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2022-2023 WI Digital Learning Survey Results by CESA

DPI is pleased to present the state-level digital learning data (2022-23 school year) for K-12 public schools in Wisconsin! DPI has compiled the survey responses of around 86% of Wisconsin school districts. School district participation was voluntary and greatly appreciated!

On this page, you will find charts that represent a cross-section of the survey questions included in the Digital Learning Survey. The charts are inclusive of all five gears of the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan and include a brief explanation of the data shown. This is the sixth year of the longitudinal survey and can be leveraged to identify trends.  Archived versions of previous surveys can be found in the menu on the left of the page.

***Data from the 2020-2021 survey contains information provided by districts during a year that included COVID-19. The data from this survey may be affected by this event, but it is still very valuable to use while analyzing local district planning and programming. Many Wisconsin districts have modified the learning experience in their schools and that shift may be reflected in the survey data provided during that year.

Hover over the chart to view the exact numbers of each data subset.

Gear 1: Instruction, Learning, and Assessment

The Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan Gear 1 focuses on instruction, learning, and assessment. The aim of Gear 1 is to promote effective and engaging teaching and learning that is supported by instructional technology.

Instruction: The Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan recognizes that instruction needs to be tailored to meet the needs of each individual student. It encourages teachers to use technology to create engaging, interactive, and personalized learning experiences for their students. The Plan also emphasizes the importance of teacher professional development to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively integrate technology into instruction.

Learning: The Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan promotes the use of technology to enhance student learning. It encourages the use of digital tools and resources that can provide students with opportunities to collaborate, create, and communicate with others. The Plan also recognizes the importance of providing students with equitable access to technology to support their learning.

Assessment: The Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan recognizes the potential of technology to transform assessment practices. It encourages the use of digital tools to create assessments that are more engaging, meaningful, and aligned with learning objectives. The Plan also emphasizes the importance of providing students with timely and constructive feedback on their learning.

Gear 1 of the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan aims to leverage technology to create more engaging, effective, and personalized teaching and learning experiences, while also ensuring that all students have access to the technology they need to succeed.

The above table shows that districts, within each CESA, leverage a wide variety of tools and resources to support their online/digital learning opportunities. When looking at longitudinal data in this category there appears to be a trend toward districts ulilizing tools that move further up the SAMR ladder toward more effective use of instructional technology in the classroom.  This would indicate that technology is being used in a way that supports, enhances and transforms teaching and learning.

The SAMR model is a framework for understanding and evaluating the effectiveness of educational technology in the classroom. The model was developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, an educational technology consultant, and stands for Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, and Redefinition.

Here is a brief overview of the four levels of the SAMR model:

Substitution: At the substitution level, technology is used as a direct replacement for traditional tools and methods without significant functional improvements. For example, using a computer to write a paper instead of handwriting it.

Augmentation: At the augmentation level, technology provides functional improvements over traditional tools and methods. For example, using a word processor with spelling and grammar check features to write a paper.

Modification: At the modification level, technology allows for significant redesign of tasks and opens up new possibilities. For example, using a collaborative writing tool that allows multiple authors to work on the same document simultaneously.

Redefinition: At the redefinition level, technology allows for the creation of entirely new tasks that were previously impossible. For example, using virtual reality to take a virtual field trip to a far-off location.

There are two different categories of Virtual Learning Time (VLT).  The first category is the use of online virtual digital learning on a regular basis.  This could include fully virtual, blended, or hybrid learning.  Blended learning and hybrid learning are two terms that are often used interchangeably but there are subtle differences between them.

Blended learning, also known as "mixed-mode learning," is an educational approach that combines online learning with traditional classroom instruction. In a blended learning environment, students are required to complete a portion of their coursework online, either individually or in a group, and the remaining coursework is completed in a face-to-face setting, often in a classroom.

Hybrid learning, on the other hand, is a more flexible form of learning that combines online and face-to-face instruction in a more fluid manner. In a hybrid learning environment, students can choose to attend classes in person or online, depending on their individual needs or preferences. Hybrid learning often relies on video conferencing technology to allow students to participate in classroom instruction from a remote location.

The graph above shows that well over half of the districts in each CESA who responded to the survey take part in this type of VLT whether it be a virtual school in their district, blended learning, or hybrid learning.

The second category of VLT requires districts to have a plan in place that leverages innovative instructional design for any type of inclement situation, creative calendar options, or innovative programming.  These could include, but are not limited to, inclement weather closure, less heating days for the school building, a maintenance issue that causes the physical school building to be inaccessible, days when only ACT testing students are at the school, etc.  This type of VLT is not long-term remote learning but rather short-term continuity of learning so as to keep momentum going in these instances.

As illustrated by the graph above, less than half of the districts in each CESA who responded have opted to have this type of plan in place.

The above chart shows that every single CESA across Wisconsin has school districts within it that are utilizing Universal Design for Learning in their instructional practices.  In most CESAs, more than half of the responding districts reported using UDL.

Instructional technology can play a crucial role in implementing the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), which is an approach to designing curriculum and instruction that is accessible and inclusive for all learners, regardless of their individual differences, including disabilities, language barriers, cultural backgrounds, and learning preferences. Here are some ways that instructional technology can support UDL:

Multiple Means of Representation: Technology can provide various formats for presenting information, such as video, audio, graphics, and text-to-speech, which can accommodate diverse learners' needs and preferences.

Multiple Means of Action and Expression: Technology can provide various tools and resources for students to demonstrate their learning, such as online discussions, interactive games, and multimedia presentations, which can allow for different ways of expressing knowledge and skills.

Multiple Means of Engagement: Technology can provide various ways to engage learners, such as simulations, virtual field trips, and interactive activities, which can increase motivation and interest in learning.

Personalization and Differentiation: Technology can provide adaptive and personalized learning experiences based on learners' individual needs, such as through intelligent tutoring systems, adaptive assessments, and learning analytics, which can facilitate individualized instruction and support.

Instructional technology can help educators to create more inclusive and accessible learning environments that support the principles of UDL and promote equitable opportunities for all learners.

Gear 2: Technology, Networking and Hardware

Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan Gear 2 focuses on the technology, networking, and hardware necessary to support digital learning in Wisconsin. Here are some key aspects of Gear 2:

Technology infrastructure: The plan emphasizes the need for high-speed, reliable internet connections and robust network infrastructure to support digital learning. Schools and districts must ensure that their networks can handle the increased bandwidth demands of online learning.

Device access: The plan calls for providing students with access to digital devices, such as laptops or tablets, to support digital learning. Schools and districts must ensure that students have access to appropriate devices and that those devices are reliable and up-to-date.

Digital content and resources: The plan emphasizes the need for high-quality, accessible digital content and resources to support digital learning. Schools and districts must ensure that students have access to digital resources that are aligned with their curricula and that support their learning needs.

Districts within each CESA report having an integrated professional learning plan for staff to support effective and engaging instructional practices or digitally rich classroom environments with access to devices.  In 10 of the 12 CESAs these districts are in the majority.  

Developing an integrated professional learning plan for staff to support a digitally rich classroom environment involves a systematic approach to ensure that educators are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to use digital tools effectively in teaching and learning.  These such plans require identifying learning goals, accessing current knowledge, developing a curriculum, selecting appropriate training methods, creating a schedule, providing resources and support, and evaluating the professional learning plan. 

High-speed broadband at home is crucial for K-12 students in many ways. In today's increasingly digital world, internet access has become a necessary tool for education as online learning has become a vital part of the educational landscape. Without high-speed broadband, students may miss out on critical learning opportunities and struggle to keep up with their coursework.  The above graph shows that the majority of students in every district in every CESA have access to this vital resource.  

Gear 3: Empowering and Innovative Leadership

The third gear of the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan is "Empowering and Innovative Leadership." This gear focuses on the importance of leadership in implementing and sustaining digital learning initiatives in schools.

To effectively implement digital learning, schools need strong leaders who are knowledgeable about the benefits and challenges of technology integration. Leaders must be able to create a culture that supports digital learning and provides the necessary resources for success. They must also be able to collaborate with stakeholders, including teachers, students, parents, and community members, to ensure that digital learning meets the needs of all learners.

The above graph shows that 58% of the CESAs in Wisconsin report a majority of districts who either have a Digital Learning Plan in place currently or have one in the works.  

Digital Learning Plans are a framework by which districts can lay out their priorities for 21st century learning.  Digital learning plans help to ensure that all students have access to high-quality education, regardless of their location or socio-economic background. In Wisconsin, where there are many rural and remote areas, digital learning plans can help bridge the gap between students who live in urban areas and those who live in more isolated regions. 

Digital learning plans can also help school districts meet the needs of diverse learners, including those with special needs, those who are gifted and talented, and those who are English language learners. By using digital tools and resources, teachers can differentiate instruction to meet the needs of individual students.  

In addition, Digital learning plans help prepare students for the future by supporting the teaching and learning of essential skills such as digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving. These skills are becoming increasingly important in the 21st century workforce and are necessary for success in college and beyond.  

Digital learning plans can also assist in making learning more engaging and interactive for students. By incorporating multimedia content, simulations, and interactive activities, teachers can create a more dynamic and engaging learning experience that is more likely to hold students' attention. 

Lastly, Digital learning plans can help teachers be more effective by providing them with access to a wider range of resources and tools. By using digital platforms for lesson planning, collaboration, and communication, teachers can streamline their workflow and improve their effectiveness in the classroom.  

Gear 4: Professional Learning and Building Capacity

Gear 4 of the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan focuses on professional learning and building capacity. The goal of this gear is to provide educators with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively integrate technology into the classroom, improve student learning outcomes, and support the development of digital citizenship skills in their students.  At the district level, this goal is achieved by providing ongoing professional learning opportunities, developing and supporting teacher leaders, encouraging collaboration and sharing, integrating technology into pre-service and in-service teacher education,and providing access to instructional technology tools and digital resources. 

Eight of the twelve CESAs in Wisconsin have a majority of their districts reporting that >25% their teaching staff receives 15 hours or more per year, on average,  completing professional learning in technology or technology integration.  (see graph above) This time could include coaching sessions or coaching cycles with a district technology integrator, a technology mentor, or library staff.  With the implementation of professional learning in the area of instructional technology, Wisconsin can build the capacity of its educators to nurture crucial 21st century skills in the students with whom they work.

Nine of the twelve Wisconsin CESAs surveyed had an increase in the percentage of districts who are using micro-credentialing within their current professional learning programs and/or salary schedules over the past year.  This is consistent with trending across the nation in this area.  

Micro-credentialing for teachers has become a popular trend in the United States over the past few years. Micro-credentials are digital badges or certifications that teachers can earn by demonstrating mastery of a specific skill or competency. These credentials are often offered by professional organizations, universities, and ed-tech companies.

One of the main reasons for the rise in popularity of micro-credentialing is that it provides teachers with a way to demonstrate their expertise in specific areas, which can be particularly useful when applying for new job opportunities or seeking career advancement. Micro-credentials are often more focused and targeted than traditional professional development opportunities, which can make them more appealing to educators who want to improve their skills in a specific area.

In addition, micro-credentialing can be a more flexible and personalized way for teachers to learn and develop new skills. Teachers can choose which micro-credentials to pursue based on their own interests and needs, and they can often complete the requirements for earning a micro-credential on their own schedule.

Another factor contributing to the popularity of micro-credentialing is the growing recognition of the importance of personalized and competency-based learning. Micro-credentials align well with this approach, as they allow educators to demonstrate mastery of specific competencies and skills.

The trend of micro-credentialing for teachers shows no signs of slowing down, as more and more educators are seeking out these opportunities to improve their skills and advance their careers.

Professional Learning Opportunities With the Highest Impact on Student Learning

The table above shows the percentage of districts in each CESA that placed that particular professional learning opportunity in the top 5 they use to have the highest impact on student learning.  Professional learning that involves collaboration with colleagues seems to be favored among those surveyed.  Collaboration is one of the essential skills needed for success in the 21st Century according to the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), a network of Battelle for Kids, with input from teachers, education experts, and business leaders.  Modeling these skills for students will support their ability to adapt to a rapidly changing world, to work effectively in diverse and complex environments, and to innovate and create new solutions to complex problems.

Gear 5: Data and Privacy

The fifth gear of the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan is data and privacy. This gear addresses the important issue of safeguarding student data and ensuring student privacy in the use of digital tools and resources.

In the context of the Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan, the focus is on creating policies, procedures, and guidelines to ensure that student data is collected, used, and stored securely and that student privacy is protected in the use of digital tools and resources.

The key strategies for achieving the goals of the data and privacy gear include the following:

Develop and implement policies and procedures for data privacy and security: Schools and districts should develop clear policies and procedures for the collection, storage, and use of student data. These policies should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure they are in line with current laws and best practices.

Provide training on data privacy and security: Teachers, administrators, and other staff should be trained on the proper use of digital tools and resources and the importance of safeguarding student data and privacy.

Use secure digital tools and resources: Schools and districts should select digital tools and resources that have appropriate security features to protect student data and privacy.

Provide transparency to parents and students: Parents and students should be informed of the types of data that are collected, how it is used, and who has access to it. This information should be provided in clear and accessible language.

Create a plan for responding to data breaches: Schools and districts should have a plan in place for responding to data breaches, including notifying affected parties, addressing the cause of the breach, and taking steps to prevent future breaches.

By implementing these strategies, schools and districts can ensure that student data is protected and that student privacy is maintained in the use of digital tools and resources.

As you can see from the chart above, a large majority of the districts within every CESA who responded to the survey report that they provide online safety guidelines and training support for students who have access to a school-issued device, software, and networks.