PHOENIX – Today, the Arizona Department of Education’s Technology Task Force is proud to release the culmination of its work over the past year. Superintendent Hoffman convened the task force in June of 2020 to address longstanding access and digital equity issues for Arizona’s students and families - problems exacerbated by COVID-19. Over the past year, the group met monthly, creating resources for teachers, school leaders, and parents. The task force also provided long-term recommendations for ADE and a whitepaper on the digital divide in rural Arizona. From that work, ADE also launched a new technology page located at azed.gov/technology-hub. The website will serve as a one-stop-shop for technology resources, federal E-Rate program information, as well as broadband programs for school leaders.
“Equitable and reliable access to technology and the internet is essential for today’s students. Arizona has made many gains in this area. However, there is still a long road ahead to ensuring every Arizona student and family can be connected to the internet and have up-to-date, reliable technology,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. “I am very appreciative of the education, industry, and community leaders for their service on the Technology Task Force.”
"Now is the time to partner and invest our time, resources, and collective expertise to bridge the digital equity and opportunity gap by developing systems accessible by all," said Janice Mak, member of the Arizona State Board of Education and task force chairperson. “Thanks to Superintendent Hoffman's vision and the tremendous dedication and work of this task force, this set of resources outline a vision and path to advance inclusive digital solutions to ensure that every student in Arizona has access to learning anytime, everywhere."
“Arizona’s learners need the state, industry and community to step up in a big way to bridge the digital divide and ensure all students have equitable access to technology. In the 21st century, our student’s success is dependent on reliable technology and internet access.” said Janice Palmer, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Public Policy at Helios Education Foundation. “The Arizona Department of Education has taken a first, critical step in bringing together a diverse set of stakeholders to find innovative solutions that work for all students and families. Helios is proud to be a part of this effort and committed to the ultimate goal of ensuring all students in Arizona have access to the technology and resources they need to succeed. I am so thankful for the leadership of ADE and Superintendent Hoffman in closing the digital opportunity gap.”
Taskforce recommendations include establishing an office of digital teaching and learning in the Department, as well as appointing an advisory board made up of experts from the education, business, and technology sectors. The Department is currently evaluating the recommendations made by the task force and will continue to work with partners and key stakeholders to develop a roadmap for implementation. The Arizona Department of Education is committed to bridging the digital divide for our state’s students and families, and thanks the members of the task force for their diligent work over the past year.
Access the Resources:
Digital Divide in Rural Arizona Whitepaper
Digital teaching and Learning Resource
Parent/Caretaker Technology Toolkit
New Technology Webpage
Long Term Recommendations