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Iowa Learning and Technology Networked Improvement Community

Download the partnership’s overview handout [132 KB PDF icon ]

Partnership Facilitator

Marshal Conley

Research Liaison

Jonathan Margolin

Partnership Objective

The National Education Technology Plan outlines the critical role of education technology in preparing students for postsecondary success. Education technology is an especially important tool in meeting the specific challenges in rural communities, which account for at least one-fifth of public schools in each of the seven states in the REL Midwest region.

The Iowa Learning and Technology Networked Improvement Community (NIC) brings together rural districts to engage in continuous improvement research activities to identify effective ways of integrating technology into instructional practice. Participants in the NIC include staff from rural Iowa high schools and the Central Rivers Area Education Agency (AEA). In addition, a community of practice connects key stakeholders across the region who have an interest in this topic.

Increasing the access to and use of educational technology and re-examining traditional instructional delivery models are of particular interest to Iowa education stakeholders. Half of the state’s public schools and 70 percent of its districts are in rural areas, where technology can connect students and educators with resources that might otherwise be out of reach. Districts in the Central Rivers AEA have identified the use of education technology to improve instruction as a primary goal for the next several years.


  • BGM (Brooklyn, Guernsey, and Malcom) Community School District
    • JR Glenn, History Teacher
    • Jeremy Mize, Instructional Coach
    • Rick Radcliffe, Principal
  • Central Rivers Area Education Agency
    • Ashley Flatebo, Instructional Technology Consultant
    • Kay Schmalen, Educational Services Consultant
    • Cari Teske, Educational Services Consultant

Training, Coaching, and Technical Support Projects

In-Depth Coaching and Consultation to Support the Iowa NIC

REL Midwest is providing in-depth coaching and consultation in Iowa to help stakeholders identify the programs and practices that support the integration of technology into classroom instruction. The following materials are available for download and additional modules will be made available after each coaching session:

Works in Progress

Assessing the Implementation of the Iowa Learning and Technology Networked Improvement Community: An Applied Research Methods Report

This study is evaluating the Iowa Learning and Technology Networked Improvement Community and sharing a methodology for evaluating the implementation of networked improvement communities (NICs). The first part of this two-part project is a formative evaluation that assesses the functioning of the NIC. The second is an applied research methods report that describes a methodology for conducting a formative evaluation of the implementation of NICs.

Instructional Technology Practices Among Rural Public High Schools in Iowa               

This study is using existing survey data to describe how educators in rural high schools use technology for teaching and learning, the challenges they face when integrating technology, and the factors that support the adoption of technology. Findings about technology use in rural high schools can inform policymakers in Iowa and other mostly rural states about these challenges and supporting factors.