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Bob Wise Applauds West Virginia Senate for Passing Digital Learning Legislation

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March 03, 2011 07:26 pm

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Earlier this week, the West Virginia State Senate passed legislation to establish digital learning in the state’s public school system. Digital learning is any type of learning that effectively utilizes technology to support a high-quality education. It includes, but is not limited to, online classes and the use of technology in a traditional classroom to create a blended approach to teaching using smart boards, educational gaming, and internet devices. In response, Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia, made the following statement:

West Virginia is already a leader in using technology effectively in education. This new legislation builds on that success and would position West Virginia as one of the true digital leaders in education— an important message for economic and educational development.

Through the internet, today’s students are more connected to the outside world than during any other time in history. It is time we stop asking them to power down when they go to school and instead to power up and use their interest in technology and social networking as a new way to learn.

Effective teachers are an invaluable component of digital learning. Imagine delivering high-quality content over the internet to large numbers of students where classroom teachers could then personalize that content to meet individual students’ learning needs. Now that’s what I call a force multiplier.

Digital learning offers students the chance to have a more personalized learning environment where they can work at their own pace—they can move on when they master a subject or take extra time in an area where they need more help. It can also provide all students, rural or urban, with access to a number of high-quality subjects that may not be available in their individual schools, including foreign languages, math, and science.

Teachers have been and always will be the key to educating our students. Digital learning offers them a way to do their job more effectively while using technology as a professional development tool.

I applaud the work of Education Chairman Robert Plymale and the rest of the West Virginia State Senate for working to pass this bold legislation.

The legislation, WV Senate Bill 516, requires the State Board of Education to promulgate a new rule establishing a digital learning program that would encompass the “10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning” modeled on the work of the Digital Learning Council (DLC), which is cochaired by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise.

The “10 Elements of High-Quality Digital Learning” were developed through a comprehensive effort by leaders across the country in education, government, philanthropy, business, and technology. The elements were designed to provide a roadmap for states to implement effective digital learning by eliminating unnecessary hurdles that stand in the way of providing a better learning environment for students and helping teachers effectively use technology.

The digital learning legislation passed in the West Virginia Senate by a 33–0 vote, and it now awaits action in the West Virginia House of Delegates. If the legislation is passed in the House of Delegates, West Virginia would be one of the first states to pass legislation to implement all ten elements of high-quality digital learning.

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