Posts Tagged "ConnectEd"

Have You Pledged to Be ‘Future Ready’ ?

[Source: Office of Educational Technology]

[Source: Office of Educational Technology]

Last week, President Obama and the U.S. Department of Education recognized just over 100 exemplary superintendents for their leadership in transitioning their districts to digital learning. Interestingly, 18 of the superintendents haled from California, nine from Texas, eight from Indiana and from Pennsylvania , seven from New Jersey, six from Virginia, and four from New York. The remaining attendees came from many other states. To be selected from a peer group of thousands is a most praiseworthy accomplishment. These visionary superintendents have every reason to be proud of themselves and the teams within their districts who are successfully implementing their vision.

[Click picture to take the Future Ready District Pledge]

[Click picture to take the Future Ready District Pledge]

The “ConnectED to the Future” venue set the stage for the President’s announcement of the expansion of the ConnectedED initiative to bring high-speed broadband and wireless access to 99 percent of America’s schools by 2017. But the real import of this event was that it focused attention on the fact that having the technology infrastructure in place will not by itself help students learn. After the first laptop initiative was rolled out in Maine, the teachers (and students) were left asking, “Now what?” This meeting highlighted steps district leaders should take to meaningfully integrate technology into the teaching and learning process.

The attending superintendents and several others who participated virtually signed the “Future Ready Pledge” and committed to engage in the following activities to foster a culture within their districts where teachers use high-quality digital content to personalize instruction and promote inquiry and creativity:

  • Fostering and leading a culture of collaboration and digital citizenship;
  • Transitioning schools and families to high-speed connectivity;
  • Empowering educators with professional learning opportunities;
  • Accelerating progress toward universal access to quality devices;
  • Providing access to quality digital content;
  • Creating access, equity, and excellence – particularly in rural, remote, and low-income districts;
  • Offering digital tools to students and families to help them prepare for success in college;
  • Sharing best practices and mentoring other districts in the transition to digital learning.

While the ConnectedED initiative was a necessary first step, the Future Ready initiative emphasizes that transitioning our public schools to become centers of 21st century learning requires building capacity in our teachers and students to use high-quality online instructional materials to personalize and thus propel learning.

Learning List helps district leaders fulfill the promise of the Future Ready pledge. Our detailed alignment reports and editorial reviews of instructional materials help educators select high-quality digital content that will engage and equip their students with the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in college or the workforce. You can read more about the Future Ready initiative here. Or click here to commit to the Future Ready District Pledge.

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Why Aren’t All Districts Jumping Onto the 1:1 Bandwagon?


One of the ironies we are seeing at Learning List is that although most publishers are selling online instructional materials, most districts still request materials that are also available in print.  Why? These are the three reasons we hear most often:

(1)   Schools don’t have the technical infrastructure to enable all students to be online simultaneously;

(2)   Teachers are not all on board with or don’t all have the technology skills to teach exclusively with online materials; and

(3)   Students do not all have access to broadband at home; if schools adopt only online materials, they may exacerbate the achievement gap.

The federal ConnectEd program and various state initiatives are aiming to address the first challenge by assessing the current status and funding enhancements to districts’ technology infrastructure over the next several years.

Districts are taking aim at the second challenge in different ways.  The news is replete with districts rolling out 1:1 initiatives.  Presumably, those districts have and are continuing to provide intensive professional development to get their teachers up to speed quickly. Other districts are targeting a longer-term implementation plan. For example, in Houston ISD, superintendent Terry Geer has adopted a plan to implement 1:1 instruction in all of the district’s high schools by 2016.

The third challenge is the most vexing because it is societal, not school-based. Some communities are expanding students’ ability to use online resources outside of school by providing community-wide Internet access, keeping libraries and community centers open later, or creating “hot spots” around them to enable students to do homework there later into the evening. AT&T and Verizon will be leading the effort to expand mobile broadband nationwide while Google and other broadband Internet service providers will continue driving fiber connectivity. What’s your view of 1:1?

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The Great Debate: The Role of Technology in Education

Don’t miss the New York Times’ set of debates and discussions, Schools for Tomorrow, about the potential of technology to transform education.  Khan Academy founder, Sal Khan, provides the keynote address, and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discusses the role of online learning in public education, including the President’s ConnectED initiative. Panel discussions with education experts and policymakers address the role of technology in leveling the playing field in education, engaging students, and changing what we understand about teaching and learning.

To help educators and parents evaluate the rapidly expanding number of online and print-based educational resources, has just launched with independent reviews and alignment reports of online courses, online instructional resources, and textbooks from a range of providers, including Britannica Digital Learning, Compass Learning, Davis Publications (Discussions4Learning), Edgenuity, Gourmet Learning, Read Naturally Live,  and Rock ‘N Learn. Reviews for ORIGO Stepping Stones, Bridges in Mathematics, and STEMscopes science curriculum are coming soon.  Learning List will continue to release reviews on an ongoing basis.

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January 2022