History and Process:
Maryland’s Digital Learning Framework: A Vision for the Future (2017)
Maryland understands that for our nation to prosper and grow, student learning must be the central focus of all facets of education. Maryland’s Digital Learning Framework: A Vision for the Future offers insight into how digital resources can transform formal and informal learning. Evidence based research reflects that, when used strategically, digital resources can increase student engagement, motivation, achievement, and higher-order thinking skills (Schacter et al., 1999). In-school use of learning technology can also reduce achievement gaps (Lopez, 2009), offer expanded content to a diverse array of learners (DiMaggio and Hargittai, 2001; Rose et al., 2005), and offset the unequal distribution or use of technology in students’ homes (Warschauer and Matuchniak, 2010). The Maryland framework identifies elements such as qualified educators, high-quality curriculum and resources, aligned assessments, strong leadership, and robust infrastructures as critical to the advancement of digital teaching and learning.
The development of Maryland’s Digital Learning Framework: A Vision for the Future started with a series of meetings beginning in March 2016. During this initial meeting, a draft of the National Education Technology Plan (NETP) was introduced to a group representing educational institutions, businesses, parents, and other stakeholders. These representatives became members of the Maryland Instructional Technology Advisory Council (MITAC).
The Council agreed to develop a framework for Maryland that aligns with the NETP. This agreement led to the following decisions that would:
- Maintain student learning as the main focus;
- Organize Maryland’s plan around the 5 overarching themes identified in the NETP: Learning, Teaching, Leadership, Assessment, and Infrastructure;
- Divide into focus groups and select lead facilitators;
- Develop Guiding Principles/Beliefs and supporting overview statements, objectives, recommendations, and resources/artifacts; and
- Create a living document that Local Education Agencies (LEAs) can refer to as a planning tool when making instructional technology decisions.
As work progressed, leads met with MSDE members to align the framework for content, voice, and flow. Each focus group was responsible for developing outlines and working drafts, including the identification of relevant research, exemplary programs, and national education technology initiatives (e.g., Future Ready, CoSN, ISTE, Digital Promise, SpeakUp, SETDA, #GoOpen). The Council reviewed drafts and offered comments and recommendations, which were incorporated into the final document.