The National School Board Association’s (NSBA) Education Technology Site Visits are one of the best ways to see firsthand the best ways to use technology in classrooms. Registration is now open for next year’s tours, sponsored by NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network (TLN).
Four school districts across the nation will demonstrate best practices and newest tools to help improve student learning through technology. The line-up includes Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the recent winner of the coveted Broad Prize for Urban Education.
The events “showcase digital learning trends that have implications for district policies, funding, and questions of equity and access,” said Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Educational Technology. “These highly interactive visits help decision-makers consider those implications in light of real-world examples and innovative solutions through classroom observations, focused briefings, and conversations with school board members, teachers, administrators, and students in each of our host districts.”
The 2013 line-up includes:
• Miami-Dade County Public Schools, March 6 – 8, 2013
• Township High School District 214, Arlington Heights, Ill., March 13 – 15, 2013
• East Penn School District, Emmaus, Penn., April 28 – 30, 2013
• Vancouver Public Schools, Vancouver, Wash., May 1 – 3, 2013
In Miami, examples of innovative technology solutions from the arts and P.E. to the district’s iPrep Academy will be highlighted during the site visit. Led by tech-savvy Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho, the district is reinventing its classroom instruction and strategic use of technology with the focus on improving student achievement.
“Education decisions at Miami-Dade reflect a deep understanding that technology can enable today’s students to learn, create, and connect in new ways that will be essential to their future success,” said Flynn. “The district’s vision seeks to eliminate the digital divide by extending access to electronic resources, 24-7, across all subject areas.”
In Illinois, Township High School District 214 uses a cloud computing infrastructure to support learning in the 21st century and beyond. With the school board’s support, technology has been integrated throughout instruction and operations, and the articulation with seven elementary feeder school districts has strengthened the technology skills of students moving into high school. Through the use of innovative technology programs, such as those listed below, resources are used more effectively, teaching tools are enhanced, and costs have been reduced.
The East Penn School District is a leader in educational technology with an emphasis on online computing applications that support project based learning and problem solving skills using various mobile technologies. With our Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle, providing a hybrid model of on-demand learning, the district is “open” 24/7. East Penn has created a digital world that is available through the use of online lesson assignments, databases, videos, glossaries, blogs, wikis, forums and discussion groups.
And the Vancouver Public Schools is identifying, resourcing, implementing and supporting the enabling conditions for 21st century flexible learning environments. This strategic initiative includes standard classroom equipment, wireless deployments, one-to-one/mobile concepts, professional development, and a digital learning space/learning management system. The district also is deploying performance management tools, such as a Learner Profile, which collects and portrays data related to individual student learning as well as classroom, grade level and school-wide achievement. Additionally, the district is implementing a data dashboard based on its milestone benchmarks—high-leverage, high-yield indicators predictive of student success. To further personalize education, the district offers nearly two-dozen programs of choice. The new Vancouver iTech Preparatory, for example, is an early college, STEM magnet school that provides a technology-rich environment for middle and high school students.