Archive for January, 2009

90121 AZ and Fed $for eLearning

January 21, 2009

The following is based on the federal funding for education from President Obama’s draft stimulus package discussed in last week’s blog. I recommended that Arizona seize this opportunity to use these funds to accelerate the transformation of our K-12 education system from legacy to eLearning.

Arizona will be making significant cuts in K-12 education funding required to address the revenue loss do to our faltering economy. In this blog, I recommend that Arizona add back a small percentage of these cuts to leverage the federally funded transformation to eLearning. Only with effective eLearning in the classroom and online can we hope to ameliorate the hit on student academic performance that the deep cuts in funding portend.

Note: The initial $ amount is my estimated Arizona funding from the stimulus package.

FEDERAL 21st Century Classrooms

Fed $280 million for school construction including technology upgrades:

Arizona Students First legislation and the School facilities board have done a good job of traditional school construction. Now we need to focus over the next couple of years on the technology in all 1000+ Arizona schools with 1,000,000+ students.

The first critical issue is the student interface with eLearning. There are three high definition visual interfaces that are standard throughout our society. The TV screen, the computer monitor and the palm top device. Over the next few years, expect convergence between all three for similar applications, content and interactivity. Much of the computing will reside on the network. Learning outside the classroom is critical to learning within the classroom. Therefore, I suggest we consider a portable student interface with a medium sized desktop screen and audio with standard input devices as a starting point.

Let’s provide schools with the $280 million for networked student interfaces and assume that individual units with installation could be acquired for $350. Approximately 80% of our non-eLearning served students will have 24/7 access. They would join about 10% of our students that currently have access to eLearning in classrooms and Technology Assisted Project Based Instructional Program (TAPBI) online schools.

Fed $260 million for IDEA Special Education:

With about 100,000 Arizona students served with a wide range of special education programs the average is $2600 per student. Part of this funding will assure that each student has whatever access to eLearning for their particular need requires. This final 10% of the student population completes the provisioning of an individualized interface for every Arizona student.

Fed $20 million for educational technology:

This should be applied to teacher education and professional development in the area of eLearning. Lets assume that 25% of Arizona teachers are no longer eLearning novices and are savvy at a level to be effective in an eLearning classroom or online. The funding available is $400 each for the remaining 50,000 teachers and educational leadership. Considering that the typical training expenditure for the intellectual staff in business is $1500 per year, this is not very much.

We have a cadre of eLearning mentors in most schools. If we use online, virtual and hybrid forms of eLearning to deliver this teacher education and professional development we could achieve significant efficiencies of scale, learning acceleration and access. The funding should be provided to the Arizona Department of Education to be used to further develop and increase capacity of their IDEAL system to deliver enhanced service into every school and community in Arizona.

Arizona $3 million to create a unique virtual classroom within IDEAL in collaboration with Arizona’s universities and eLearning enterprise community  that ranges from the Apollo’s University of Phoenix Online to numerous boutique eLearning digital curriculum development companies. This virtual classroom would address unique Arizona needs and gaps in the online and hybrid learning that is accessible and affordable from the web.

FEDERAL Higher Education

Fed $320 million to support students with grants and loans.

Arizona teaching cadre needs about several thousand graduates a year who are eLearning savvy. The first priority should be students who will become K-12 teachers upon graduation. With Arizona’s universities collaborating between colleges for specialized teachers in areas such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics this support should not be limited to college of education students. The federal funding would support 5000 students for $10,000 per year over six years.

Arizona $3 million to support the three Arizona Universities in their task to transform their curriculum to address eLearning pedagogy and processes.

FEDERAL K-12 Education

Fed $260 million for Title I for disadvantaged kids.

Assuming 20% of students are served by Title I then there is $1250 per student. At 25 students per classroom this would provide $31,000 per classroom. This cadre would have their needs filled for digital curriculum, online access to virtual content, teacher eLearning equipment and systems for several years.

Fed => $5 million Statewide Data Systems. Three years ago our legislature appropriated $2.5 million and garnered an additional $6 million federal grant for the Arizona Department of Education data warehouse and student information system. This system will be operational at the state level by the end of 2009.

Arizona $5 million is needed to migrate this lead in state and school district decision support system to use in the schools and classrooms. To achieve full potential, eLearning students and teachers must have formative assessment data systems that provide real time coaching to both. School leadership needs current data to support their decisions out to the district office and into the classroom.

Fed => $6 million for incentives for high performing teaching and administration and to address teacher shortages and modernized teaching work force. At $100 per teacher this is a drop in the bucket. Use the funds in current programs.

FEDERAL Transform our Economy with Science and Technology

Fed => $60 million to expand broadband internet access so businesses (and schools and health care!) in rural and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy. The Arizona Telecommunications and Innovation Council, Government Information and Telecommunications Agency, Arizona Department of Education and Arizona Technology Council and many others have been working this issue for two decades. A $60 million bump in funding would have a huge effect and set a number of well developed plans rolling. The private sector will be a significant player with this level of stimulus.

AZ $1 million to do an accelerated mapping survey and analysis of the current broadband build out to prepare for and influence the federal funding.

Summary:

e90121FedandAZFunding $millions
Federal Arizona
Student Interactive Interfaces
Regular Education 280 0
IDEA Special Education 260 0
Education and Professional Development 20 3
Teacher Pre-service Education 320 3
Disadvantaged Students 260 0
Data Supported Decision Support System 5 5
Educator Performance Incentives 5
Complete Statewide Broadband System 60 1
1210 12

With a lot of stimulus funding and several critical investments from our legislature this session, Arizona can seize the opportunity for eLearning transformation and amelioration of the effects of the State funding cuts to K-12 education.

Advertisements

90116 Federal Stimulus $ Draft

January 16, 2009

I made a number of calls Thursday to eLearning’s fabulous four (Consortium for School Networking – CoSN; International Society for Technology in Education – ISTE; Software & Information Industry Association – SIIA; State Educational Technology Directors Association –  SETDA ). They have been advising the Obama transition team as well as working congress. Mary Ann Wolf Executive Director of SETDA set me some breaking results from appropriations.house.gov on the Summary of American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill including Education for the 21st Century.

The following summary and plan of use assumes Arizona will receive approximately => 2% based on population. Arizona has approximately 1,000,000 out of the nations 50,000,000 students and special education serves approximately 10% of our students. The recommendations for use is based on eSATS and planning of others based on a statewide eLearning systems design. This design has as its nexus the teacher-student in the classroom and both physical and intellectual statewide supporting infrastructure.

It is bit complex to tease eLearning out of the many funding categories in the Summary, but here goes.

21st Century Classrooms

$14 B => $280 million for school construction including technology upgrades. Assuming $50 million for computers in the classroom at $500 per unit, 100,000 or 10% of Arizona 1 to 1 students to computer classroom needs could be satisfied. I would recommend that all these computers are used to create 2 to 1 classrooms that can later be upgraded to 1 to 1. When the 20% of the classrooms in Arizona are transformed into eLearning effective classrooms the tipping point for disruptive innovation will have been crossed.

$1 billion => $20 million for educational technology which gets back to prior years level of federal support. It includes computer and science labs and teacher technology training. Assuming that Arizona continues to move away from the ineffective computer lab model and uses school construction funding for computers then $5 million for science labs and $15 million for teacher professional development in use of eLearning could result. The 20% of teachers who are most eLearning savvy and are assigned the 2:1 classrooms will receive the $15 million in professional development. These 10,000 teachers would move from the current $100 per year professional development funding to $1500 over two years to transform their practice while in a rich eLearning environment. Schools in Arizona would have an average of 8 mentor-master eLearning teachers that will be the heart of full transformation to eLearning over the next eight years.

Higher Education

$16 billion => $320 million to support students with grants and loans should be aggressively promoted to enhance the quality and number of STEM and K-12 educator graduates of Arizona’s colleges and universities.

K-12 Education

$13 billion => $260 million for IDEA Special Education. With about 100,000 Arizona students served with a wide range of special education programs the average is $2600 per student. Many eLearning solutions are of critical benefit to special education.

$13 billion => $260 million for Title I for disadvantaged kids. I am not sure of the number of Title I students but assuming 20% then there is $1250 per student. For a classroom of 25 this $25,000 could provide a computer for every student, teacher professional development, full digital curriculum, teacher eLearning equipment and software for three years.

These Title I eLearning based 1:1 classrooms and 2:1 classrooms from the 21st Century School funding and Special Education eLearning could put Arizona approaching the 50% eLearning mark  within the next couple of years.

$250 million => $5 million Statewide Data Systems. Three years ago our legislature appropriated $2.5 million and garnered a $6 million federal grant for the Arizona Department of Education data warehouse and student information system. This system will be operational at the state level by the end of 2009. Another three years and $10 million are needed to support school district to classroom use of this decision support system. To achieve full potential eLearning students and teachers must have formative assessment data systems that provide real time coaching to both.

$300 million => $6 million for incentives for high performing teaching and administration and to address teacher shortages and modernized teaching work force. With $30 per teacher this is a drop in the bucket where $3000 per teacher is needed.

Transform our Economy with Science and Technology

$6 billion => $60 million to expand broadband internet access so businesses in rural (what about schools! Ted the eD) and other underserved areas can link up to the global economy. The Arizona Telecommunications and Innovation Council, Government Information and Telecommunications Agency, Arizona Department of Education and Arizona Technology Council and many others have been working this issue for two decades. A $60 bump in funding would have a huge effect and set a number of well developed plans rolling. It may cost twice or three times as much in the long run but the private sector will be a significant player with this level of stimulus.

Go-Forward

We at eSATS now need to align this draft data with the eSATS design needs and potential sources including state funding and resource provider organizations. The our legislative and governance leaders working on the budget need to factor in federal sources of funds.

Looks the light at the end of the tunnel may not be another train approaching on our track.

90113eLearning Disruptive Investment White Paper

January 13, 2009

White Paper

K-12 eLearning Future Starts Now

Over the next two and a half years Arizona and United States governance, business and education will implement significant changes within our society. This discontinuity of change happens every few decades. A significant economic crisis triggers chaos in our overly mature way of life and opens the door to innovation. Sort of like the renewal process of nature with its fires, storms, earthquakes, floods and winters.

Our approach to this should be the entrepreneurial “If you can’t fix it, feature it.”

How about featuring eLearning.

Arizona has been working and experimenting with eLearning for over two decades. Most everyone has had some eLearning experience.  A small percentage of education hours, 2% to 4%, is supported by ised Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Thought leaders ranging from the New York Times to American Heritage’s “Invention and Technology” are calling for President (almost) Obama to invest in school computers and broadband networks.

We should expect significant increase in federal investment for eLearning especially in broadband and maybe computers. The states that are most prepared and committed will receive a larger share of Federal support.

Our governor and legislature must address $5billion (one estimate) of revenue shortfall vs. current expenditures over the next 2.5 years. As they develop this long range solution we think they might over adjust by 2% and use the $100million as Arizona’s state level contribution to the eLearning transformation.  They also need to change a few K-12 administrative rules and procedures to promote flexibility and accessibility of learning while reducing district costs.

Our federal government must also invest in educational infrastructure as part of the economic stimulus and support of disruptive innovation. Lets start with them.

Every one of our students need an internet connected computer based interface for their school work. This may be a PC, network computer, laptop or “other.” About 90% have a computer in their home. Many have limited access in the back of the classroom or school computer lab but that is not enough. With 55 million students and assuming $600 for a computer interface a federal investment in hardware plus system would be $33 billion one investment. In four years renewals and upgrades would start kicking in at $7billion to assure effectiveness.

The rational is that this complete eLearning system will gain back some if not all of the reduced student academic achievement and graduation rates from the cuts to traditional educational budgets. As the economy recovers our schools will be positioned to flourish with their digital native students and a humanized digital world of Arizona K-12 education.

90104 eLearning and the Budget

January 4, 2009

The Sunday Arizona Republic has two different but complementary articles. “State Treasurer Dean Martin: Arizona may run out of money in February” on the front page has some interesting numbers. Arizona’s daily “burn-rate” is $28.7 million per day. To balance the 2008-2009 budget the rate must be $17.4 million per day. The March payment of $600 million to K-12 education is in jeopardy.

Ioanna Morfessis’ article “In for the Long Hall” (Viewpoints) addresses why some state economies flourish and others fail. She features an initiative I founded with a task force in 1988 as president/founder of the Enterprise Network. Our design and advocacy resulted in the Arizona Strategic Plan for Economic Development. Its major innovation was invention and implementation of the economic cluster concept. ASPED delivered a radical blueprint to free Arizona from dependence on its one-industry-dominance by construction. During this period (late 1980’s-early 1990’s) we were in a similar savings and loan – real estate meltdown. ASPED was adopted to break out of this cycle.

Unfortunately there was a lack of continuity from governor to governor. Arizona squandered this opportunity. Twenty years later we are once again in a real estate melt down with a per-capita budget deficit that is the highest in the nation. Fortunately Arizona’s efforts from 20 years ago may provide a pathway to a disruptively innovative new solution.

An idea emerged from the dozens of ASPED focus groups and meetings that engaged 3000 Arizonans. This idea did not fit any of the standard industry or economic foundation categories. The concept was that process transformation by technology could significantly improve K-12 education as it had the other identified industry economic clusters. A small task team formed and called itself Learning/Research/Enterprise Inc. Sixteen years and several iterations later this intrepid team created the Greater Arizona eLearning Assoc. (GAZEL) in 2001 and eSATS in 2004. Meanwhile the Arizona eLearning enterprise cluster grew to $3+ billion in revenues.

K-12 education is supported by over 50% of the state budget. With all the “budget gimmicks” used up, it is expected that many hundreds of $millions will have to be cut from K-12 education this fiscal year. Fiscal year 2009-2010 looks now better. I am finding that it has been quiet at the legislature. Educational advocacy groups are waiting for legislative proposals and the Legislature is waiting for our next governor to be installed. The Arizona legislature convenes on January 12th. I can find no indication that the tough solution for the next six months has been crafted, let alone a strategic solution to smooth out these cycles.

I posit that Arizona is on a cusp where a nudge will send Arizona into one of a wide range of economic futures. The normal political process works reasonably well for critical short range single issues. But it is not well suited for the current complex long range set of issues. I suggest we use a strategic process that capitalizes on assessment, innovation and rational design.

We have three unique organizations in Arizona that have the wisdom and talent to design a budget solution in the best interests of all Arizonans:

P20 Council with Arizona leaders and experts across business, education and governance. They have three years of experience studying a wide and deep set of P20 education issues and have formulated recommendations for implementation in many critical areas.

ABEC – Arizona Business Education Coalition a group of organizations has had significant success with implementing programs and legislation to improve Arizona K-12 education. Financial reform is their top priority and they are finishing their plan to take on this enormous multi-year undertaking.

AZeLTF – Arizona eLearning Task Forces was formed by the legislature and governor’s office to make recommendations on how to transform K-12 education by addressing all aspects of the eLearning system. They have worked hard over the past two years assessing the practical effects and means to implement online, virtual, hybrid and 1:1 classroom eLearning. They have also defined what is needed at the state level to support eLearning in Arizona’s public schools.

My recommendation is simple. Organize a nine member task force of three leader members from each of these organizations. This group would be tasked to deliver — by the end of January — a working draft of state budget changes that affect K-12 education from February to June 2010. Their contribution could be recommendations for funding cuts and reallocations. The reallocations will be to rapidly implement eLearning solutions to increase individual student academic performance. The eLearning increases would compensate for education losses caused by budget cuts to traditional education.

The bottom line is best described by an analogy. The Navy’s plan in 1941 was to fight the Pacific war with battleships. Pearl Harbor changed everything, and they had to accelerate their adoption of an emerging technology – aviation. With heroic effects, they caused the tide of war to turn in our favor in just 6 months. We have only 5 months. Let’s get with it.