OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Education System

Instructional and Educational Technology

What is the purpose of the program?

The purpose of instructional and educational technology is to ensure that all students have access to digital technologies so they will acquire essential 21st century skills. Schools integrate technology in their curricula by using technology as a tool to accomplish a given task promoting higher-order thinking skills.

What is the department's role in instructional and educational technology?

The Florida Department of Education Division of Technology & Innovation provides guidance for educational technology. The division has a role in technology planning and management. The division includes the Bureau of Educational Technology, which assists school districts with technology planning and assessing technology availability in schools and districts.
The department's Bureau of Standards & Instructional Support includes instructional technology as one of its content areas. Its focus is providing resources, standards and best practices to assist educators and administrators with technology integration into classrooms, schools, and school districts. One resource it provides is matrices for how appropriate technology tools can be useful in instruction for specific, technology-related English Language Arts (ELA) standards.
To help guide technology planning in school districts, s. 1001.20, Florida Statutes, directs the department to develop a five-year strategic technology plan to assist districts in establishing digital classrooms. The department also developed a Technology Resources Inventory. The inventory surveys schools and school districts about items such as student instructional devices (e.g., computers, laptops, and tablets) and bandwidth capabilities). The department uses the survey data for purposes such as supporting strategic planning and policy development.
In addition, the department developed technology guidelines to assist schools and school districts in making technology decisions that best meet the instructional and assessment needs of their students.  These guidelines include recommended specifications for the level of computer and network capacity that support digital learning, assessment and administrative uses. The department provides wireless technology guidelines to assist schools and districts in making wireless infrastructure decisions that best meet the instructional and online assessment needs of their students.

What role do school districts have in instructional and educational technology?

Each school district manages its own technology resources.  In addition, districts have a responsibility to make sure their staff are provided professional development to enhance technology use for digital instructional strategies; professional development can include in-state conference attendance or online coursework.  Twenty percent of the digital classrooms allocation (state funding to support technology in the classroom) may be used for this purpose.

How are these activities funded?

Federal Funding. There is some federal technology funding available through initiatives such as E-rate (part of the Universal Services Fund [USF]), which provides affordable access for U.S. schools and libraries to discounted eligible services such as broadband access and Wi-Fi networks.  Discounts range from 20% to 90% of the costs of eligible services, depending on the level of poverty and the urban/rural status of the population served. The program is funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the USF at the direction of the Federal Communications Commission.  Eligible schools, school districts, and libraries may apply individually or as part of a consortium. The USAC website shows E-rate funding by state by year. Florida's funding has varied over the past decade. In Florida, the Department of Management Services is primarily responsible for the E-rate program.
State Funding. State funding is allocated to districts within the Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP). For Fiscal Year 2020-21, the Legislature allocated $236.6 million within the FEFP for instructional materials. Districts may use these funds to purchase electronic devices and technology equipment and infrastructure for student instruction. However, prior to districts using these funds for technology purposes, districts must
  • certify that they have the instructional materials necessary to provide instruction aligned to the adopted statewide benchmarks and standards; and
  • include an expenditure plan for purchasing electronic devices and technology equipment, and infrastructure that demonstrates compliance with eligible expenditures authorized in law.
In addition, the Legislature appropriated $8 million for school districts to support digital classrooms (i.e., digital classrooms allocation).  Each school district will receive a minimum of $100,000; the remaining balance will be allocated based on each district's total student enrollment.
Other Funding. Districts fund technology through other means, including a district local capital improvement millage levy, a discretionary sales surtax (if available to the district), and grant programs.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports

Technology Counts 2020: Coronavirus, Virtual Leaning & Beyond, Education Week, June 2020.
State Education Agency Considerations for CARES Act Funding as Related to Digital Learning
, State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), May 2020.
The State of EdTech Leadership in 2020, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), May 2020. 
Teachers’ Use of Technology for School and Homework Assignments: 2018–19, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), May 2020. 
Driving K-12 Innovation:  Hurdles & Accelerators, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), 2020. 
Broadband Imperative III:  Driving Connectivity, Access and Student Success, State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA, November 2019. 
2019 State of the States, EducationSuperHighway, October 2019. 
Digital Learning:  Peril or Promise for Our K-12 Students, Speak Up, Project Tomorrow, October 2019. 
Making the Connection Digital Skills and Access for 21st Century Learning, Southern Regional Education Board, September 2019. 
Inclusive Technology in a 21st Century Learning System, National Center for Learning Disabilities, June 2019.
Closing the Connectivity Gap, Center for Digital Education, June 2019.
State K-12 Broadband Leadership 2019: Driving Connectivity, Access and Student Success, State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), April 2019.
Technology Counts 2019: Ed Tech & Innovation: Educators Tear Through the Hype, Education Week, April 2019.
K-12 Cybersecurity: Big Threats and Best Practices, Education Week, March 2019.
Rural Students: Technology, Coursework, and Extracurricular Activities, ACT Center for Equity in Learning, February 2019.
2018-19 Annual Infrastructure Report, Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), The School Superintendents Association, Forecast 5, and MDR, January 2019. 
2019 E-rate Trends Report, Funds For Learning, 2019.
The Digital Divide and Education Equity, ACT Center for Equity in Learning, August 2018.
State Education Leadership Interoperability: Leveraging Data for Academic Excellence, State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), May 2018.
National Education Technology Plan, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, January 2017.
Sponsored Papers, Center for Digital Education.
Websites of Interest
Consortium for School Networking (CoSN)
Consortium for School Networking Smart Education Networks by Design (SEND) Initiative
Digital Promise

Education Week Digital Directions
Florida Association of Educational Data Systems
Florida Association of Management Information Systems
Florida Center for Instructional Technology
Florida Information Resource Network
State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA)
Software & Information Industry Association Education Technology Industry Network
Southern Regional Education Board, Educational Technology Cooperative
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Education Technology
Performance Information

Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Whom do I contact for help?

Florida Department of Education, Division of Technology & Innovation, 850-245-0428

Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Educational Technology, 850-245-9868

Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Standards & Instructional Support, Instructional Technology, 850-245-0468