Awards fund innovation to expand access to digital teaching and learning
By Amy Murray
From expanding access to college-level courses in high schools to helping districts go from print to digital classrooms, Ohio State won funding to implement six projects through the Ohio Straight A Fund program, a state initiative to promote innovative ideas and programs to help transform and modernize Ohio’s education system.
The recommendations follow a rigorous review process by the Straight A Fund Governing Board and go to the Ohio Controlling Board for final approval on July 28.
Funding for the six projects involving Ohio State totals $26.9 million. The projects are expected to save the school districts $58 million once implemented.
• $13.5 million for College Ready Ohio, which expands access to college-level courses to high school students across the state. Collaborators include the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, Geauga County Educational Service Center, 10 K-12 schools, Ohio State and the Ohio STEM Learning Network. The goal of College Ready Ohio is to expand high school student college readiness via mobile learning, open digital resources and College Credit Plus opportunities (defined by the Ohio Board of Regents as programs through which a student enrolls in college-level coursework while in high school).
In addition to course materials, the project will design and pilot College Credit Plus opportunities from Ohio State through a shared service model across districts, create an Innovation Center at Ohio State to provide professional development to help teachers and administrators access and incorporate digital content, and provide mobile devices (iPads) in partner schools to access digital material.
• $8.4 million to Westerville City Schools for EDCITE: Evaluating Digital Content for Instructional and Teaching Excellence. Ohio State is collaborating with South-Western City, Licking Heights Local, Fairbanks Local, Buckeye Valley Local for the project, which moves the school districts from print to digital classroom materials to increase personalized learning. Teachers will learn how to review digital resources to determine the best and most cost-efficient programs for their districts.
• $2.1 million to Milton-Union Exempted Village Schools for Reading Expands All Children’s Horizons (REACH). Partners include Ohio State’s Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy, the Franklin Monroe Local School District, the Piqua City School District and Wright State University. This project focuses on a K-1 literacy initiative that will strengthen reading achievement and help students become 21st century learners. Through one-to-one computing devices, the grant focus will extend learning beyond the school day into homes and communities. With access to the electronic materials at home, the school will address the constraints of the school day and more chances for reading and reading instruction.
• $1.4 million to Hamilton Local Schools for Measuring Student Progress and Achievement in the Arts. Partners include Ohio State University, the West Muskingum and the Cincinnati Public School Districts. The project will create 44 arts assessments to measure student growth and achievement for K-12 students in dance, drama, music and visual arts.
• $921,000 to Metro School for Metro Early College High School’s 12th Grade Guarantee. Partners include Ohio State’s Office of Academic Affairs and Community Partnerships. Metro’s goal is that students will complete their high school coursework by the end of 10th grade so they can earn college credit during the two years before they graduate. However, 15 percent of students struggle to meet Metro’s highly rigorous standards and do not take college coursework. The grant will implement an online and face-to-face learning approach in Grades 6-10 to accelerate remediation.
• $512,000 to Delphos City Schools in Allen County for Let’s BRAG (Bring Robust Achievement Gains) about our Schools! The Ohio State-led project will increase student achievement by creating customizable core, elective and career technical education courses, driven by skill and concept mastery assessment and remediation tools. The project reduces administrative costs, improves the school’s wireless infrastructure and provides tablet computers to students.
Ohio State has become a leader in digital learning and will offer that expertise to teachers to integrate digital learning resources in their classrooms.
The university’s participation in the College Ready Ohio project is a collaboration between the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning and the College of Education and Human Ecology.
“There’s a high level of interest in dual enrollment-College Credit Plus across the state,” said Liv Gjestvang, associate vice president of learning technology at Ohio State. “This grant gives us an opportunity to explore how we can best deliver online college level courses on a statewide level.”
Gjestvang points to the success of Calculus One, offered by Ohio State mathematics instructor Jim Fowler as a free, Massive Online Open Course (MOOC) through Coursera and iTunesU. Hundreds of thousands of students from across the world have enrolled in the course. High school teachers tell Ohio State’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning that they use the course in their classroom to supplement coursework, or allow students to move ahead — or review — at their own pace. Students may enroll as a refresher, or to prepare for the next level of math.
“We’re hearing from teachers across the country about the ways that Ohio State’s digital content supports teaching, and we’d like to help schools in Ohio use these tools as well. We think this is an opportunity to take the digital learning we’ve developed in higher education and use it to help high school students prepare for success in college,” said Gjestvang.
“College Ready Ohio represents unprecedented collaboration among higher education, K-12 school districts and regional service providers, and stands to transform the way high school students access courses for college credit,” said Tom Goodney, superintendent of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio. “We accept this grant opportunity with a profound sense of purpose on behalf of students and families across Ohio.”