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Illinois Next Steps: Building Regional Capacity for Technology Assessment and Integration

From the regional and state level, to the district and individual school level, educators are being asked to show how investments in technology have impacted student learning. The educational community is faced with determining what to measure, how to measure, and how to interpret the data once they have them. To serve this need in the field, NCRTEC is collaborating with state teams throughout its region to develop and implement assessment and evaluation activities. NCRTEC is codeveloping project management tools, assessment instruments, professional development services and other resources designed to build the capacity of schools and districts to determine the success of their efforts in integrating technology for learning. The tools and processes will also be used to determine the next steps for acheiving a system that effectively uses technology to improve student learning.

Currently, the Illinois Next Steps program is building the capacity for assessment of technology impact by developing a set of comprehensive tools and processes that enable school districts to conduct their own Learning Impact Profiles. These profiles assist schools in:

    1) reporting results of their technology implementation efforts to stakeholders.

    2) determining the next steps needed to increase the impact of technology on learning.

Illinois Next Steps is a collaborative effort of the Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium, the Illinois Learning Technology Hubs, the Illinois Regional Offices of Education and Intermediate Service Centers, and Educational Technology Planners. Efforts are guided by a statewide Design committee representing these organizations and local school districts in Illinois.

As part of the capacity building efforts across the NCRTEC region, teams from six other states have been involved in Next Steps piloting and implementation activities. The collaboration has already proven successful. Illinois has benefited from the feedback and support provided by these teams. In return, the state teams have increased their knowledge of profiling processes and gained unique insights regarding the challenges associated with the implementation of a statewide initiative like Illinois Next Steps.

Together, NCRTEC, NCREL, and the regional state representatives are pooling their experiences and knowledge to help meet the assessment and evaluation needs faced by educators across the nation. The input from various school leaders from the North Central Region is supporting the development of an online planning and assessment framework, entitled enGauge, A Framework for Effective Technology Use in Schools. This continually evolving project became available for districts to use in December 2000.

For more information on enGauge, contact:

    North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium
    1120 East Diehl Road, Suite 200
    Naperville, IL 60563-1486
    (800) 356-2735, ask for NCRTEC

For more information on Illinois Next Steps, go this Web site:

North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium
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