90121 AZ and Fed $for eLearning

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.


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.



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