States, Looking to Aid Transitioning Districts, Provide Opportunities

November 27, 2020: Volume 27, Number 23

State education departments are forging new partnerships with educational technology providers as the states step up to help school districts shift to remote and hybrid learning.

The South Carolina Department of Education in November began the rollout of an integrated digital learning solution developed to support teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and through the immediate future.

The solution, which includes four learning management systems, a learning object repository, and a suite of digital learning resources, is intended to provide every student and educator access to standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources, no matter their location or learning environment.

Funding for the three programs, approximately $15.3 million over a three-year period, is being provided through appropriations made to the SCDE under the CARES Act.

“COVID-19 has presented enormous challenges to teaching and learning but this digital platform will help level the K-12 education playing field this school year and beyond,” said state superintendent of education Molly Spearman. She described the purchase as a game-changer for the state.

Partnering with SC

The SCDE is allowing districts to choose from one of four LMS platforms: Canvas, Schoology, Blackboard, and Google Classroom. Student and staff licenses are fully funded by the state for the next three years.

The SCDE chose SAFARI Montage (West Conshohocken, PA) for its learning object repository. The state is paying for access to the digital library of educational content for every teacher through 2023.

The SAFARI content includes PBS, BBC, A&E and National Geographic documentaries, video from educational video publishers for all grade levels and all subject areas, and thousands of free web resource links that have been curated to save teachers and students time. All resources are aligned with South Carolina College and Career Ready Standards. Teachers and students use their school district password to gain access.

The SCDE also is partnering with Discovery Education (Charlotte, NC), to give all teachers and students in South Carolina public schools access to the Discovery Education Experience collection of standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources. To help district educators integrate their new digital resources into instruction in the coming school year, Discovery Education will provide interactive professional development sessions to South Carolina teachers.

Discovery and Nevada

Discovery Education also forged a two-year partnership with the Nevada Department of Education to support students, families and educators in digital learning. Through the new partnership for the 2020-2021 school year, public school educators and students statewide will receive access to the Discovery Education Experience.

Discovery Education Experience is one of the new resources available to enhance teaching and learning in the 2020-2021 school year as part of a Nevada Digital Learning Collaborative suite of tools developed to support districts and charter schools in providing enhanced learning opportunities for students. The Collaborative’s elements still are being assembled, but currently include resources from Georgia Virtual Learning, the online education headquarters of the Georgia Department of Education, and providers like (Seattle).

The Nevada Department of Education also will provide educators with professional learning to support them in integrating new digital resources.



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