Background of EnvisionIT
Development of EnvisionIT began in 2003 with our first Steppingstones of Technology Innovation grant from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE). Since the first federal grant, pilot testing in various Ohio schools and refinement of the curriculum based on field testing results occurred in successive OSEP Steppingstones of Technology Innovation awards.
A related project, The OSU Nisonger Center Electronic Mentoring Program (E-Mentoring), ran from 2005-2013 and was also funded by the U.S. Department of Education. E-Mentoring is an electronic high school curriculum that combines EnvisionIT content with an emphasis on students communicating with mentors through email and coordinated school visits.
Generally, field testing in the schools consisted of stratifying schools by socioeconomic status and assigning them to experimental and control groups using a pretest-posttest research design. Evidence from prior research supports EnvisionIT as a potentially useful tool for teaching the 21st Century skills that students need for competitive employment, including IT literacy and transition skills such as goal setting, knowledge of how to find jobs, and knowledge of how to find information about college.(1)
In 2012, through the Stepping-Up Technology Implementation Program at OSEP, The Ohio State University Nisonger Center received a federal grant to scale-up EnvisionIT nationwide. Through this new Scaling-Up EnvisionIT award, in 2014 we launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit applications from state teams for national EnvisionIT scale-up and sustainability.
Of the states that applied, Connecticut and New York were awarded subcontracts to scale-up EnvisionIT with schools in their state. These states strategically delivered and tested the EnvisionIT curriculum and related supports in their local contexts, which helped to create a high quality product aligned to state initiatives and priorities for students with disabilities, parents, and teachers nationwide. Other states using the curriculum include Nevada, Illinois, and Maryland; a provider in Tennessee is leveraging curriculum materials to deliver pre-employment transition services to clients; and, a culturally-relevant version is being customized and delivered in Tanzania. In successive surveys with educators, the ability to customize the curriculum has been noted as the top reason for sustained use over time.
Additionally, through a separate award from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) in 2015, EnvisionIT has been scaled-up throughout Ohio schools in all parts of the state. Through the ODE award, we have developed EnvisionIT to not only align with national standards in key content areas but also State of Ohio standards as well (see Curriculum page). Also through this award, we have been encouraged to focus recruitment efforts on inclusive classrooms, but EnvisionIT has been implemented with success in both inclusive and special education settings.
When the Scaling-Up EnvisionIT grant ends in 2019, we hope that the curriculum will be successfully adopted and sustained so that students and schools around the country can benefit from a standards-based tool replete with relevant learning and training supports. It will continue to be available to the public as a free, open-source product.
(1). Izzo, Yurick, & McArrell, 2009; Izzo, Yurick, Nagaraja, & Novak, 2010