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Overview

When digital technology was first used in our schools, it was a tool for teachers to communicate with students and parents. Today, students are using technology to support their learning.

Learning and technology resources

Learning and Technology Policy Framework (PDF, 1.5 MB)

Learning and Technology Policy Framework Quick Guide (PDF, 1.3 MB)

More information

What is a policy framework?

A policy framework describes a common vision.  It also describes a set of values that will be used to inform decisions and set policy at all levels.

Is this a new policy framework?

No, this is an updated version of the 2004 document. While technology has changed, many of the principles identified in the original policy framework are still valid. The goal in this process was to refine the policy to reflect the current state of technology, yet keep it flexible enough so that it stays current.

Who was consulted in the development of the updated policy framework?

Over 1,500 voices, including teachers, students, parents and education stakeholders, provided input and feedback on various drafts of the updated policy framework. Consultation sessions were held from October 2012 to March 2013 at a variety of stakeholder meetings and conferences across the province, including the November 28, 2012 Jurisdiction Technology Contacts event. Additionally, the working team analyzed the raw data gathered from Albertans during the Inspiring Education: A Dialogue with Albertans engagement initiative and met with the Minister’s Student Advisory Council.

Who created the updated policy framework?

This policy framework was co-created through a partnership between Alberta Education and the School Technology Advisory Committee. (STAC) This policy framework was co-created through a partnership between Alberta Education and the School Technology Advisory Committee (STAC). STAC includes representatives from the Alberta School Boards Association, Alberta Teachers Association, College of Alberta School Superintendents, Alberta Technology Leaders in Education, Association of Alberta Deans of Education, Association of School Business Officials of Alberta, Council for School Leadership, Galileo Educational Network Association, University of Calgary. A range of school authorities from across the province and branches throughout the ministry were also represented on STAC. l Technology Advisory Committee (STAC). STAC includes representatives from the Alberta School Boards Association, Alberta Teachers Association, College of Alberta School Superintendents, Alberta Technology Leaders in Education, Association of Alberta Deans of Education, Association of School Business Officials of Alberta, Council for School Leadership, Galileo Educational Network Association, University of Calgary. A range of school authorities from across the province and branches throughout the ministry were also represented on STAC.

What will be the effect of the updated policy framework?

A policy framework is more enabling than prescriptive. It enables effective decision-making to address learning and technology policies, practices, and outcomes, and it enables a common foundation to evaluate and report progress toward achieving the desired outcomes. A quality policy framework provides leadership and direction and acts as a touchstone in the ongoing dialogue between all stakeholders. A successful policy framework sets the direction and provides a compelling common vision for the use of technology for learning and teaching. Having a common vision will enable decision-makers at all levels to co-ordinate their activities to achieve common outcomes, which leads to real transformation that yields tangible benefits for students.

How will the updated policy framework impact the student?

The updated Learning and Technology Policy Framework is a guiding document re-enforcing Inspiring Education’s emphasis on putting the student at the centre of decision-making. Some classrooms have already made great strides in adopting a student-centred learning philosophy, while others require more assistance, possibly through focused strategic leadership and capacity building. The updated policy framework provides guidance and rationale for making decisions that support this shift

How will the updated Learning and Technology Policy Framework affect me as a teacher? As a principal? As a parent?

The vision of the updated Learning and Technology Policy Framework is intended to inform decision-making at all levels. This includes Alberta Education’s decisions about research and initiatives to support school authorities, the school boards’ and superintendents’ decisions about network access and digital citizenship, and the principals’ and teachers’ decisions about technology purchases, classroom practices and professional development. With a common vision, decisions at all levels have a better opportunity to support each other and yield maximum benefit to students.

How is technology currently funded by Education? Does a new policy framework mean there will be changes to funding?

Funding for technology is included in the Base Instruction grant, allowing school authorities the flexibility to use it to best meet the changing needs and priorities of their student populations. While a policy framework may inform decisions about how technology funding is allocated, it does not prescribe a method or standard for providing funding.

How will this document relate to other initiatives in Alberta Education?

The working team recognizes that technology has implications for a number of important initiatives currently under way, including Curriculum Redesign, building an inclusive education system and Excellence in Teaching. Alberta Education staff working on and leading these initiatives have participated in a number of internal and external consultation meetings, and some of them are also members of the School Technology Advisory Committee. Their input will help ensure the new policy framework supports everyone’s work.

How is this focusing on the student?

As technology becomes more integrated into students’ daily lives, as well as their future, it becomes more important to think purposefully about seamless technology integration in the education experience

Does student-centred learning with technology mean teachers are less important in the learning process?

Absolutely not. Teachers are integral to the learning experience. They plan and guide students through learning activities, and they ultimately determine the role technology plays in their classrooms. Policy Direction 2: Research and Innovation and Policy Direction 3: Professional Learning specifically affirm the role of teachers, both in the classroom and as research participants and decision-makers.

The emphasis needs to be on how students create and share knowledge instead of just focusing on technology as a way for teachers to present information. Teachers create the conditions and provide the guidance to allow them to do that. Technology also offers teachers an opportunity to ensure that students have flexibility in how they access content and demonstrate their learning.

Will teachers be told they have to use specific technologies in their classrooms?

The decision about what and how technologies will be used in the classroom will continue to be the responsibility of school boards, their administrators, principals and teachers. When Policy Direction 4: Leadership describes outcomes in which “[e]ducation leaders at all levels champion effective and innovative uses of technology for all schools”, teachers are included in this vision.

How will Alberta Education address the policy framework’s stated need for equitable access to technology and digital environments?

Alberta Education is already engaged in a number of activities that support equitable access to technology and digital environments.

  • Alberta Education provides funding for school authorities to access SuperNet, which helps connect almost all public buildings in the province to the Internet.
  • The Ministry negotiates Education Standing Offers, which provide school authorities with access to technologies ranging from laptops to projection devices to reading and writing technologies at education pricing levels.
  • The Ministry negotiates provincial licensing agreements that offer software from such vendors as Microsoft, Adobe and MediaSmarts (digital citizenship classroom resources) at education pricing levels. In the case of Microsoft, Alberta Education covers the cost to provide all school authorities with Microsoft Office.
  • Ministry staff are involved in encouraging and facilitating shared services initiatives among a variety of school authorities. These initiatives range from sharing learning resources to sharing financial application solutions.

The Learning and Technology Policy Framework will help make decisions about what future activities and initiatives will be most worthwhile to pursue. It will also help guide school authorities as they prioritize and make decisions about their resources, ensuring the resources they commit yield maximum benefit for students

How does Education plan to implement the updated policy framework?

We are focusing on raising awareness and working with school authority administrative and technology leaders to help them evaluate their school authorities with respect to the five policy directions. Alberta Education is also working with provincial professional development providers to explore how they can assist school authorities’ progress toward achieving the framework outcomes. Most importantly, implementation of a policy framework does not have a specific start and end date. Five years from now, when stakeholders are making technology decisions related to education, they should still be asking themselves how those decisions help achieve the outcomes identified in this policy framework.

How will government measure the success of the new policy framework?

Alberta Education has contracted Galileo Educational Network Association to develop measurement tools to apply to the Learning and Technology Policy Framework. During the implementation, Alberta Education staff will be working closely with school authorities to not only gauge their current state of alignment, but also help them track their progress over time. Alberta Education is also investigating the potential to incorporate the policy directions into existing measurement tools, like the Accountability Pillar surveys.

Policy Direction 1: Student-Centred Learning

Student-Centred Learning: Technology is used to support student-centred, personalized, authentic learning for all students.

Outcomes

Students use technology, online learning and digital learning to:

  1. access, share and create knowledge
  2. discover, develop and apply competencies across subject and discipline areas for learning, work and life, as described in the Ministerial Order (#001/2013) on Student Learning, to enable students to:
    • know how to learn: to gain knowledge, understanding or skills through experience, study, and interaction with others
    • think critically: conceptualize, apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate to construct knowledge
    • identify and solve complex problems
    • manage information: access, interpret, evaluate and use information effectively, efficiently, and ethically
    • innovate: create, generate and apply new ideas or concepts
    • create opportunities through play, imagination, reflection, negotiation, and competition, with an entrepreneurial spirit
    • apply multiple literacies: reading, writing, mathematics, technology, languages, media, and personal finance
    • demonstrate good communication skills and the ability to work cooperatively with others
    • demonstrate global and cultural understanding, considering the economy and sustainable development
    • identify and apply career and life skills through personal growth and well-being
  3. develop and apply digital citizenship and technological skills
  4. demonstrate what they know and are able to do through effectively using a range of resources and media
  5. monitor their learning progress and inform decisions through the use of data and evidence-based reasoning

Policy Direction 2: Research and Innovation

Research and Innovation: Teachers, administrators and other education professionals read, review, participate in, share and apply research and evidence-based practices to sustain and advance innovation in education.

Outcomes

Teachers, administrators and other education professionals:

  1. stay current with educational technology research
  2. participate in and apply research to learning and teaching
  3. use data systems and evidence-based reasoning to monitor and support personalized, student-centred learning

In Alberta’s education system:

  1. educational technology research is supported
  2. decision-making related to technology is informed by data and research
  3. technology investments are targeted to areas of greatest effectiveness and need

Policy Direction 3: Professional Learning

Professional Learning: Teachers, administrators and other education professionals develop, maintain and apply the knowledge, skills and attributes that enable them to use technology effectively, efficiently and innovatively in support of learning and teaching.

Outcomes

Digitally confident teachers, administrators and other education professionals:

  1. are well prepared to use technology and digital resources innovatively and effectively for learning, teaching, leadership and administration
  2. use technology and research to design personalized, authentic and student-centred learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs and interests of all students
  3. engage in professional growth opportunities that are broadened and diversified through technology, social media and communities of practice

Resources

2learn

Galileo Educational Network Association

Alberta Professional Development Regional Consortia

Alberta Technology Leaders in Education

Policy Direction 4: Leadership

Leadership: Education leaders establish policy and governance structures, cultivate innovation and build capacity within the system to leverage technology in support of student-centred learning and system efficiency.

Outcomes

Education leaders at all levels champion effective and innovative uses of technology for all schools. As a result:

  1. government and school authorities have clarity and coherence in the policies and procedures that govern educational and administrative uses of technology in all school
  2. teachers, administrators and other education professionals use technology innovatively, effectively and efficiently
  3. economies of scale that achieve cost effectiveness and efficiencies in educational technology are realized
  4. up-to-date guidelines and standards on uses of technology inform school authority education plans

Policy Direction 5: Access, Infrastructure and Digital Learning Environments

Access, Infrastructure and Digital Learning Environments: All students, teachers, administrators and other education professionals have access to appropriate devices, reliable infrastructure, high-speed networks and digital learning environments.

Outcomes

Students, teachers, administrators and other education professionals have support for and equitable access to:

  1. devices and peripherals
  2. digital learning environments
  3. facilities designed to maximize learning with technology

In Alberta’s education system:

  1. reliable infrastructures exist that support safe, secure, efficient, interoperable and sustainable networks
  2. technology and network governance, policy and procedures ensure access essential to achieving the vision of Inspiring Education
  3. appropriate technology is available and supported

Contact

To connect with Learning and Technology:

Phone: 780-415-8995
Email: charmaine.brooks@gov.ab.ca