Policy suggestions for digital learning

An Education Week article today features a new report “Digital Learning Now” published by the Digital Learning Council that identifies 10 ways for states to change policy to increase access and equity in digital learning.  Here are the 10 ways:

  1. Make all students eligible to be digital learners.
  2. Give all students access to high-quality online courses and content.
  3. Allow students to customize their learning via online content.
  4. Allow students to advance at their own pace.
  5. Ensure that all online content is high-quality.
  6. Ensure that instruction and teachers are high-quality.
  7. Allow students access to multiple providers of content.
  8. Measure content and instruction by student learning.
  9. Create funding and pay incentives for performance.
  10. Build infrastructure to support digital learning.

While some of the suggestions seem repetitive and somewhat obvious (i.e. high-quality online learning should be self-paced.  That, to me, is a no-brainer.), I like the general sense of empowering the student, making them accountable for their learning.  “Allowing students access to multiple providers of content” is particularly empowering.  Think about this scenario:  A student opts for online learning for algebra.  The student, then, selects from a menu list of providers (all high-quality and ‘pre-approved’ by the school or Hawaii DOE) based on his/her learning preferences (i.e. more video-based lectures and projects versus text-based instruction and multiple-choice tests) and educational needs.  Of course, there needs to be some education for the student to determine how he/she best learns.  The exercise will help the student build his/her metacognitive skills; skills essential to success in life.  And, of course, there needs to be a  teacher or counselor at the school to support the student in making an informed decision as well as to provide ongoing support to the student as he/she completes the course.  Do you think students would feel more ownership of their learning, be more engaged, and perhaps perform at a higher level?