California names entrepreneur as education technology fellow


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The California Department of Technology has named Karen Holst, a noted education technology entrepreneur, as an education technology fellow to implement an education technology task force, made earlier this year at the request of state superintendent Tom Torlakson.

Holst has the responsibility of actualizing several recommendations to improve education technology in California schools, sent in a 49-page report to Torlakson titled Empowering Learning: California Education Technology Blueprint, 2014 – 2017, which sets standards such as one Internet-enabled device per student.

Prior to joining the state, Holst was the co-founder of MyEdu, a leading academic and careers platform that helps students complete college and find internships and jobs with a suite of free tools and rich academic data. MyEdu, endorsed by a number of major higher education institutions, is used by millions of students at more than 800 campuses nationwide and has since been acquired by Blackboard.

The California education report was authored by a 48-member task force, which includes teachers, administrators, technology directors, local and county superintendents, school board members, parents, researchers, policy advocates and foundation and community members from around the state. Released in April, the report also calls for professional and curriculum development and teacher certification programs in education technology instruction.

In addition, the report states, all schools must have the technology needed to implement new computer-based Smarter Balanced assessments that are replacing the pencil-and-paper Standardized Testing and Reporting tests.

Under the topic of infrastructure, California should “explore the deployment of statewide cloud computing data centers” and create a senior-level position for education technology at the California Department of Education, the task force recommends.

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California, Education & STEM, State & Local News, States