Archive for the ‘learning’ Category

00308 National Educational Technolgy Plan

March 8, 2010

The 2010 National Educational Technology Plan from the U.S. Department of Education has just been released in draft form. A blue ribbon higher education committee had been working since last spring to develop the plan. They took input at the 2009 NECC meetings and solicited input from the education community. The Obama administration has set the goal of raising college completion rates to 60 percent by 2020. One of the means is to have a computing device in the hands of every K-12 student. The committee addressed this goal by focusing on five strategic areas: classroom learning, assessment, teaching, infrastructure, and productivity.

NETP Executive Summary 14pp:

NETP pdf 114pp:

Note: I called US Dept. of Ed Publications, and this plan has not yet been published in printed form for public access.

Education Week article 1pp:

SRI International’s site for NETP including community comments:

My comments from last fall are in their “Statements” section, about half way down the slider’s bar, starting with:

Innovation funding

and ending 20 comments later with:

14. eLearning research community of practice portal.

Last fall I wrote a seven page blog on the NETP planning process. I expressed concerns about the lack grand challenges and forward looking innovation. But my main concern was on the process itself.

After reading through the 90 text pages of this draft plan, most of my foundational concerns are covered. Much more important this work has reached a depth of detail and intellectual focus not often seen in this type of work. Many plans are at 40,000 feet. They are chuck full of situational assessments, imperatives and wishful but unrealistic thinking. This draft plan lays a solid and comprehensive foundation for the immense effort that faces all of us. Gone are is the word reform. In its place is the word that applies to our turning point – transformation.

I recommend that each of you take two to three hours out of you busy schedule for a bit of life-span learning.  Read and ponder the paragraphs this National Educational Technology Plan. Think about the role you can play in pulling it off.

I like the fact that this is a draft plan. Effective plans for implementation must be flexible and continuously evolving. So let’s keep it in draft form with continuous additions and updates as we get busy in the field, making it happen.

91001 Requirement 3a for P20 Data Committee

October 1, 2009

Subject: Suggestions for Addressing the Critical Issue of P-20 Data Driven Decision Support


The critical foundation to Arizona’s P-12 (was K-12, now PreK-12 => P-12) education future is the rapid completion of, and bringing to full operation, the P-12 data driven decision support system. This paradigm shift is the major change of creation, storage, transmission, communication and use of data. This transition is from analog means of verbal, white board and paper to digital means of audio, computer screens and data bases.

There are two separate but linked components to this data support system: student learning and administrative. These aspects have been addressed quite differently within the total ecosystems of Arizona P-12 education (micro, meso, exo, macro, and chrono)[1].

1. The Statewide Longitudinal Data System (SLDS) has being under development for 15 years. The creation of this summative assessment[2] based system has made significant progress over the pass several years and is becoming operational. Within the next few years the full implementation of this powerful tool will support administrative decision makers in school, district, state, governance and community. Approximately 10,000 Arizona administrators are expected to use this system on a daily to weekly basis.

2. The Teacher Student Learning Data System (TSLDS) (to coin an acronym) has had little attention over the past 15 years. This real-time formative assessment[3] data driven decision support system is needed to support the learning interrelationship of the student and teacher. Real time formative assessment is tied closely to or integrated into the curriculum. Effective digital curriculum includes automated formative assessment aspects that provide feed back, coaching, guidance and scaffolding to the student during the learning process. For problem sets this may be a simple right-or-wrong as the answer is input by the student. Hints or direction may be provided. An artificial intelligence (AI) system may shift the student to relearning a fundamental concept before readdressing the more complex solution. A different AI system may assess all aspects of an essay and support a redrafting minutes –not days – later. Teachers are provided with real time assessment of each student’s challenges and successes and can provide effective and meaningful individualized support. Approximately 60,000 teachers and one million students are expected to use this system on a minute to hour basis.

[1] Microsystem—the student’s family, school, peers; Mesosystem—two or more linked microsystems such as home and school; Exosystem—indirect outside forces-school boards, state standards, parents work conditions; Macrosystem—cultural beliefs, values, customs; Chronosystem—student is influenced by different systems at different times.

[2] Summative assessment—end of course tests, summing up work of student and links to demographic – operational data.

[3] Formative assessment—real-time and supports the student form the retained learning.

Race to the Top (RTTT) Data System Proposal

There is an opportunity that Arizona can secure data system funding in the range of $15 to $20 million from the federal government’s RTTT stimulus fund. This would be enable the SLDS to be completed and brought to full operation in about three years. The proposal must address four requirements:

(1) Implementation of all 12 data elements specified by the America Competes Act.

(2) A high-quality plan to ensure key stakeholders get access to and use state data.

  • Key stakeholders include parents, students, teachers, principals, LEA leaders, community members, unions, researchers, policymakers, and others.

(3a) Plan to increase educators’ use of data-based tools to drive instruction.

  • These “instructional improvement systems” include instructional planning, formative or interim assessments, rapid-time reporting, interventions and other actions

(3b) Plan to support researchers with data from longitudinal and instructional improvement systems so they can evaluate what works

Timing is critical for this proposal. The P-20 Coordinating Council (P-20 CC), Deb Duvall of the governor’s office and Arizona Department of Education have made this a leading priority. Boston Consulting Group has been engaged to assist. The P-20 CC created a SLDS Task Force whose first task is to support creation of a winning proposal. Cathleen Barton, Intel’s US Education specialist, heads up this task force. The proposal is due in early December, 2009.

Requirements (1) and (2) are mostly addressed within the history, current operations and long range plans of ADE’s SLDS and district level administrative data operations.

Requirement (3a) has not been well addressed over the past decades, and Arizona does not currently have many strong TSDLS’s in place – nor active plans and funding in place for comprehensive implementation.

Requirement (3b) will be readily addressed within the large and active educational research systems of our universities with their phalanxes of masters and doctoral students within every school district. Arizona has national class educational research operations like the Applied Learning Technology ^ Institute, the Fulton Institute and others throughout the state university system.

Reaching across all requirements is the ASU based and ADE funded Integrated Data to Enhance Arizona Learning (IDEAL) portal system for online teacher education and training and digital curriculum delivery. It has developed over the past ten years into a national model for a statewide P-12 data-information delivery network.

Statewide Longitudinal Data System (Requirements 1 ands 2)

SLDS is in the rapid growth phase of its forty-five year “S” shaped innovation cycle started in the 1970’s as school districts installed DEC, Wang, GE and other minicomputers in their back offices. This innovation is now accelerating toward maturity. The broadband infrastructure, data and computer systems are mostly in place for the teachers, administrators and staff who will be using the system. There is much yet to be done to provide training and to implement unique decision support systems to assure effective use these systems. Large districts have implemented their own sophisticated data systems over the decades. Small and remote schools and districts will need individualized support do to lack of expert staff in this area, and less sophisticated current systems. Much work remains to be done to integrate these systems into the requirements of SLDS. There seems to be strong support from leadership and staff at all levels to complete this task and start reaping the benefits. Fortunately for SLDS, work processes using green sheets for accounting, type writers for documents and file cabinets for storage have not changed significantly. Digital data systems have readily automated these relatively simple manual and intellectual tasks. The teacher-student learning process is radically more complex and difficult.

Teacher-Student Data Learning System (Requirement 3a)

TSDLS is at the beginning of the ramp of its fifty year innovation adoption cycle started in the late 1970’s with Apple, PET and TRS 80 micro-computer labs. This low cost, out-of-classroom experiment has not been successful in its charge to increase academic achievement. A few computers in the back of the class and a teacher computer plus projector have been the next step forward. But transformation to an elearning system is the only mechanism where research shows significant academic performance improvement. This human-technology integrated system includes:

Individual computer interfaces with 99% uptime technical support level;

Ten-fold increase in educator training and education for practice transformation to elearning;

Broadband Internet connectivity;

Individualized student learning pace and funding mechanism;

Digital curriculum that is unique and effective for each of the 200 semester courses offered in P-12 education;

And only then will “formative or interim assessment with rapid-time reporting” integrated with digital curriculum and teacher practice transformation have the effects that the Obama administration is expecting from RTTT funding.

Proposal Strategy

Here lies the elephant in the room. It will be a challenge to write a winning RTTT proposal for requirement (3a) without assuming that the elearning transformation system is to be implemented during the next three years. Unfortunately this prescribed statewide elearning system is currently only about 15% implemented. There are no plans backed with the $2 billion in net funding needed ($2000 per student, over ten years, when cost savings are factored in.) to accelerate this implementation. This funding is a one-time capital investment spread over ten years.  Arizona is struggling to keep the current implementation of K-12 education from sliding backward. The good news is that no other state has stepped up to elearning implementation any better than Arizona.

A proposal strategy might be to develop a unique message of how Arizona has had a long history of design and partial implementation of this P-12 elearning system design and has learned the challenges. Then build on an 8 year implementation plan that will have at its center the (3a) funding. This funding would be used to study the limited research and emerging practices of teacher-student data real-time systems. Then a startup design would be made and implemented within current P-12 sparse elearning system. With basic improvement in place, elearning build out for our entire P-12 system can be addressed.

Two Arizona experts that may be available to assist in the proposal are Joseph O’Reilly and Rick Baker. Joe is serving on the Arizona eLearning Task Force (AZeLTF) and is a leader at Mesa Unified District in this area. Rick is Associate director of the ASU Applied Learning Technologies Institute (ALT^I) at Skysong.


I suggest that the SLDS Proposal Team call on two Arizona elearning organizations to provide support for Requirement (3a). One is the AZeLTF appointed, for ten years, by the legislature and governor to address this issue, and housed at ADE. Two years ago AZeLTF was ready to award a contract for a $3 million middle school math elearning research project when the legislature swept the funding. The other is eLearning Systems for Arizona Teachers and Students Inc. (eSATS) a 501(c)(3) non-profit task team with a 20 year history of addressing this issue through engineering design, human systems and advocacy lenses. Members of this task team completed a study on elearning research for Institute for Defense Analysis/Office of the Secretary of Defense in 2005.


Data are necessary but to not sufficient for innovation driven change. Intuition, knowledge, champions and zealous advocates are also part of the innovation process. Only when data supports the development of information which is then transformed into knowledge to support decisions for action will effective transformative effects on P-12 education be realized.

90706 NIST and TIP focus on eLearning

July 6, 2009

ATP now TIP has a brief history of learning technology within its high priority technologies. In 1996-98 I knew a Dr. David Fisher in NIST as he developed learning technology within the ATP system and was in the founding meeting for ADL. David was back at Carnegie Mellon when we submitted a proposal to ATP. Of the 56 proposals, we were first to receive a call from the program director. He explained that of all the proposals ours was the best by far for the business section. But the NIST experts could not understand David’s expert-system tutoring model for technology support of learning. We did not receive one of the three $2 million packages awarded.

We understood that technology that drives eLearning did not have a research base in the late 1990’s and still does not.. Other technologies have decades of research and a cadre of PhD’s deeply immersed in R&D. eLearning has little recognition as a unique technology. The vision of eLearning transforming academic performance has yet to take root. The meme is a few computers in the back of the classroom and legacy pedagogy. If you do progress with eLearning I recommend  a significant effort in securing a cadre of proposal reviewers that are knowledgeable about eLearning.

I have attached a 2005 study for OSD-IDA where my team designed a portal for eLearning communities of practice. It might be a starting place for studying the expertise levels available for an eLearning TIP.

Building on the ADL definition for a learning object I am defining eLearning as:

Any learning supported by digital means.

Off ” White Paper

Critical National Need Topic Area:

Education both formal and informal, training to academic.

Your 2009 CNN Topic Areas are:

Civil Infrastructure


Green Chemistry




Personalized Medicine.

eLearning is a foundation issue that cuts across all technology areas. Somewhere in each of the studies (including Rising Above the Gathering Storm). The expressed concern is about one or more deficits in:

Educated/trained workforce;

Knowledgeable users/consumers;

Critical thinking populous;

Tech savvy political and adoption system;

Citizens fluent in long range analysis and commitment to change.

Many of technology studies gloss over the 21st century education deficit with education statements based on wishful thinking. The general theme may be: “Educators will self reform their education process and all teachers will miraculously improve their capability to top decile.” Us technical folks are very familiar with systems design and what it takes to transformation of our technology based industry. We are very familiar with disruptive innovation that is critical for transformation. But somehow we do not make the technology industry parallel with education and prescribe incremental innovation to reform of a very mature education industry.

As Henry Kelly opinioned in his 1988 congressional research report, all major industries except one have used technology to increase effectiveness, accessibility, productivity and efficiency. The one hold out is education. After a century plus of acceptance and celebration of technology transformation ranging from transportation to medicine education still does not get it.

Because the application of technology to support human learning may be the most difficult challenge is not reason for NIST-TIP to ignore it. With initial use in WW II (Link Trainer, etc.) the creation and adoption of eLearning applications has been slow. The normal technology driven industry innovation cycle takes 40 to 50 years. Twenty years from invention to initial ramp then another 20 year to maturity. But after 60 years sporadic eLearning adoption in K-12 education only 3% of learning is technology supported. The tippling point of 10% is many years off.

Industry revenues are estimated at $20 billion. The largest online provider is University of Phoenix Online, a $3 billion Phoenix operation. The largest digital curriculum provider is Pearson Digital in Chandler, AZ at $300 million. Pearson is a roll up of a half dozen AZ and San Diego K-12 eLearning startups. The eLearning industry is a tiny size if you consider the $trillion+ global market for formal and informal learning. It’s federal research budget is less than $100 million  which has not materially changed in 20 years.

What is the problem?

One is leadership at all levels failure to recognize and address this opportunity. The second is the low level of R&D funding to develop theories, support invention, create engineering design tools and develop and test applications. The third is the need for systems transformation of the entrenched legacy system for formal education.

NIST-TIP’s role plays out within the second problem. NSF, NIH, DOD and Department of Education have spent a tiny fraction of their budgets on eLearning R&D. There is little coordination and little application within the eLearning industry. What is needed is R&D leadership at the federal level.

NIST-TIP normally sends rifle shot into a half dozen technologies that are within a well established industry that needs innovation acceleration innovation in a critical area. I recommend that NIST-Technology Innovation Program take on eLearning as center piece program that addresses needs of all emerging technologies. A systems approach to eLearning technology innovation is recommended.

Components of this system might be:

  1. Bump long range global R&D 6.1, 6.2, and 6.3: Host the development and operation of the eLearning communities of practice portal. Coordinate the development of this community with FAS, DOD and other entities along an eLearning systems technology roadmap.
  1. Provide TIP funding in a coordinated invention-application effort within the critical elements of the eLearning system.
    1. eLearning savvy teacher development;
    2. Digital curriculum development;
    3. Real time formative assessment;
    4. Data decision support systems from teacher-student to administration;
    5. Broadband access for 100% of students.;
    6. Student interfaces for learning;
    7. Distributed learning systems.
  1. Be the champion within our national governance to promote the invention, development and adoption of effective eLearning systems to serve all citizens.

90625 System Design – Arcology Meme

June 25, 2009

To incubate – here are some ideas on Arcosanti the prototyping operation and the educational Cosanti Foundation and the philosophy “Arcology,” architecture coherent with ecology.

I did not come up with better examples of Visionary leader and organization and how they remained effective after the leader moved on.  Within the military, business, educations and governance organizations the visionary leader and his perturbation his disruptive innovation adopted, matured and then becomes integrated into the system.

Outside of these systems, organizations like Arcosanti exist to change the meme’s of a culture, both the words used and word views our minds use to make decisions.

The use of “ecology” is spreading fast from nature surrounding humans to other systems the surround and influence human activities. Current education research is addressed within the 5 major ecologies of the teacher-student to the meta-ecology that delivers the effects of the state on the human learning process. Consider redefining the word Arcology to mean the design of any aspect of the physical world to effect human tasks and well-being.

Design (I took my PhD in this area) effects every change we me make in our physical world. Very little of it addresses the entire system but just focuses on a change is a small segment.

Arcology could capture the high ground as a word that leads to much more systems design which in turn leads to needed transformations need not just incremental revisions.

Take Paolo Soleri’s vision for cities and urban design into an all encompassing vision for any system design that addresses the most major and far reaching physical and virtual issues of the 21st human race.

Innovation always, and I mean always, originates from an individual with a small group that some how cuts through the noise of society, and takes it’s disruptive innovation into the main stream of the culture.

Want an example, take Kinsey. His professor told him develop strong academic credibility with wasp research before he took on human sex. Arcology has this strong credibility in a niche area. It is time to take on the next level of responsibility, bring the concept of system design to the decision makers and masses.

The redesign the organization, to have the magnificent physical place of Arcosanti as the foundation for a system design in the virtual place. Then use (TED, YouTube, Wikipedia, Web, social networking,  Virtual Schools,…) to roll out to a global audience the meme of systems design.

Ted experience note: In my 20 years of hammering on eLearning systems design, the Arcology solution has not been accepted as the most promising way to address large issues like education. The incremental legacy education innovations continue unabated. The meme’s of the world must be changed to ready embrace system design (Arcology) as the only way to address the huge challenges the world faces.

Model: The Santa Fe Institute that brought (attempted to bring) complexity systems analysis to the world might be a starting model. But any effective model will have a meta-systems design of its own to determine how it can change the memes of 6 billion going on 9 billion people into becoming 21st century thinkers and doers.

90603 Bloom! Gange! Next?

June 20, 2009

In 1956 Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of Educational Objectives based on research for legacy education was published. In 1965 Robert Gange’s Conditions of Learning for instructional design was based on research for air force training.

These two taxonomies have had significant influence on the development of current education and training curriculum for the past 40 years. They are both based within formal learning situations.

Let’s assume eLearning is defined as any learning supported by digital means. The systems application of eLearning supports learning which is interactive; individualize; self paced; real time formative assessment coaching; high teacher-student and collaborative learner interaction; and student competency based.

Metadata studies indicate than eLearning systems adoption within legacy education will deliver a significant increase in academic performance and graduation rates. Informal eLearning increases access, effectiveness, efficiency and range of individual learning over their life span.

I believe that the eLearning transformation of legacy education and training is at its tripping point. It is time for a high level and widely accepted taxonomy to guide eLearning system invention, innovation and adoption.

An eLearning systems design can be described as an integrated set of components focused on the teacher-student nexus and supported by an intellectual and physical ecosystem. Major components are: eLearning savvy teacher, digital curriculum, formative assessment, student learning interface, ecosystem access, and technical support. The supporting ecosystem delivers educator professional development, education and mentors; data driven decision support system; broadband internet/web/communications access; and rules and funding to support competency based learning.

One aspect must be very clear; the taxonomy must not be a technology focus. Book-learning and flying-machine dominated the lexicon of early education and aviation. The words computers and technology have skewed the understanding of eLearning for many years. The taxonomy must address human learning process within the eLearning system.

How do we bring a Bloom or Gange taxonomy to eLearning? Is it expressed as an ecological system, a list of categories, or set of imperatives? Should the designer(s) of this taxonomy be an educational academic researcher, a practitioner, or from outside the education industry?

What ever we do, let’s start now. Time’s a wasting.

90331 Experts NO – Foxes YES

March 31, 2009

We are all concerned with the challenges in our own life and family as well as our community – country – world. From global warming, to the economy, to the societal demands not being met by our education system, we need answers. Who do we turn to? Why, we turn to the experts.

Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times started a recent article with the line “Ever wonder how financial experts could lead the world over the economic cliff?” He then gave an example of the Dr. Fox effect within a series of psychological experiments. An actor was given a pointless script with no substance of how mathematical game theory applies to education. The actor, as the phony expert “Dr. Fox”, gave this presentation to medical educators with a warm delivery with many jokes. Surveys of the audience mostly thought it was excellent.

For over 20 years Philip Tetlock at UC Berkeley tracked 82,000 predictions by 284 experts. Their results were only a “tiny bit” better than a chimpanzee throwing darts at a board. Their professor or experience made no difference. Fame had in inverse relationship. The media likes strong, black and white views.

These “Hedgehogs” are worldview and ideology based experts who are of no value in predicting the future. Then who can be of value? In Tetlock’s “Expert Political Judgment,” he describes the “Foxes” who trump experts. Foxes are cautious, centrist, pragmatic, prone to self-doubt; can see complexity and nuance and adjust their views to new information.

Our takeaway from these studies is that it is OK to be amused by wild “Cramer” type predictions or Gypsy fortune tellers. But we need attributes of a Fox to guide our path into the future. Three decades ago strategic planners shifted from forecasting to become facilitators who created probable scenarios and ran group processes to determine current strengths and weaknesses and future opportunities and threats. They began using system design and what-if modeling to provide the framework for decision making. This fits us Foxes like a glove since we are creating the future not predicting it.

Our particular arena is education whose technology is captured in the system definition of eLearning. We know the profound impact of all types of technologies on most of the world’s industries including entertainment and communication. From our pragmatic sense of the world we believe that eLearning will transform education. We do not yet know how it will happen, what technologies will be most effective or when it will happen. We hope that this transformation will enable all students to become highly motivated and effective learners within their unique abilities and aspirations. We are flexible because we know that all change has unexpected consequences. The painfully slow transformation is paced by the years needed for teachers to become effective eLearning practitioners, for the multi-tiered eLearning system to be established and the eLearning digital curriculum to move well beyond the legacy curriculum.

Year by year progress is being made. During this economic down cycle we Foxes are studying and creating policy needed to change the legacy financial system to support individualized student eLearning. We are also focused on the broadband Internet and data tools needed for eLearning to be effectively managed with Fox’s data – not Hedgehog ideology.

Stay tuned.

90201 Luck and Presence

February 1, 2009

Luck and Presence

I have been lucky all my life. Years, some times decades before an industry took off I voted with my feet to get involved. Early 1950’s aerospace, 1960’s biotech, 1970’s PC software, and late1980’s broadband telecom and eLearning. But my soles are getting thin rolling rocks up the eLearning hill.

As a capstone my luck-joss-presence has served up a “hoot!”

In December the New York Times Interactive Playbook offered an opportunity to guess the winners with point spread for the 11 NFC playoff, championship and Super Bowl games. Being a non-athlete in both skill and interest I only put on pads for my freshman team in high school. But up for a challenge I picked the Steelers and Cardinals to win through. I arbitrarily picked the other matchups. After 10 games there are no 10-0 Playbook players and only five 9-1 players out of the 10,976 folks who played. I am one of the 9-1’ers and rank 3rd. How’s that for beating 3330 to 1 odds!  My final pick in December was Cardinals by 2 in the Super Bowl. Let’s see if we can bring it home for Arizona!

This and That

Educational research is being shifted by the Obama administration from “scientifically based” to “development and innovation.” Education Week, January 28, 2009. “Scientifically based” methods work great in the physical sciences but without massive funding and many years over multiple parameters, work poorly and many times are misleading in the social sciences. With eLearning in the disruptive innovation phase, funding support should focus development and innovation.

Governor’s (K-12) Educational Advisory Group met in closed session on January 23rd, 2009. Our Rick Ogston Exec. Director of Desert View Academy – Carpe Diem Collegiate High School (Yuma) was invited and carried the ball for eLearning. His comments were well received. Hopefully our new governor will consider eLearning both a pressing issue and innovation opportunity as her policy evolves. I understand that Karla Phillips is the new governor education advisor. Ms Phillips is well schooled on the benefits of eLearning over her many years as an advisor to the leadership of the House of Representatives.

Last Monday morning a legislator’s breakfast in my Sunnyslope community offered me an opportunity to talk with Rep. Sam Crump R of Anthem. He said he was working on cutting the $22.5 million that the 21st Century Fund has to support of science based emerging enterprises (including eLearning). His rational is that the state could not pick winners or losers and should not favor certain industries. With all due respect I argued that science and technology is one area where a successful investment can be made by the experts. I stated that we all have to accept cuts in this troubled time and appreciated the tough job he has in the legislature. This morning I read that Sheriff Joe got an additional $1.6 million; K-12 education took a $113 million (1.6%) hit; Arizona Department of Education was jolted with an $8 million cut, and the $22.5 million was lifted from the Arizona’s 21st Century Fund for technology based innovation.

This Luck and That Presence

So eLearning gets some boosts and takes a few hits. Let’s see how lucky our Cards are this evening. Then it’s back on the path putting one foot in front of the other. It works for the man carrying the football and the man on plow behind the mule.

But mark my words – by 2011 the upsurge in eLearning will start affecting all Arizona students. By 2018 half of learning will be supported by eLearning means. And by the end of the 21st century Arizona may have …………………….a second Super Bowl victory.

Send me an email a decade from now, and let me know if I still got it!

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.


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.

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 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.


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.