Great news!! The Nevada Department of Education announced that twenty schools will receive $14.1 million from Phase I of the Nevada Ready 21 digital learning initiative! This demonstrates a statewide commitment to learners, education, economic development and a globally knowledgeable workforce and citizenry. In 2015, the state legislators supported Governor Sandoval’s Nevada Ready 21 plan that would fire up learners’ 21st century skills to drive the state’s economic growth. The Nevada Commission on Education Technology will oversee the program funds. Our team at One-to-One Institute, Project RED co-authors, has been privileged to work side-by-side with the talented NDE state leaders and their constituents in the design, development and now implementation of Nevada Ready 21.
“This innovative digital learning program provides each student in a participating middle school 24 hour access to a laptop and supports teachers in providing engaging, authentic learning experiences,” Steve Canavero, Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction, said. Read the full press release here.
This process was two years in the making. The heart of the initiative is to transform teaching and learning to a personalized, engaging, learner-centric 21st century practice. Personal portable technologies (in this phase they will use a CTL Chromebook), comprehensive professional learning, high quality leadership, essential connectivity/bandwidth, and integration of Nevada’s education standards are primary ingredients to ensure success of the vision. Sustainability and long-term commitment for funding and scaling the program are also essential to realizing the established Nevada Ready 21 goals.
The initiative’s strategy development was launched under former Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dale Erquiaga, who now serves as Chief Strategy Officer for Governor Sandoval. Dr. Kim Vidoni picked up the charge and engaged an all-inclusive group to lead the process. She included state education and stakeholder groups from across every Nevada demographic, business and industry, the Governor’s staff and external experts in the areas of infrastructure, networks and bandwidth. Dr. Vidoni ensured that all key implementation factors identified by the Project RED research findings were well incorporated and addressed throughout plan development and execution. This included her hiring the talented Program Director Andy Jorgensen and Communications Director Michael Malone to lead and nurture the statewide movement. Director Jorgensen has connected with each individual grant applicant to support and guide their process – particularly in the area of required connectivity for successfully implementing a 1:1 program.
As Phase I officially begins so will the ‘real’ work of all participants. Professional learning strategies are underway across the state-ensuring access for even the most remote and rural settings. There exists strong commitment for the initiative to be inclusive and of service to all areas and demographics.
While some districts opted out of this round of grant applications, the team is hopeful that with upcoming phases, many more will get involved with the state’s program. More good tidings are the fact that there are numerous Nevada districts already implementing robust education technologies than can provide networks, best practice models, and communities of learners to those just embarking on the journey. Add to that the Phase I Nevada Ready 21 schools, and we will have a movement!!!
Leslie A. Wilson