History and Overview of the Framework for 21st Century Digital Learning
In part two of our blog series about our framework, we want to provide a quick overview of our framework for 21st Century digital learning and share the history, as it has developed over time from our many experiences working with schools, districts, and states. In the weeks that follow, we will highlight the individual components of the framework and discuss how educators can use the framework to inform their policy, instructional decisions, and monitor progress towards achieving dynamic visions of 21st Century learning.
Introducing Our Framework for 21st Century digital learning.
We would say our past work has culminated in our framework for digital learning, which provides the foundation of our TRAx Digital Learning Assessment tool, but we continue to learn and refine our understanding of digital learning as we interact with educators nationwide. While we are confident TRAx provides valuable information to educators, we will never say our work is complete. Our current framework comprises five components:
- Curriculum, instruction, and assessment
- Use of time
- Technology, networks, and hardware
- Data and privacy
- Community partnerships
Why have we settled on these five components? Primarily it is the result of years of experience and research related to the essential components of success and what information schools and districts need to have an adequate picture of their current level of implementation. Are there more? Yes, certainly. But these five are essential underpinnings of any successful digital learning implementation, so are important to consider in the planning, decision-making, and refining stages of any initiative.
From enGauge to Future Ready Schools: The history of our framework for 21st Century digital learning.
Metiri Group, through our work with the North Central Regional Laboratory, first used the term 21st Century skills in their current context. Our work on 21st Century skills, which included skills related to digital and media literacy, served as the basis for much of our work in the years following. As we worked with schools and districts, and technology became more ubiquitous, we realized that enhancing students’ 21st Century skills required a level of readiness with respect to policies, infrastructure, and philosophy that many districts had yet to reach. As we worked with districts to evaluate early 1:1 initiatives, we continued to build upon our understanding of what readiness really looked like.
Check out our knowledge base to access a number of Metiri’s publications around 21st Century skills, including the full enGauge document.
Our work with Alliance for Excellent Education enabled us to really expand on our understanding of what we had come to think of as “readiness for digital learning.” We started with some foundational pieces: Vision, Planning, and Policy Development. As we developed definitions, rubrics, and instruments to measure these components, we realized that not only were states, districts, and schools needing this information, there were additional pieces that needed to be in place for schools to be successful in implementing digital learning. We expanded our framework in our work with the White House’s Future Ready Schools initiative by adding additional pieces to the framework, as well as accompanying definitions, rubrics, and strategies. In providing the data to districts, we continued to refine our understanding of readiness and what needed to be in place in order to digital learning initiatives to be successful.
Our work with districts helped us realize that the district picture was not enough. Without information collected at the most important level of education, the classroom, digital learning would never have a substantial impact on teaching and learning. As a result, we used our knowledge to translate the district framework into a school-level one, adding an additional level of detail we felt was essential for success. Ultimately, we hope to see successful digital learning initiatives in every school having a positive impact on every student. Our current framework helps move schools toward this vision.
Learn more about our framework for 21st Century digital learning
Next week, we will highlight the first component of our framework: Curriculum, instruction, and assessment. We will provide a definition in the context of digital learning, some look-fors for educators as you assess your school or district’s level of implementation, and some suggestions for how to help your school or district take the necessary steps toward digital learning. While you’re waiting, check out the information on our website or, even better, sign up for a webinar to learn more about work that supports the use of our framework to help schools evolve into dynamic 21st Century learning organizations.