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Utah Equips Teachers and Leaders to Deliver Digital Learning


For Immediate Release: June 6, 2019
Contact: Renee Rybak Lang, renee.lang@nasbe.org, 703-740-4841

Utah Equips Teachers and Leaders to Deliver Digital Learning

Alexandria, VA — A new analysis from NASBE details how the Utah State Board of Education helped school districts across the state ensure that teachers and leaders have the capacity and skills to deliver digital learning in the classroom.

Utah’s board led a task force to develop a vision for education technology use and principles to guide a statewide grant program, which was a critical first step in building legislative support for its funding, according to former Utah State Board Member Dave Thomas. Applying districts and schools are required to set long-term and intermediate goals for how digital learning will improve student achievement. Many of Utah’s districts targeted their need for improved teacher capacity.

Accelerating learning in the classroom often depends on teachers having the skills to make the transition to teaching with digital tools. To help more teachers gain these skills, the state board added a certification program for teachers to earn an endorsement in education technology. Offered through the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), a nonprofit focused on using technology to improve learning, candidates attend a two-day workshop, take online courses, and complete a portfolio that demonstrates their ability to use technology to improve their teaching practice. Utah is the first state to recognize ISTE certification for those seeking such an endorsement.

Now in its third year, most of Utah’s districts are participating in the grant program. The state is evaluating outcomes using teacher logs of technology use, teacher surveys, and a public dashboard where districts report progress toward student achievement goals.

Leaders in Utah identify important lessons for other states looking to implement a statewide program to promote digital learning. “Changing policies and practices around education technology takes broad-based coalitions,” said Rick Gaisford, the board’s education technology specialist. “The teachers have to buy into it,” Thomas added. Above all, “Don’t get so enamored with the technology that you forget to make sure teachers are prepared to thrive in digital classrooms, and use your oversight role to make sure technology is used in a way that makes the greatest impact for students,” says ISTE CEO Richard Culatta.

Read “Utah Banks on Statewide Approach to Adopting Education Technology.”

For 60 years, NASBE has served as the only membership organization for state boards of education. A nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, NASBE elevates state board members’ voices in national and state policymaking, facilitates the exchange of informed ideas, and supports members in advancing equity and excellence in public education for students of all races, genders, and circumstances. Learn more at www.nasbe.org.

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