Students using iPads Photo courtesy of Brad Flickinger

An unprecedented number of public school districts in America are adopting digital technology. As of April 2016, 62% of districts have established digital content and curriculum strategies for their classrooms—up from 49% in 2015—and 33% of districts without are in the midst of developing digital programs. With the incoming funding provided by the Every Child Succeeds Act (ECSA), virtually all K-12 students will be using digital technology to access course content and resources by 2020.

Results from this year’s Digital Schools District Survey finds schools are prioritizing the following areas for investment in digital technology:

  • Personalized student learning
  • Classroom content and curriculum
  • Teacher training and professional development

With $1.6B in enrichment funds being made available each fiscal year from 2017-2020 through ECSA, all districts should have the resources to implement these technologies.

The survey also recognizes a number of districts who have made “exemplary use” of digital innovation in their administration and classrooms. The Hampton City Schools in Virginia leads America’s largest school board category (12,000+ students), implementing digital technology to improve stakeholder communications and academic curricula. The district livestreams board meetings, produces information podcasts for parents, and is experimenting with blended learning models in the classroom.

Smaller districts (less than 3,000 students) are also finding innovative ways to leverage digital technology. New Jersey’s Springfield Public School District is analyzing years of test-score data to understand where students struggle and are applying these insights to update their curricula. It is encouraging to see the innovative ways school districts across America are using digital technology to enhance student learning, professional development, and community relations. Even more encouraging is that in a few years most students will have access to more digital resources to aid in their academic success.

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About the Author: Dustin is a senior account manager with DesignedUX, providing communications and strategy to organizations in education and technology. Dustin is also board member of the Canadian Public Relations Society and contributes as a communications researcher with McMaster University.