Without any money for new initiatives, Colorado educational technology officials are figuring out how technology already in place in schools can best be used in the future.
To accomplish that task, educators in the state are drafting a statewide technology plan. In its third year, the project provides information to all districts on how to use technology effectively. District leaders can look at the impact technology can have on learning and how that fits with the district’s vision for technology use.
During the 2004-05 school year, districts are working on revising educational technology plans or providing new plans to the state for approval, says Kent Tamsen, Colorado’s educational technology director. The state uses those plans to make sure districts are using technology resources effectively.
To further help improve the use of technology in classrooms, educators are in their third year of a program that uses technology to support data-driven decisionmaking. The Colorado Consortium of Data Driven Decision helps districts use assessment data to determine instruction. Currently, 75 out of the state’s 178 school districts are using the program to learn how to use data to improve instruction, Tamsen says.
Meanwhile, the use of online learning continues to grow in Colorado, with seven full-time online schools providing all coursework for many students. About 8,000 students were enrolled in such schools during the 2004-05 school year.
In addition, the state runs a distance-learning program called Colorado Online Learning, which started up three years ago and has grown to serve 3,000 students at all grade levels across the state. It offers courses in core academic subjects.