technology planning: The DLAC recommended that DESE update its guidance on technology planning to include additional guidance on sustainability by the end of FY19.

    3. Accessibility and assistive technology: The DLAC recommended that DESE update its existing guidance on accessibility and assistive technology by the end of FY19.

  4. Council Details

    Department Administrator: Kenneth Klau, Director, Office of Digital Learning

    Co-Chairpersons: Barbara Treacy and Peter Sanchioni

    Members of the 2017-2018 DLAC:1

    1. Amy A. Gracia, Teacher of English and Special Education, Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School

    2. Amy Michalowski, Dean, The Virtual High School

    3. Angela Burke, Director of Technology, The Collaborative for Educational Services

    4. Annamaria Schrimpf, Director of Education Technology, Minuteman Regional High School

    5. Barbara Treacy, Adjunct Lecturer and Digital Learning Consultant, Harvard University Graduate School of Education

    6. Cynthia Curry, Co-Director of the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials for Learning (AEM Center), Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)

    7. Elizabeth Tripathi, Education Policy Specialist, Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA)

    8. Fred Haas, Technology Integration Coordinator, Hopkinton High School

    9. Justin Reich, Executive Director, MIT Teaching Systems Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    10. Kevin Bauman, Senior Director of Product Management, Penn Foster

    11. Kyle W. Shachmut, Project Manager for Accessibility at HarvardX, Harvard University

    12. Michael Horn, Author of Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools and Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns; writer, speaker, and education consultant

    13. Peter Sanchioni, Superintendent, Natick Public Schools / Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents (MASS)

    14. Robert Reilly, School Committee Member, Northern Berkshire Regional Vocational Technical / Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC)

    15. Sarah Kyriazis, Manager of Instructional Technology and Digital Learning, Worcester Public Schools

    Council Meeting Dates:

    Full Council: September 15, 2017; December 15, 2017; May 18, 2018.

    Sustainability and Planning Subcommittee: December 5, 2017


Last Updated: August 22, 2018
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