90113eLearning Disruptive Investment White Paper

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.

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