OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 1576, her digital learning legislation, into law. This legislation, carried by Rep. Chad Caldwell (R-40) and Sen. Gary Stanislawski (R-35), supports the Governor’s Oklahoma Connect and Learn Initiative.
“House Bill 1576 provides current and future teachers with professional development and training in digital and instructional technologies to enhance classroom instruction,” said Fallin. “Oklahoma has outstanding teachers in our classrooms, and by incorporating digital content and resources into classroom lessons, students will have access to global resources through technology. I have prioritized education and workforce through both my Oklahoma Works and my Connect and Learn initiatives, as I believe we need to have a “future ready” citizenry. I am grateful to the hard work of Rep. Caldwell and Sen. Stanislawski in shepherding this legislation through to my desk.”
The Commission for Educational Quality and Accountability will adopt rules requiring teacher preparation programs to incorporate coursework or training in the use of digital and instructional technologies to meet standards for accreditation by the State of Oklahoma. In addition, the bill requires schools to include digital teaching and learning standards in their local professional development programs offered to teachers in order to enhance content delivery to students and improve students’ outcomes.
This legislation grew out of the Governor’s Connect and Learn initiative, a coordinated effort to bring high-speed broadband and digital learning opportunities to schools across the state. As a part of this initiative, Oklahoma is partnering with telecommunications service providers and interested school districts to provide affordable fiber optic connections and Wi-Fi access to schools to better facilitate digital learning.
This effort is a partnership between the Governor’s Office, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma Corporation Commission, Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services, and the nonprofit EducationSuperHighway. In January 2017, EducationSuperHighway’s Second Annual “State of the States” report found that 91 percent of Oklahoma school districts now meet the minimum connectivity goal, up from 85 percent in 2015.