It’s Digital Learning Day in America … and Kentucky!

Legalize School ChoiceToday is the day to become a Digiformer! Click here and take the Digital Learning Day pledge to “support the effective use of technology to improve education for all students.”

The Bluegrass Institute is dedicated to promoting the growth of digital learning opportunities for kids across the commonwealth.

• Check out our “Digital Learning Now!: Obstacles to Implementation in Kentucky” report that shows one “real world” K-12 example of digital-learning success in Kentucky’s public education system — the Barren Academy of Virtual and Expanded Learning (BAVEL), a totally online high-school program.

The report notes that not only is Barren Academy “successfully graduating high school students once in danger of dropping out,” but the online school “accomplishes its laudable task for only 37 percent of the costs required to serve students in the state’s standard high school system.”

• Speaking of virtual learning succeeding in reducing dropout rates, you can’t get much more of a reduction than what Taylor County Superintendent Roger Cook achieved in his district. Taylor, to everyone’s surprise, announced during an Interim Joint Education Committee meeting last fall that he is operating “an illegal charter school” in his district.

Click here to find out how many students have dropped out in Cook’s district during his four-year tenure as superintendent.

Technical roadblocks to digital learning

While digital learning is certainly an untapped goldmine for education, it is not without its technical challenges. These roadblocks are part of what keeps digital learning from moving forward quickly and significantly.

In this installment of our digital learning video series, education analyst Richard Innes discusses these technical roadblocks.

How would you grade digital learning in Kentucky?

Continuing in our digital learning video series, education analyst Richard Innes is asked how he would grade Kentucky’s embrace of digital learning. The answer may surprise you…

You can view the other videos in the series here.

Is digital learning personal enough?

A common criticism of digital learning is that it is impersonal. Education analyst Richard Innes addresses this very issue in the sixth installment of our digital learning video series…

How cost efficient is digital learning?

In the fifth video in our digital learning series, education analyst Richard Innes talks about the efficiency of digital learning.

Which state excels in digital learning?

Bluegrass Institute education analyst discusses which state he believes excels in implementing digital learning.

Apple adds search to Education!

I am very happy to see Apple really pick up the ball in the aging textbook industry. As you may have heard in the news, Apple has released iBooks 2 & iBooks Author applications that will allow you to create text-books to be used on the iPad! I have already downloaded the app and plan to dive deep into learning how to publish. Over at they have a great video showing the possibilities of this new-be-standard in education. Everything that was talked about from Apple about the current education system is spot on with our own report by Richard Innes “Digital Learning Now“. I think this is a big step in education, as one of the educators said in the video, “There’s no reason, today, to assume that kids have to use the same tools that they used in the 1950’s. In fact, to do so is to prepare them for a world that is already past”. Click below to see what it is all about!

Apple in Education video

Kentucky Department of Education’s digital learning report draws from Bluegrass Institute’s studies

A report on digital learning, commissioned by the Kentucky Department of Education and created by OpenEdSolutions was released on December 8, 2011 at the Kentucky Board of Education meeting. The new report

The new study makes recommendations for improvement in 11 broad areas:

1. All students should be eligible for digital learning
2. Authorize multiple statewide online learning providers to expand full and part time options.
3. Allow students to personalize their learning.
4. Support customized learning pilots.
5. Support competency-based learning pilots (these allow students to proceed at their own pace).
6. Plan shift to online instructional materials by 2013-14.
7. Support the shift to blended instruction (this is instruction in traditional classrooms using digital resources instead of classical lecture approaches).
8. Plan for online assessment by 2013-14.
9. Create statewide online/blended learning authorizer/contractors.
10. Develop a fractional and performance based funding model (Allows $$ to easily follow the student to digital learning alternatives such as the Barren Academy for Virtual and Expanded Learning).
11. Create a program management office and fund the transition (would better coordinate digital learning support from the Kentucky Department of Education).

The Bluegrass Institute is pleased that our work in the digital learning area is being picked up by policymakers in Kentucky. We look forward to improving education in Kentucky with more innovations in digital learning.

We’ll provide an update with a link to the new digital learning report as soon as the Kentucky Department of Education posts it.