Edtech leaders must adopt a ‘visionary’ view of workforce

Edtech today is much more than digital technology, says Janice Mertes, assistant director of digital learning with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

“It’s general teaching and learning and building capacity of individuals to understand serving students in the classrooms and the world of work they will be entering,” Mertes says in a video interview with EdScoop.

Mertes stresses the importance of leaders taking a “visionary” position with regard to the workforce environments students are headed after their educations. Tapping into middle-school students is a crucial component of this adjustment in thinking, she says.

“In Wisconsin we have our Wisconsin Digital Learning Plan. We have new information technology literacy standards. But we are seeing this across all of our initiatives,” Mertes says.

She says Wisconsin is looking at building higher quality instruction and instructional planning, despite limited resources — while also doing their best to collaborate with other entities.

“We in the department can’t live in a bubble — partnering with school districts, industry, and looking at resources are distributed so that communities understand these visions,” she says.

Mertes on a major edtech initiative currently underway:

On her organization’s top priorities:

On broad technology trends affecting education today:

These videos were filmed and produced by EdScoop at the 2018 State Educational Technology Directors Association Leadership Summit in Arlington, Virginia.