Education Technology

The Agency's Educational Technology program works to provide guidance in policy and practice related to the use of education technology within Vermont’s local educational agencies (LEAs). Some of the areas of focus include providing vision on sound education technology practices through digital learning plans, leveraging broadband acquisition, providing information on E-rate and other federal funding programs, bringing opportunities for expanded learning with technology to schools, keeping schools abreast of promising trends and maintaining a sound working relationship with educators on the local level.  A noted focus is on providing opportunities for ways technology can support aspects of Act 77, an Act related to providing flexible pathways for learning for all students.


Digital Learning Plans

In 2018, AOE produced a planning guide for creating a digital learning plan. Digital learning plans can assist supervisory unions and school districts in crafting and delivering a vision for how technology will support learning for all students. With input from the education community, AOE created a draft Vermont Statewide 2018-2021 Digital Learning Plan document. This draft includes recommendations on how to create a digital learning plan and provides other resources.

Local digital learning plans are no longer required by the state or other entities. However, it is suggested that supervisory unions and school districts create a digital learning plan that will focus on local needs and less about compliance to any state-level request. The recommendation for a local level digital learning plan is an amendment to the previous technology plan requirement. The Agency of Education still sees value in having supervisory unions and school districts create and submit a three-year plan for how technology will support learning. These new plans should be on a three-year cycle to keep abreast of the rapidly changing landscape in education technology. If your SU/SD decides to draft a local digital learning plan and you need support, please contact Lisa Helme at lisa.helme@vermont.gov.


Interoperability and School Platforms

The COVID-19 pandemic caused many school districts to rely on learning platforms to a degree they had never engaged with before. As part of education recovery efforts, Vermont SU/SDs may have implemented platforms that now pose interoperability challenges as educators and administrators attempt to efficiently utilize these systems. This AOE advisory on interoperability has information and resources as a guide to address interoperability challenges. The intent is to provide basic information and facilitate productive conversations on school platforms, data standards and vetting educational products for interoperability.  


Technology Standards for Students

The Vermont State Board of Education adopted the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) Standards for Student Learning. The adoption of this framework is aligned with the state’s Education Quality Standards. These standards outline what Vermont students should know and be able to do with respect to information technology and will guide and inform the work of our schools as they prepare students for college and careers that have been dramatically transformed by information technology. These new and updated ISTE standards replace outdated standards and will help bring our education in line with innovations and best practice in the use of information technologies in schools.

Explore the Technology Standards for Learning on the ISTE website.


Student Data Privacy

The Vermont Agency of Education has partnered with the Student Data Privacy Consortium (SDPC), a collection of states that are building awareness around the important topic of keeping student (and parent) data secure in school environments. To that end, the SDPC has created a database of negotiated contracts between vendors of online services and local LEA’s. Vermont is an official partner of this consortium and has its own site where Vermont districts may join the effort and utilize the database. This work is specific to the disposition of data within apps or services that schools use online. Technology directors and heads of IT are invited to attend Vermont Student Privacy Alliance meetings. Courtesy of AOE, membership in the alliance by supervisory union or school district is free. To be added to the VSPA meeting notice list or for more information, contact Lisa Helme at lisa.helme@vermont.gov

School Record Retention & Records Management (NEW)  


Annual Technology Survey

The Annual Technology Survey is required of all Vermont schools to collect important data about many aspects of the education technology landscape in our schools. Survey information is used by legislators and state and local policymakers.  

2022 Annual Technology Survey 

The survey gathers information about education technology in supervisory unions/districts and schools for the 2021-2022 school year. The information is a tool AOE uses to determine how technology is supporting student-centered learning. The survey is in five main parts: school specific data; district-wide connectivity information; tech platform functions; tech administration; and survey conclusion. As was done last year, the survey is structured to enable a supervisory union or school district representative to complete data for multiple schools in one form. The survey is commonly completed by the SU/SD technology director. Below is a link to the online survey and a preview document of the questions. It is recommended that the preview document is read before starting the survey itself. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Lisa Helme at lisa.helme@vermont.gov. The deadline to complete the survey is September 1, 2022. 

Preview document of questions

Survey Link 

Previous Year Annual Technology Survey Results


E-Rate: Affordable Broadband for Schools and Libraries

The Universal Service Program for schools and libraries, also known as the E-rate program, makes telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries in the United States. Mandated by Congress in 1996 and implemented by the Federal Communications Commission in 1997, the E-rate program provides discounted telecommunications, internet access, and internal connections to eligible schools and libraries. Funding comes from the Universal Service Fund. All schools are eligible and the amount of funding is related to the number of students enrolled in local free and reduced lunch programs.


State Education Technology Directors Association

The State Education Technology Directors Association (SETDA), has released a comprehensive resource meant to guide schools towards the implementation of digital learning across all grade levels. Personnel at the Agency of Education played a role in some of the resources and guidance provided by this resource. The AOE fully supports and encourages schools to look closely at the various sections within this resource to gain valuable insight in how to implement a digital learning solution at local schools. 


Computer Science Teachers Association Vermont

CSTA Vermont was established as a local computer science community. This chapter was built to connect computer science teachers with each other, provide professional development to help instruction, and provide a local voice to the national computer science education community. More information on CSTA VT is available on their website. Questions? Contact Lisa Helme at Lisa.Helme@vermont.gov.


Cybersecurity Resources

Schools and school districts face a myriad of challenging hazards and threats. In addition to natural hazards, technological hazards, and biological hazards, they now have to prepare for human-caused cyber threats. These incidents can be accidental or deliberate and disrupt education and critical operations; expose sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) of students, teachers, and staff; and lead to high recovery costs. Schools and school districts can take a variety of actions to prevent, protect from, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from cyber threats. Below are resources for you to consult in evaluating the cybersecurity preparedness of your education community.


SketchUp for Schools

Trimble Incorporated has now launched SketchUp for Schools. SketchUp for Schools is a web-based 3D modeling app available through Google Workspace (formerly G-Suite) and Microsoft education platforms. Since it's built on these educational platforms, SketchUp for Schools is accessible to millions of students around the world without the need for software licensing, which was required for Vermont public K-12 schools to access SketchUp Pro. All SketchUp Pro licenses will expire July 1, 2022.  Vermont schools utilizing SketchUp Pro will need to switch to the new school edition. SketchUp for Schools is compatible with Chromebooks and features built-in training tutorials and curriculum to help students and teachers quickly gain confidence and improve their 3D modeling skills. The SketchUp for Schools app is built on the same 3D modeling platform as SketchUp Pro and can be used to design anything from parks and skyscrapers to 3D-printable action figures. For more information, please visit the SketchUp for Schools webpage


Educate Innovate Initiative with the Vermont Lottery

Through a partnership with the Vermont Lottery, the Vermont Agency of Education offers a competitive award program that seeks to further school education technology programs. The focus for the 2022 Educate Innovate Award was the practical and deliberate use of technology for increasing student engagement and learning in the creation of meaningful proficiency-based and personalized learning programs. Two Vermont schools are selected each year for a $15,000 award. The funding for this initiative comes directly from Vermont Lottery program funds, not from lottery proceeds.

The two applicants receiving awards in the 2022 program are Swanton Elementary School and Winooski Middle and High School. At Swanton Elementary School, the award will allow the school to purchase a Merge EDU subscription for the entire school and the needed technology to implement a program within all K-6 grade classrooms. Merge EDU uses augmented and virtual reality to increase student engagement and comprehension. Students can interact with 3D objects by projecting them onto a cube, into the real world, or on their device’s screen. Students then interact with the hologram, creating an opportunity to manipulate objects and materials that would otherwise be impossible.

At Winooski Middle and High School, the award will provide a major boost to the school’s computer-based music-making program. The award will allow the school to purchase equipment that will enable students to create, record and produce their own music or audio recordings using computer technology. This program is part of the Winooski School District’s performing arts graduation proficiencies under the create and perform performance indicators. The equipment will provide the means for students to build entry-level skills and a foundational portfolio for those interested in a career in music, a creative profession, or the journalism field.

Applications for the 2023 award will open after the first of the year.


Open Education Resources

The AOE is committed to supporting school districts and educators transitioning to the use of high-quality, openly licensed educational resources (OER) in their schools. In 2016, OER Commons was contracted by the AOE to help Vermont's education community collect, disseminate, and catalog Open Education Resources. Create an account at the OER Commons website and join the #VTOPEN group. 


Questions?

Please contact Rose Wheeler at rose.wheeler@vermont.gov, who will direct you to the appropriate AOE staff.

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Vermont Agency of Education
Secretary Daniel M. French
1 National Life Drive, Davis 5
Montpelier, VT 05620-2501

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Phone: (802) 828-1130 | Fax: (802) 828-6430
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