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2023-2024 WI Digital Learning Survey Results by State

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.

The survey data, with a high response rate of 91%, paints a clear picture of the current landscape regarding AI policy in Wisconsin's public school districts. The findings point to a nascent but developing interest in formalizing approaches to AI use, with significant room for growth and development in this critical area of digital governance.  This is an indication that DPI needs to provide more guidance and support to districts on developing AI policies. This is currently in the works through the collaborative effort of an internal DPI work group.  The outcome of this work will involve sharing best practices, offering templates, and/or facilitating discussions on ethical AI use in education.


Districts are employing a variety of methods to deliver virtual digital learning, including third-party suppliers with district or their own staff, district-adopted digital tools, consortiums, and hosting virtual charters.  Many districts are not relying on a single method but are combining several strategies to optimize their virtual learning offerings.  The mix of strategies reflects a strategic approach to virtual learning, where districts aim to balance control, customization, expertise, and resource optimization.  The use of consortiums and collaborations indicates a trend towards adaptability and resource sharing among districts, likely a response to the challenges and opportunities presented by virtual learning.  The varied responses suggest that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the move towards a hybrid approach of combining district resources with third-party expertise is becoming increasingly popular.  

The responses underscore the complexity and dynamism of the virtual learning landscape in Wisconsin's public school districts. As districts navigate this evolving terrain, the data highlights the importance of flexibility, collaboration, and strategic planning in leveraging digital learning to meet educational goals.

The landscape of Learning Management Systems (LMS) and digital classroom platforms in Wisconsin public school districts is marked by a blend of widely adopted systems and a variety of specialized tools, reflecting a dynamic and evolving digital learning ecosystem. As districts continue to navigate digital transformation, understanding these trends can inform strategic decisions around technology adoption, training, and curriculum integration to maximize the benefits of digital learning for all students.  The high adoption of Google Classroom and Seesaw suggests a preference for platforms that are affordable, easy to use, integrate well with other tools, and support engaging instructional strategies. The variety of platforms used, especially within the 'Other' category, indicates that districts have diverse needs and priorities when it comes to digital learning. Factors such as grade levels served, specific curriculum needs, and teacher familiarity may influence these choices. 

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.

Analyzing the survey responses regarding the grade level at which students are allowed and/or required to take home computing devices reveals a wide distribution across grades, indicating varied digital access policies among Wisconsin's public school districts. The majority of districts permit device take-home starting at Grade 1, reflecting a trend towards early integration of digital learning tools. A significant shift occurs at Grade 3, where a large number of districts begin to allow take-home access, suggesting a common assessment point for digital responsibility readiness. Grade 4 also emerges as a popular starting point for home device access, potentially marking a transition in students' ability to handle and benefit from technology independently.

Interestingly, all grade levels, including 4K, are provided take-home devices in some districts, indicating an expansive approach to digital access from the earliest educational stages. Grade 5 marks another notable point, with many districts choosing this grade to start home access, possibly aligning with curriculum complexities that benefit from extended digital engagement. Conversely, fewer districts wait until Grades 6, 7, 8, and 9 to start allowing take-home access, suggesting a more cautious approach to digital exposure or logistical constraints in device provision. This data underscores the diversity in policy approaches to digital learning across Wisconsin, reflecting different educational priorities, resource availability, and assessments of student readiness for independent digital learning outside school premises.


The survey data revealing that 55% of the responding Wisconsin public school districts employ an educational technology coach or integrate those responsibilities into another district role, while 45% districts do not, highlights a significant divide in the approach to incorporating technology into education. This data suggests a growing recognition of the importance of dedicated roles for supporting educational technology, indicating that a majority of the districts see value in having specialized personnel to guide and enhance the use of technology in teaching and learning processes.

The presence of educational technology coaches can be seen as an investment in improving the quality of digital learning, facilitating professional development for teachers, and ensuring effective integration of technology into the curriculum. These roles can drive innovation, support personalized learning, and help in overcoming technical and pedagogical challenges associated with digital education.

On the other hand, the 180 districts without a designated educational technology coach might face challenges in keeping pace with rapidly evolving educational technologies and integrating them effectively into teaching and learning. This could potentially lead to inequitable disparities in the quality of education and access to digital learning resources among students in different districts.

The data indicates a trend towards recognizing the importance of educational technology support within schools, but also underscores a gap that may need addressing to ensure equitable access to quality digital education across all districts. It suggests a potential area for policy intervention, funding, and professional development initiatives to ensure that all districts have the support they need to effectively integrate technology into their curricula. 

Collaborative Leadership

Future ready leaders empower all levels of stakeholders to innovate and adapt curricula and instruction as learning needs and cultural demands evolve, with a focus on equity and learner-centered instruction. A culture of innovation is essential, where trust among students, teachers, administrators, caregivers, and the community supports collaborative efforts towards a shared, forward-thinking vision for education. Schools must integrate technology and evidence-based practices proactively to engage students and prepare them for a globally and digitally connected society, ensuring inclusivity and adaptability. Leadership in future ready schools involves nurturing a culture of collaboration and empowerment, where transparency, risk-taking, and respect are fundamental values, driving capacity building and innovative practices. High expectations for evidence-based teaching and learning transformations are set, with progress monitored against the district's vision through metrics and multisourced evidence to advance instructional practices. Future ready leaders engage in transformative thinking and collaboration to ensure district policies and practices are coherent with the vision, involving stakeholders in strategic planning and implementation. The process of becoming future ready is continuous, requiring leaders to iteratively adjust strategies, build capacity, and ensure that financial and tactical plans are aligned with the goal of preparing learners for today's challenges.

The data indicates a relatively low adoption rate of comprehensive computer science plans across the state, with less than one-fifth of the districts having such plans in place. This suggests that the majority of districts might lack a structured approach to integrating computer science and coding into their K-12 curriculum.  The low adoption rate presents a significant opportunity for growth and development in the area of computer science across the state. There is a clear need for initiatives that support districts in developing and implementing comprehensive computer science programming. 

School districts can get support directly from their CESA partners for this work.  DPI has funded the training of Strategic CSforALL Resource & Implementation Planning Tool (SCRIPT) facilitators in each of the 12 CESAs across the state.  SCRIPT is a framework to guide teams of district administrators, school leaders, and educators through a series of collaborative visioning, self-assessment and goal-setting exercises to create or expand upon a computer science education implementation plan for their students.

Additionally, the districts that have successfully implemented comprehensive computer science plans could serve as models or mentors for those that have not. Establishing a network for sharing best practices, resources, and experiences could accelerate the adoption of comprehensive computer science plans across the state.

The findings also suggest a need for targeted policy interventions aimed at increasing the adoption of comprehensive computer science curricula. This could include incentives for districts that develop and implement such plans, as well as increased funding for professional development in computer science education. DPI has provisions in place to help train educators who would like to become Computer Science Certified teachers.  It is also uncommon knowledge that computer science standards are not mandated in the State of Wisconsin.  Therefore, districts can essentially choose to 'opt out' of computer science education. 

There is a clear indication for strategic focus on enhancing digital literacy and computational thinking from an early age. This will not only prepare students for future careers in STEM fields but also equip them with critical problem-solving skills. In summary, while a foundation exists within some districts for comprehensive computer science programming, there is a significant need and opportunity for widespread adoption and enhancement of such programs across Wisconsin's public school districts.

49.5% of the surveyed districts reported having a digital learning plan or are in the process of developing one is indicative of a growing recognition of the importance of integrating technology into education. However, it also highlights that just over half of the districts do not yet have such plans, pointing to a potential gap in readiness or resources for digital learning. Among those with digital learning plans (49.5%), 90% reported that their plans are or will be somewhat to very well aligned with their district's strategic or continuous improvement plan. This indicates a strong trend towards strategic integration of digital learning, suggesting that for the majority of these districts, digital learning is not seen as a separate initiative but as an integral part of their overall educational strategy.

The integration of digital learning plans with district strategic or continuous improvement plans suggests a holistic approach to educational technology. This strategic alignment is crucial for ensuring that technological initiatives support broader educational goals and are more likely to receive the support and resources they need to be successful.

The data also reveals a significant opportunity for improvement in districts that do not yet have digital learning plans. Given the importance of technology in modern education, these districts may need support in developing such plans to ensure they are not left behind, particularly in areas such as remote learning, personalized education, and efficient resource management.  One helpful tool in this process is All4Ed's Future Ready Dashboard for districts.  This free online tool is designed to help district leadership teams plan systemically to use technology as a tool to effectively engage students, empower teachers, and improve learning outcomes. Through the Future Ready Dashboard, district leaders create a team, assess their district readiness, and create an action plan to track their progress over time.

Districts who are recognizing the importance of aligning digital learning with strategic planning, which may lead to more effective allocation of resources towards technology integration. Additionally, the move towards digital learning will likely increase the need for professional development for educators to effectively incorporate technology into their teaching. The push towards digital learning plans also raises questions about equity and access to technology. Districts with well-integrated plans are likely better positioned to address these issues, but there may be disparities that need to be addressed, especially in districts without current plans.

For policymakers and educational leaders, the insights from this survey could guide future planning, resource allocation, and policy-making to support digital learning initiatives across all districts. Identifying barriers to developing digital learning plans in certain districts and providing targeted support could be a key area of focus.  In summary, the survey data points to a positive trend in the integration of digital learning within educational strategic planning in Wisconsin's public school districts. However, it also highlights areas for growth and the need for targeted support to ensure all districts can effectively integrate technology into their educational offerings.

Personalized Professional Learning

Forward-thinking professional learning is designed to enhance leadership skills, instructional practices, and strategies for learner success, supported by technology to increase access to quality professional growth opportunities. Future ready leaders enable educators to overcome geographical and temporal barriers, offering various professional learning formats such as digital communities, peer-to-peer sharing, coaching, and data-driven learning outcome analysis. Educators are encouraged to pursue personalized professional growth using emerging technologies and online networks, breaking down traditional barriers and fostering collaborative learning environments. A comprehensive professional learning vision includes personalized pathways with options for content delivery, empowering educators to tailor learning to their needs, interests, and skills. Future ready professional learning emphasizes critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and technology competencies, incorporating culturally responsive instruction and anti-bias training. Innovative policies ensure access to a range of professional learning opportunities through technology, supporting personalization, agency, and equity, and recognizing nontraditional learning for licensure renewal. Broad-based reflective practices involve active participation in professional learning networks, goal-setting for instructional improvement, and continual iteration based on a wide range of performance indicators.

The "26-50%" and "51-75%" categories show relatively lower engagement across all staff types when compared to the extremes. This suggests a polarization in engagement levels, with a notable portion of staff either spending very little or a significant amount of time on professional learning, and fewer individuals falling into the moderate engagement categories.

The data points to a significant opportunity to enhance the professional learning framework within districts, especially for administrators and teachers. Educators could benefit targeted professional development programs, providing more time and resources for technology integration learning, and fostering a culture that values continuous improvement in technology use. Comparing the groups, it's clear that Network Technical Staff are more actively engaged in technology-related professional learning, which is expected given their roles. However, for effective technology integration in education, it's crucial that administrators and teachers also actively participate in such learning activities to bridge the technology gap in instructional practices.

These insights suggest that while Network Technical Staff are well-engaged in technology learning, there's a critical need to focus on enhancing the engagement of administrators and teachers. Enhancing professional learning in technology for these groups could lead to more effective technology integration in schools, impacting student learning outcomes positively. Strategies could include personalized learning paths, incentivizing professional development, and integrating technology learning with other professional development areas.  Districts are strongly encouraged to turn to their CESA partners for assistance in facilitating these professional learning opportunites for staff.​  However, when examining the data for the survey question below, it is reveled that the professional learning opportunities that have the highest impact on student learning come from right within the district itself!

 

 

A significant majority of the districts (69.3%) identified coaching from technology integrators or librarians as their top choice for professional learning. This indicates a strong belief in the value of personalized, hands-on support in integrating technology into teaching practices.  There is a potential demand for more specialized personnel, such as technology integrators and librarians, who can offer direct, tailored guidance and support to educators. This could also suggest that districts are recognizing the complexity of technology integration and the need for continuous, on-the-job learning and support.

The fact that 44.3% of districts chose professional development during faculty meetings as their second choice highlights a preference for integrating learning opportunities into existing structures. This choice indicates an emphasis on convenience and possibly the need to utilize available time efficiently.  Districts may be looking for ways to maximize their existing schedules and structures to include professional development. This could imply a need for more concise, impactful professional development sessions that can fit into the limited time of faculty meetings.

With 35.8% of districts selecting peer sharing as their third choice, there's a clear recognition of the value of collaborative learning and knowledge exchange among peers. This suggests that educators find significant benefits in learning from the experiences and practices of their colleagues.  There's a potential to further develop platforms, time, and structures that facilitate more peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Schools may need to create more formal mechanisms for sharing best practices and innovations in technology use in the classroom.

This analysis highlights the need for adaptive, collaborative, and integrated approaches to professional development in technology integration, aligning with educators' preferences and the realities of school schedules and structures.

Data & Privacy

Emerging technologies enable school districts to build powerful, adaptable infrastructures for data collection, crucial for instructional improvement and learning efficiency, encompassing diagnostic, formative, and summative assessments, interest indicators, and progress metrics.  Data-driven approaches in education allow for personalized, future-ready learning, relying on educators' and students' ability to interpret data for enhanced instruction and content mastery, underscoring the intrinsic link between data, individualized instruction, and future readiness. The imperative of data privacy, protection, and security is highlighted in personalized learning environments, necessitating stringent measures at every level - district, school, classroom, and individual - to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of data. Technology plays a central role in securing, collecting, analyzing, and organizing data, facilitating differentiated learning opportunities and outcomes, and enabling authentic growth in content knowledge. Comprehensive and accessible data systems, including secure dashboards and analytics, support informed decision-making, with districts ensuring that vendors adhere to privacy and security standards to protect student data. Districts adhere to legal frameworks like FERPA and PPRA, establishing policies, procedures, and practices that address data and device use, aiming to prevent misuse or breaches through audits, data retention policies, and digital citizenship programs. The culture of using assessment data to foster learning is prevalent, with education professionals demonstrating data literacy by responsibly managing data security, accuracy, and privacy, ensuring that both teaching and administrative decisions are informed by accurate data analysis.

The high rate of districts reviewing terms of service agreements before adopting instructional materials and digital tools is commendable and indicative of a collective effort to protect staff and student data. However, the presence of districts that do not engage in this practice underscores the need for continued education, support, and possibly regulation to ensure that all districts meet essential data protection standards. This analysis suggests that while significant progress has been made, there is still room for improvement in ensuring that data privacy considerations are uniformly integrated into the technology adoption processes of all school districts across Wisconsin.