Articles: Technology

Chromebooks and Google for Education enable schools to use the power and simplicity of the web for unlimited teaching and learning opportunities, engaging stakeholders and creating dynamic learning environments that align with district curriculum and student achievement goals.

Many districts are beginning to implement some form of personalized learning in blended and online programs, but it is often a time-consuming and manual process that is difficult to duplicate across classrooms. In this web seminar, originally broadcast on March 13, 2014, education experts discussed the benefits of personalized learning, common challenges when it comes to implementation, and the keys to creating an effective district strategy.

When best practices are engaged in blended learning, authentic personalized learning can happen for all students. Understanding ten key trends happening in the blended learning space can help educators achieve optimal results for students and schools. This web seminar, originally broadcast on March 20, 2014, featured education experts who discussed these trends and how blended learning can be successfully implemented.

Administrators at Greenwich Public Schools, in southwestern Connecticut, had been looking for a content management system that would bring all their existing online tools together for their instructional staff and 8,500 students. They also wanted to provide new online tools to their youngest students to help them develop digital literacy skills.

Developing 21st-century skills are essential for today’s students to meet state standards, perform on assessments, and be college and career ready. When a project-based approach is used, educators can incorporate 21st-century skills into everyday teaching and learning. These digital skills also help to improve the critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity of students.

The latest notification systems enable district administrators to communicate instantly and across a variety of platforms to parents, teachers, staff and communities, from any location and in multiple languages.

The upcoming PARCC and Smarter Balanced online assessments require students to use secure, locked-down machines. When district leaders invest in this equipment, they should also consider selecting devices that will support increased student achievement and college and career success, such as Google Chromebooks.

Since Lancaster School District (Calif.) is a K8 school system, Rebecca Cooksey, director of IT, knows that none of her students have optimal listening skills yet. “Students’ audio processing tracks are not fully developed until they are 15,” Cooksey says. And the 25 percent of Lancaster’s 14,000 students who are ELL face additional challenges in listening to and processing information presented orally by teachers.

Giving every student a more personalized learning experience is made possible through blended learning. The use of rigorous, engaging learning technology can help increase student achievement in mathematics.

Fort Bend ISD is the seventh-largest district in Texas, serving over 71,000 students and employing over 9,000 staff members. Fort Bend is also one of the most diverse districts in the country, with a student population that is 29 percent African-American, 19 percent white, 26 percent Hispanic and 22 percent Asian, comprising a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

Teaching and learning have been transformed by a Digital Conversion at Mooresville (N.C.) Graded School District. Creating a blended learning environment has resulted in personalized, standards-based instruction and an increase in student engagement.

Jim Handschuch has been the principal of Lacey Township High School, which is part of the Lacey Township School District in Ocean County, New Jersey, since 2012. During his first year as principal, Handschuch found a steady stream of seniors wanting to drop out. With little to offer struggling students who simply did not have enough time to retake full courses required for graduation, Handschuch could not convince many of them to stay in school.

At the Henry County (Ga.) Schools, the only constant over the past decade has been change. A booming economy in the Atlanta area has resulted in the district more than doubling in size. “We went from 19,000 students in the year 2000 to 41,000 today,” says Aaryn Schmuhl, assistant superintendent for learning and leadership services since 2011. “We’ve built 25 new schools during that time.”

MITCH KRUEGER
Director of Technology
Goddard USD 265
Goddard, Kansas
(5,400 students)

JANICE ARTHUR-TOWNS
IT Director
Carson City School District
Carson City, Nevada
(7,900 students)

DOUG PEARCE, Director, Technical Services
ANGELA COLUZZI, Director, Network Integration
Broward County Public Schools
Broward County, Florida (235,000 students)

Edmonton Public Schools in Alberta, Canada, has been a Google Apps for Education district since 2008. Realizing the power of Google Apps to enable collaborative learning, leaders in EPSD introduced Google Chromebooks to replace computer labs and network-based machines.

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