Judging by the tweets coming out of #EIA10, a lot of eyes were opened up to the possibility of true digital learning for public education. I talked briefly with Rep. Rick Crandall of Arizona to get a sense for what he felt about the two days of digital learning discussions, and it seems that Arizona is up for some big changes.
Here are some of the things Rep. Crandall told me: “The exciting part was the sense of urgency created at the meeting. It was very clear that the time to lead is now, the time to act is now.”
In a moment of light-hearted discussion, Crandall said that the state superintendent for Arizona’s public schools is his next door neighbor and that he is fired up to show the gentleman that, in good-natured comraderie, “you just don’t get it.” When I spoke with Crandall, he said that he was eager to share examples, and introduce the superintendent and other state representatives in Arizona to new websites, like Khan Academy, and organizations like Digital Learning Council and iNACOL. The legislature meets for five months starting in January.
“We have some very significant budget cuts coming and for the last few months I’ve felt like Noah, doing the talking about the coming flood, but nobody is listening.” The sense of urgency was very strong, said Crandall, and it made sense to take the knowledge he had gained in Washington, DC these past couple of days and bring it to the other officials who could help boost the quality of public education. It starts with thinking differently about how education is managed.
“Legislation alone is not going to get us where we need to be. Our role as lawmakers is to eliminate barriers, but we also need big thinkers. I love these Chiefs for Change [that was announced at the Excellence in Action National Summit on Tuesday].” said Crandall. “Leaders want to make sure we get out of the way and allow them to lead.”
“We are going to interest them to the DLC and iNACOL. Very few know about blended learning or the online learning [components],” said Crandall. He said that it was his intention to show each of the members of the State Legislature “a true blended learning model that works with our current state funding. They need models and examples and the only way to do that is to introduce them to groups that do it”