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2023-24 WI Digital Learning Survey Results by CESA

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is delighted to showcase the state-level digital learning data for the 2023-24 school year across K-12 public schools in Wisconsin! DPI has successfully gathered survey responses from approximately 91% of Wisconsin school districts. Participation from school districts was voluntary and is deeply appreciated!

On this page, you will find charts that represent a cross-section of the data collected in this year's Digital Learning Survey. The charts are inclusive of several of the sections of All4Ed's Future Ready Frameworks.

Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment

Future ready education emphasizes leadership in creating data-driven, learner-centered environments, with a focus on equity and innovative use of adaptive technologies to ensure relevance and deep understanding of academic content.  High-quality, multimodal academic content is accessible to all learners, promoting equitable opportunities and enhancing the learning experience by accommodating learner variability and applying innovative content design.  Instruction is personalized and culturally relevant, offering multiple perspectives and engaging learners both locally and globally, while also fostering learner reflection and multiple pathways for demonstrating learning outcomes.  Educators leverage data for informed instruction, improving learning efficacy, and students develop skills in self-assessment and data fluency to monitor their progress. The curriculum integrates future ready skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and digital citizenship, preparing students for college, career paths, and digital society challenges. Personalized learning tailors content, pacing, and feedback to each learner's needs, employing diverse resources and technologies for autonomy, engagement, and individual goal setting. Technology enhances learning through authentic, collaborative projects that mirror professional work, while educators adaptively integrate emerging technologies to support diverse learners and ensure equitable access.

On average, a significant majority (88.29%) of districts across all CESAs do not have any policy in place regarding generative AI use.  A small fraction (2.42%) of districts have policies specifically for students only. A slightly higher proportion (9.29%) of districts have policies that cover both students and staff.  The overall low prevalence of policies specifically for students only suggests that when policies are developed, they tend to include provisions for both students and staff rather than focusing on students alone. 

Something that is important to consider in this arena is that a school district with a robust Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for technology may not require an additional, separate policy specifically for artificial intelligence (AI) because the principles and guidelines established in a comprehensive AUP can be sufficiently broad and flexible to cover the use of AI technologies.  So long as the AUP in place covers a broad scope of technologies and includes provisions for ethical use, respect for intellectual property, privacy considerations, and prohibitions against harmful conduct a district could point to that AUP as proof of their policy on AI.  A comprehensive AUP focuses on behavior and usage rather than specific technologies and is often part of a broader digital citizenship education program that teaches students how to interact safely, responsibly, and ethically in the digital world.  A well-established AUP also includes procedures for monitoring compliance and addressing violations, which can be effectively applied to the misuse of AI technologies. These measures ensure that the school district can handle issues related to AI without needing a separate enforcement mechanism.  While it is important for school districts to regularly review and update their AUPs to ensure they remain relevant and effective in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by new technologies, having a completely separate policy regarding the use of AI may not be necessary.

Across the CESAs, there's a notable preference for delivering curriculum content using a combination of formats (Combo), with percentages ranging from 52% to 61%. This suggests a significant integration of both print and digital resources to provide a more versatile and possibly more engaging learning experience.  The use of online or digital formats alone for curriculum delivery shows some variability, ranging from 17% to 23%. Despite the digital age, the percentages suggest that fully digital curriculum delivery is not predominant, which may highlight the value placed on blended learning approaches.  The data collectively indicates a trend towards blended learning, leveraging both print and digital mediums. The combination format being predominant suggests an educational approach that aims to balance traditional and modern methods, potentially to cater to diverse learning styles and technological accessibilities.

Robust Infrastructure

Technology, when integrated into a comprehensive educational strategy, enhances teaching and learning opportunities, ensuring equitable access for every student. Learning environments equipped with high-quality technology and infrastructure facilitate flexible, competency-based anytime, anywhere learning. Future-ready schools collaborate with community partners to extend learning opportunities beyond the school day and into the community. To support dynamic digital learning, schools ensure a variety of technology devices are available to students and staff, both within and outside school premises. Robust network infrastructure with adequate bandwidth and strong privacy and security measures is critical for accessing online resources and supporting digital learning. Proactive technical and instructional support is crucial in preparing teachers and students to effectively use technology, with a focus on identifying and addressing digital inequities. Future-ready schools have a formal review and replacement cycle for technology, ensuring timely updates and responsible management of digital learning resources.

The data indicates a diverse adoption of educational technology coaches across Wisconsin's CESAs. While some areas show strong support for these roles, others are more reticent, possibly due to varying local policies, budget constraints, or perceptions of the value of technology in education.  This graph also highlights the complex landscape of educational technology coaching in Wisconsin, suggesting areas for further investigation and potential intervention to ensure equitable access to technology resources and expertise across all districts. ​​

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.

For questions about this information, contact Amanda Albrecht (608) 267-1071