Leading the Digital Learning Transition:

Creating Future Ready Schools

Organized around the Future Ready Schools Digital Learning Framework, this eight-week course will help participants better understand the potential of digital learning in K-12 schools, assess their school or district’s progress and set future goals, and begin developing a plan to achieve those goals. It is designed for school and district leaders, as well as university faculty, consultants, parents and any others involved in planning and implementing K-12 digital learning initiatives. Everyone involved in digital learning (also known as blended learning, e-learning and instructional technology) in a K-12 school or district is welcome to join the course.

Course Objectives

  • Understand the potential of digital learning in K-12 schools;
  • Assess progress and set future goals for your school or district; and
  • Begin to develop a plan to achieve your digital learning goals.

Learn More

The following graphic shows the Digital Learning Transition Vision-Plan-Implement-Assess cycle around the seven DLT planning elements, which are all centered on improving student learning. It also shows, in the outer circle, that leadership is critical throughout the transition process. This graphic will be used as the organizer for the DLT MOOC-Ed. student learning outline


  1. Complete the registration survey to provide information about yourself, your school or district, and your goals for participating in the DLT MOOC-Ed.
  2. Work with local colleagues to complete the Future Ready District Self Assessment, developed by the Metiri Group and/or the School Technology Needs Assessment (STNA). Both surveys complement each other, with STNA being focused on school-level transformations and Future Ready designed for those working in teams at the district level. Both surveys are optional but are highly recommended. You can start these surveys at any time before the course begins, and they can also be completed during the first few weeks of the course.
  3. We also recommend gathering relevant data (about available devices, broadband access, teacher preparation, etc.) and documents (e.g., school improvement plans, technology plans, grant proposals) so you have them available as you relate the course materials to your local school or district.

Unit 1: Envisioning Schools of the Future

In this unit, you will further your thinking about the vision for DLT in your schools and your ability to communicate that vision to multiple stakeholder groups. The essential questions for this unit are:

  • What are the most important ways we need to change K-12 education by 2020 and beyond?
  • When K-12 education fully incorporates digital learning, what will be different for students?
  • What will be different for teachers?

Unit 2: Changing the Culture of Teaching and Learning

In this unit, you will consider what students are expected to learn, know and do; how, when and where teaching and learning take place; and how success is measured for both students and teachers. The essential questions are:

  • What changes in the culture of teaching and learning to fully incorporate digital learning would you recommend for your school or district?
  • What do you see as the major challenges to making these changes?

Unit 3: Elements of a Successful Digital Learning Transition

In this unit, you will consider the seven framework elements of a successful digital learning transition: (1) Budget and Resources ; (2) Use of Time; (3) Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; (4) Technology and Hardware; (5) Data and Privacy; (6) Community Partnerships; and (7) Professional Learning. The essential questions for this unit are:

  • What are your goals and challenges in addressing selected elements in your school or district?
  • What progress has your school or district made so far on these elements?
  • What strategies and actions for progress on your selected elements would you recommend for your school or district?

Unit 4: Leading a Digital Learning Transition

In this unit, you will learn about effective strategies for distributed, team-based leadership, then review and consider recommendations for your local leadership structure and approach. You will also complete your projects on goals and action plan recommendations for your school or district. The essential questions for this unit are:

  • How can we form an effective digital learning leadership team in our school or district?
  • What goals and actions should we plan to further digital learning in our school or district?

Unit 5: Crowdsourcing Feedback, Lessons, and Resources

In this unit, you will provide constructive feedback about each other’s action plans. You will also crowdsource major lessons learned during the MOOC-Ed that will inform your own work. To complete the unit, you will provide feedback about the MOOC-Ed experience and recommendations for future MOOC-Eds. The essential questions are:

  • What are the major lessons we have learned that inform our local plans?
  • What resources are most valuable for our future work?

Certificates of Completion for Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

A certificate of completion for 20 hours of professional development will be provided on request to participants who:

  1. Verify that they spent at least 20 hours participating in the course
  2. Participated in the discussions and entered at least six postings (Note: at least three of these postings must be in the first half of the course and three must be in the second half)
  3. Submitted their project
  4. Provided feedback to at least three others’ projects. You can submit the certificate to your local agency with a request for CEUs. Granting of CEUs will be subject to the policies and procedures of your state and local agency.

Projects can be submitted by a team; each individual requesting a certificate of completion must meet the other requirements on their own. You can submit the certificate to your local agency with a request for CEUs. Granting of CEUs will be subject to the policies and procedures of your state and local agency.

Glenn Kleiman

Glenn Kleiman, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation and a Professor at the NC State University College of Education. A cognitive psychologist by background (Ph.D., Stanford, 1977), his work in education has spanned basic and applied research, curriculum development, software development, professional development for teachers and administrators, policy analyses, and consulting for schools, districts and state departments of education.

Dr. Kleiman chaired the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee of the North Carolina eLearning Commission and served on the Executive Committee of Governor Perdue’s Education Transformation Commission. He played a lead role in the development of the North Carolina Race to the Top proposal, which received $400 million of funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Prior to joining NC State University in July 2007, Dr. Kleiman was Vice President and Senior Research Scientist at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, MA, where he was the Director of the Center for Online Professional Education, the Northeast and Islands Regional Technology in Education Consortium (NEIRTEC) and the Regional Education Laboratory for the Northeast and Islands (REL-NEI). He was also on the faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Education from 1995-2007 and was education chair of the Harvard/EDC Leadership and the New Technologies Institutes.

Mary Ann Wolf

Mary Ann Wolf, Ph.D., is Director of Digital Learning Programs at the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation. In her 15 years of experience in education and education technology, Dr. Wolf has worked closely with federal, state, and local education leaders; policy-makers; and organizations on connecting policy and practice for innovative education reform, digital learning, and instructional practices. Dr. Wolf recently researched and co-wrote "The Digital Learning Imperative: How Technology and Teaching Meet Today’s Education Challenges" and authored "Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning for the Alliance for Excellent Education." Dr. Wolf helped develop and implement the first ever National Digital Learning Day with the Alliance for Excellent Education. She wrote "Innovate to Educate: Education System [Re]Design for Personalized Learning" based upon a Symposium held by SIIA, ASCD, and CCSSO and developed the Problem Based Learning Professional Development DVD series for ASCD.

Previously, Dr. Wolf was the Executive Director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA). In this position, she worked with educators in all 50 states and with policy-makers to share data and models of how to improve education to ensure America’s and our students’ competitiveness in the global economy. She served on the Congress on the Future of Content Task Force and spoke at the keynote session on the potential and hurdles for implementing digital content. Dr. Wolf was a member of the NAEP Technology Literacy Assessment steering committee and worked closely with the Obama Administration transition team with work related to education technology. She testified before the US House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee; and SETDA hosted, with the National Science Foundation, Future of Learning educational technology showcases for members of Congress and staffers in the House and the Senate.

Dr. Wolf taught fifth grade in Virginia. She earned her Ph. D at the University of Virginia where she studied education leadership and conducted extensive research on teacher time and professionalism.

Friday Institute Online Professional Learning Courses provide a scalable, accessible, and flexible approach that is aligned with the principles of effective professional learning. Our approach is grounded in authentic, active, and collaborative professional learning activities. The approach builds upon the following key design principles: 

  • Self-directed learning, through personalizing your experience by identifying your own goals, selecting among a rich array of resources, and deciding whether, when, and how to engage in discussions and activities to further your own learning and meet your goals. 
  • Peer-supported learning, through engaging in online discussions, reviewing your colleagues' projects, rating posted ideas, recommending resources, crowdsourcing lessons learned, and participating in twitter chats and other exchanges appropriate to the individual course. 
  • Job-embedded learning, through the use of case studies, classroom and school related projects; developing action plans; and other activities that center your work on critical problems of practice and data-informed decision-making in your own classrooms, schools or districts. 
  • Multiple voices, through learning about the perspectives of other teachers and administrators along with those of students, researchers and experts in the field. Our courses are purposefully not designed around one or two experts who present online lectures. They provide exposure to a rich set of perspectives presented within the context of course elements that reflect these core principles.

You will see these design principles implemented in our courses through the following instructional elements:

  • Conceptual Frameworks
  • Resource Collections
  • Asynchronous Discussions and Twitter Chats
  • Student Scenarios
  • Expert Panels
  • Participant Projects and Peer Feedback
  • Crowd-sourcing
  • Professional Learning Community (PLC) Guides

Future Start Date(s) TBD
Duration 8 weeks
Cost Free
Primary Audience Superintendents
Curriculum Directors
Technology Directors
Instructional Coaches
Lead Teachers
Certificate Available Yes
Certificate Hours 20
Facilitators Glenn Kleiman
Mary Ann Wolf

Previous Courses

Fall 2015