The State of Ohio announced recipients of the 2014 Straight A Fund grants and we are thrilled to have been selected as one of the recipients for our College Ready Ohio initiative. The Straight A Fund, established in 2013, seeks to provide funding to Ohio educational entities for innovative ideas that improve classroom experiences while reducing educational costs.
ODEE's Learning Technology team, partnered with two Ohio educational service centers, the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and Geauga County Educational Service Center and the Ohio STEM Learning Network, were selected as one of the 2014 recipients of the Ohio Department of Education's Straight A Fund Innovation Grant on June 20. Grant partners will receive $13.5 million through 2020 to implement significant and innovative change with K-12 school districts throughout the state.
"Enhanced learning technology is spreading rapidly in higher education through the growing use of mobile technology and online learning," said Michael Hofherr, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Ohio State. "This is a huge opportunity for thousands of K-12 students to earn Ohio State credit while becoming familiar with many technologies they'll master in college."
With this funding, the College Ready Ohio initiative will implement and research the use of both mobile technologies and different College Credit Plus opportunities within 10 K-12 districts in Ohio. By studying both online and in-person teaching and learning formats, different approaches can be examined relating to how K-12 teachers and students best adapt to new or different teaching or learning strategies.
College Credit Plus is when high school students have the opportunity to take and earn non-remedial college credit that is paid for by their high school.
"This grant will provide our students the experiences they will need to be successful in today's digital society," said Tim Donahue, Principal of Northland High School in Columbus. "For our teachers, the training and access will provide them a greater insight into the rigor needed for successful preparation of our students."
In order to analyze the affect of this project, Ohio State's Department of Education and Human Ecology will research and evaluate the project throughout its six years. They will study the project's impact on districts by assessing both students and teachers in addition to learning about the best pedagogical approaches for College Credit Plus opportunities.
Over time, open resources will be developed for College Credit Plus seekers. By developing a statewide shared services model, more digital resources such as textbooks and courses can be created at little or no cost to both the students and districts.
"We are delighted to be part of such a strong statewide team in support of this work," said Liv Gjestvang, Associate Vice President for the Office of Distance Education and eLearning at Ohio State. "The Ohio STEM Learning Network, the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio and Geauga County ESC, along with all 10 partner districts are committed to helping high school students across Ohio access more rigorous content while they are in high school, in order to come to college better prepared for success."
Ohio State partners on this project include ODEE, the College of Education and Human Ecology and The Office of Academic Affairs.
As Ohio State strives to develop best practices in higher education, the understanding and use of enhanced learning technology and expanding of College Credit Plus opportunities is key for future success.
The Straight A Fund Innovation Grant launched by Ohio Governor John Kasich in 2013 provides a share of $250 million to multiple educational entities throughout Ohio. The recipients then use their funding to implement innovative and cost-friendly changes to their districts while expanding on quality post-secondary credit opportunities.