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CareerTech, OSU Will Co-Host “Digital Forum: Educating For Global Competitiveness”

The invitation-only forum, which will be June 13, will be livestreamed so anyone can sit in digitally.

June 4, 2014

A breakfast meeting between two of Oklahoma’s top education leaders has resulted in a digital learning forum at which national experts will discuss the big picture and the smaller details of actual implementation.

Robert Sommers, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education state director, and Burns Hargis, Oklahoma State University president, discovered in their discussions that although both the CareerTech System and OSU had excellent work in digital learning, both wanted to launch a cohesive, systemwide digital delivery strategy.

“We want to gather a group of digitally savvy leaders for a glimpse into the next generation of educational design. We envision a fascinating conversation on personalized learning and competency-based education; this will set the stage for future conversations around digital learning in Oklahoma,” said Sommers, who is also the Oklahoma secretary of education and workforce development. “President Hargis and I want to do something extraordinary.”

That desire led to a plan to co-host “Digital Forum: Educating for Global Competitiveness” with national experts in the field talking to Oklahoma leaders about what is happening in digital education around the country and how digital education can be implemented. CareerTech and OSU invited Tom Vander Ark, CEO of education advocacy firm Getting Smart and author of “Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the Word,” and David Cillay, vice president of Washington State University’s Global Campus, to speak.

Vander Ark will speak on “The Future of Learning” in an interactive session in which he will lead the audience through the possibilities of blended and personalized learning, the future of learning and innovations from around the country, said Kimberly Sadler, CareerTech associate state director of curriculum, assessment and digital delivery.

Vander Ark served as the first executive director of education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, worked as a public school superintendent in Washington and serves on the board for several educational associations, including the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, the Digital Learning Institute and Imagination Foundation.

In “Building a Global Campus: Lessons Learned and Problems Solved -- For Now,” Cillay will give a step-by-step description of how WSU established its Global Campus, which he helped launch in 2012, Sadler said. The digital delivery system includes the university’s online degree program.

The forum is invitation-only, but both CareerTech and OSU want to share the insight of the nationally known speakers with as many people as possible, Sadler said. OSU has established a livestream for the forum so people can sit in on the forum digitally.

What Vander Ark and Cillay have to say should be of interest to anyone in education who is interested in the future of digital learning, as well as to parents who are interested in educational opportunities for their children, Sadler said.

The forum was developed alongside CareerTech’s initiative to formalize a digital delivery system. CareerTech is in the process of transitioning to a new digital delivery platform that will be available to CareerTech educators across Oklahoma, Sadler said.

For more information about CareerTech, visit For more information about OSU, visit

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 59 campuses, 393 comprehensive school districts and 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

Laura Wilson, Writer/Editor

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