School Board News Today, an online publication of NSBA, provides timely and relevant stories and analysis from NSBA and other news outlets to school board members, administrators, and all others interested in K-12 education.
School boards across the country will take part in Digital Learning Day today by promoting their district’s educational technologies in classrooms and at school board meetings.
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is proud to be a core partner in Digital Learning Day, which celebrates innovative teaching practices that make learning more personalized and engaging and encourages school leaders to explore how digital resources can provide more students with enhanced opportunities to get the skills they need to succeed. Now in its second year, the event is a project of the Digital Learning Policy Center, a division of the Alliance for Excellent Education, which promotes the effective applications of technology in schools.
“Digital Learning Day is an excellent opportunity for educators to show school board members and other community leaders the exciting ways that technology is used to support student learning,” said NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel. “We must also take this opportunity to ensure that all students have access to the technologies they need to be prepared for the 21st century workplace, and we also must ensure that teachers and other school staff have the training they need to effectively use these technologies in their classrooms.”
Last year, several school boards across the country marked the day by hosting student presentations at their board meetings.
As part of NSBA’s programs to advance technology in education, NSBA will be hosting its annual series of Education Technology Site Visits this spring to provide school leaders and educators with an in-depth look at the policies and practices that support digital learning. Visits will take place in the Miami-Dade County Public Schools March 6-8; Township High School District 214 near Chicago, March 13-15; East Penn School District in Emmaus, Penn., April 28-30; and the Vancouver Public Schools, Wash., May 1-3.
Ann Flynn, Director of Educational Technology at the National School Boards Association, is currently appearing on a Comcast Newsmakers segment on HLN across the country for Comcast subscribers. Flynn discusses ways school districts can use educational technology to improve student learning. Watch the segment:
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) recently announced its first Technology Innovation Showcase, which will help school board members realize the potential of new and innovative educational technology products for their schools.
The Technology Innovation Showcase is designed to show emerging companies that represent the diversity of new solutions in education, according to Ann Flynn, NSBA’s Director of Education Technology.
“The education market sector is experiencing rapid growth from investors and creative entrepreneurs, yet few of the nation’s 90,000 board members and their school districts are fully aware of the innovations enabled by technology that can transform old practices,” said Flynn. “NSBA wants to be a bridge between the entrepreneurial community and the nation’s decision-makers by encouraging districts to embrace a culture of innovation that is open to new approaches and looks to the Showcase examples as a way to ignite those conversations.”
The 2013 Technology Innovation Showcase includes the following companies:
BloomBoard – Helping educators grow by providing a free platform to manage the entire feedback cycle for improving educator effectiveness (e.g.: observations, coaching, and individualized learning plans, etc.), connected to recommendations from an open marketplace of professional development resources.
Guide K12 – Using the power of geovisual analytics, districts can look at student data in new ways for the purpose of forecasting, capacity planning, and boundary discussions and get immediate answers to “what if” questions.
Nearpod – An all-in-one solution for the synchronized use of iPads (and other mobile devices) in the classroom that is helping redefine the traditional classroom lecture through interactive presentations and real-time assessments.
TenMarks – An engaging web-based learning environment that super-charges math instruction by delivering contextual help, automatic interventions, real-time assessments, and a personalized curriculum for every student.
VizZle® — District Edition / Monarch Teaching Technologies – Committed to providing technology-enhanced solutions that offer districts more effective, yet cost-efficient data-driven tools that support children with autism and other special learning needs.
World Wide Workshop, Globaloria – A blended-learning platform with a results-proven curriculum and educator support system to teach youth to produce STEM games with industry-standard methods and tools to increase digital literacy and global citizenship skills, and promote engagement in STEM and Computing.
The 2013 class will be featured by NSBA in an exclusive Innovation Showcase Pavilion and Showcase session during the NSBA Annual Conference in San Diego, April 13-15, 2013. In addition, they will be featured in NSBA’s magazine for school leaders, American School Board Journal, and highlighted in a February 27th webinar hosted by NSBA’s Technology Leadership Network. Go to www.nsba.org/tln to register.
Submissions were solicited from start-up companies providing new approaches to challenges across the K-12 curriculum, administrative operations, and communication channels. Reviewers included educators from NSBA’s “20 to Watch”, a recognition program that honors emerging technology leaders.
TLN, launched in 1985 by NSBA and its state school boards associations, helps advance the wise use of technology in K-12 education to support learning, operations, and communications.
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.”
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.
All school boards are invited to participate, and top-ranked school districts will receive awards and will be featured on the Center’s website and in newsletters. Responses will be used for reports, research, trends and analysis. Districts also will be recognized during the NSBA Annual Conference in San Diego, April 13-15, 2013.
The Center is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding.
NSBA’ Technology Leadership Network (TLN) host several site visits throughout the school year showcasing outstanding use of educational technology.
Since 1987, TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.
Through NSBA’s technology site visits, school leaders are able to see education technology innovation in action and develop their own successful initiatives. This is a great opportunity for school leaders to witness classrooms where curriculum goals drive technology decisions.
From April 25-27, 2012 NSBA will host a site visit in Clark County, the nation’s fifth largest with nearly 310,000 students, encompasses both Las Vegas and its outlying communities.
Ranked first in last year’s Digital School District Survey by the Center for Digital Education and NSBA , Clark County uses technology to provide enterprise systems that support the business of learning and provide engaging 21st century experiences for all students. From cyberbullying prevention initiatives and “bring your own device” pilot programs, to online professional development and extensive use of social networking systems, this visit offers examples of innovation that can be applied in districts of any size.
So what do school board members, superintendents, and other education leaders across the nation have in common with the Navy? Education, games and simulations!
The Navy and other military branches work hard to connect with today’s students and schools to provide resources across the country through their ROTC and outreach programs. Although, ROTC programs are such a huge benefit to students, they don’t always get the attention and support they deserve when it comes to the education system. Why? The obvious answer is that schools have so many mandates and bench marks to hit that often time’s result in additional programs losing their much deserved attention despite their benefits to the education system and student learning and development. We’ve seen this happen again and again with music and art programs as funding and staff are scaled-back, and with after-school programs, outreach and volunteer programs in schools when there are staffing shortages. So with the military’s support of education, their outreach to schools, and their effective use of technology in their own education and training efforts why aren’t schools tapping this readily accessible and mutually beneficial relationship more often? Well, a group of Annual Conference attendees will be participating in a site visit to a naval base on Coronado, just outside downtown San Diego to answer that question. The Navy will share what they have been doing to ensure that the fluency of their highly trained squadrons remain informed, experienced, and safe. How do they do this? The answer is simple – technology, education, and continued professional development.
Games and simulations are not new to training in the military. The Army and Marines use it to simulate the experiences that their infantry officers will encounter while in combat. The belief is that the more times a soldier is exposed to situation the more clearly they will be able to navigate the challenges and ensure the safety of their men and those they are there to protect. NSBA aims to demonstrate how this very same idea can be applicable in the classroom by exposing students to simulations and games around biology, anthropology, math, spelling, and grammar. S.T.E.M. is a hot topic in education today and games and simulations hit all four parts of the initiative: Science.Technology.Engineering.Math. Is it possible for games and simulations to bring S.T.E.M. to life and maybe encourage more young girls to explore the fields of science, technology, math and engineering? The statistics are promising.
Simulations are used in the military because they are the most realistic way to bring to life the words on the pages of the books that were written to train and protect our soldiers. Reading something and experiencing it are two totally different realms of learning and retention. If a pilot reads about how to land a plane or do a night-trap (landing a plane at night on a ship) they may understand the concept but would they feel affluent and confident enough to get in a plane and try it without first having the safety of a simulator to practice? The same is true for how students learn. People learn by doing. Adolescences learn to drive and car by driving on their permit under the watch of their parents. A pilot learns to fly by testing their wings out in a simulator first. A doctor learns to operate on a cadaver. To provide students with the ability to get their hands dirty and learn by doing is an invaluable gift that hopefully more schools will explore. Games and simulations provide that access across the curriculum and grade levels.
NSBA’s site visit with the Navy will demonstrate the amazing efforts and honorable mission of the Navy as well as their utilization of games and simulations in education. To learn more about the visit please stop by our website and to find out more about the Navy and their ROTC efforts and use of simulations please visit their website.