The Ohio Distance Learning Association, OhioDLA, began in the late 1990s through grant funding that enabled a videoconferencing infrastructure to be established in Ohio schools. Schools, educational service organizations, and content providers began to collaborate, to learn how to better serve schools and students through distance learning. In 2012, OhioDLA established its charter USDLA membership, giving members a more legitimate voice to help influence state educational and legislative decision-makers, to ultimately bring greater educational opportunities to all students.
OhioDLA members are leaders and innovators, who have created exceptional programs such as daily classes that expand opportunities in K-12 schools, including college credit, award-winning content programs by some of the nation’s leading providers – right in Ohio, and for relevant professional development and outreach activities that our members deliver to Ohio schools and educators. Our member programs are aligned to Ohio and national standards, and we stand in support of critical educational initiatives, as defined by the Ohio Department of Education.
Recently, OhioDLA has partnered with the Management Council of the Ohio Education Computer Network (MCOECN) to radically expand cloud-based video conferencing throughgroup purchasing, and we are developing a state-based coursework marketplace, which will bring distance learning opportunities to all schools and students in Ohio. Our USDLA relationship has enabled numerous opportunities for growth and development, as we meet and collaborate with peers at a national level. We learn from other state chapters and form alliances and friendships that strengthen our organization and build upon our foundational goals.
Current OhioDLA member opportunities and accomplishments include:
- Assistive dog fostering program between the North Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Perrysburg School, and Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence (ADAI), in Sylvania, which uses videoconferencing for weekly site training sessions, in its second year.
- The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has used videoconferencing to connect to all 50 states!
- The East Central Ohio Educational Service Center, in partnership with the LACA Information Technology Center and bridging services from the Broadcast Educational Media Commission, uses Zoom and Polycom technology to deliver American Sign Language and Mandarin Chinese as world languages. Five full-time teachers deliver ASL instruction daily to 11 partner High Schools across Ohio, providing more than 28 periods of ASL levels I-IV daily. Students learn ASL as the language, including deaf community and culture units. Three full-time Chinese teachers deliver more than 18 periods of Chinese language and culture instruction to 9 High School campuses throughout the state. Chinese has been offered as a world language since 2009, and the ESC is recognized as one of only five K-12 Confucius Institute programs in the United States.
- Cleveland Clinic’s Adventures in Health Science and Medicine wins 2018 USDLA Innovation Award (K–12). https://usdla.org/blog/2018/08/22/cleveland-clinic-has-an-awesome-connected-learning-experience-for-middle-school-students/
- Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center delivers Kindness Crew, a grant-based ASL instructional program for elementary students.
- OhioDLA Career Connections Showcase: Over the past two years, OhioDLA has hosted a series of webinars to promote all of the amazing distance learning opportunities being offered by the Ohio Distance Learning Association member content providers. Educators from elementary, middle, and high schools from Ohio (as well as several other states) have joined the webinars to learn about programs from COSI, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Clinic K–12 Education, INFOhio, Pro Football Hall of Fame, Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center, and WVIZ/Ideastream. For more information on OhioDLA visit. http://www.ohiodla.org/ For further information on developing a USDLA Chapter contact Rolando Garza, USDLA Chair of State Chapters, or call the USDLA at 202-248-5023.