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Project Aims to Help Districts Put Digital Learning Systems in Place

A pair of school organizations have joined forces with a technology company to help counsel districts about how to select student information and learning management systems, and how to get them up and running smoothly.

That effort, called "Closing the Gap: Turning Data into Action," is being led by the American Association of School Administrators and the Consortium for School Networking, as well as Gartner, Inc., a technology research and investment company.

Learning management systems are generally defined as technology platforms teachers and students use to access online curriculum and interactive teaching tools. Student information systems typically are systems that collect and store data on students, including information related to their academic performance.

The organizations have posted nine "templates" meant to guide districts through different aspects of the process. The topics covered include:

•A guide explaining the potential costs of purchasing and implementing various features of student information and learning management systems;

•A proposed timeline with deadlines for when school officials should implement various stages of the project;

•An "instructional data collection and use plan," to guide school officials on the information the systems will collect, and how it can inform decisions across the district and in individual classrooms; and

•A method for dividing up duties for putting the systems in place among various district officials.

All the resources are fee. The "Closing the Gap" project is supported financially by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which also supports Education Week's coverage of the education marketplace and new approaches to schooling.

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