State education leaders have advocated for digital and blended learning environments for many years, and now, national legislation defines digital learning and blended learning in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Digital Learning
“Any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience and encompasses a wide spectrum of tools and practices.”

Blended Learning
“A formal education program that leverages both technology-based and face-to-face instructional approaches”

As evidenced in ESSA, national leaders are recognizing the benefits of digital instructional materials and resources to support student learning. Technology is woven throughout the legislation, including assessment, accountability and school improvement. The Center for Digital Education’s Guide ESSA, EdTech and the Future of Education policy handbook provides insight into the changes in ESSA related to technology. ESSA supports professional development and capacity building for technology, encourages the use of technology in comprehensive approaches to teaching and learning, and provides states and districts with the flexibility to include technology in a range of initiatives. The National Education Technology Plan (NETP) calls for a “revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering” in education and recognizes that we must leverage technology to provide engaging and powerful learning experiences for all students.

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