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The Daily Dish: Improving Teaching and Student Learning Through the Effective Use of Technology

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June 23, 2015 05:28 pm


The Daily Dish digs deeper into one of the day’s top news stories on K–12 education. Make sure to add High School Soup to your RSS feed for all the latest updates and follow the Alliance on Twitter at @All4Ed for more education news.

With the twelfth of thirteen Future Ready Schools regional summits wrapping up today in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the talk around how to improve teaching and student learning outcomes through the effective use of technology continues to grow.

In a Q & A with Remake Learning’s Kathleen Costanza, Alliance for Excellent Education president and former governor of West Virginia Bob Wise spoke on the importance of the Future Ready initiative and what the “end game” for the summits and education leaders in attendance would be once they have integrated what they learn over the two-days in their schools. Future Ready summits have hosted some 1,700 school district leaders thus far and almost 2,000 superintendents have taken the Future Ready pledge.

“You can’t just slap a tablet on top of a textbook. You won’t have any change in outcomes. It’s not only about the devices, it’s also about the culture and process you’ve created,” Wise said during the interview. “Ultimately, technology is about enabling human beings to be more effective—not about replacing human beings. That’s what the summits are about—building a plan that creates a culture so teachers, the most important element, know how to use technology to reach those desired ends.”

One example of a district that worked to revamp its culture of learning to include technology is Baltimore County Public Schools. In an article for Buzzfeed, Molly Hensley-Clancy outlines the 1:1 device program the district and its superintendent S. Dallas Dance is aiming to implement for its 100,000 students by 2018.

Baltimore County Public Schools hosted the ninth Future Ready summit June 8 and 9 in Baltimore, Maryland and were featured at Digital Learning Day 2014 as one of four innovative school districts with compelling stories of how a vision for improved student learning led to the effective use of technology and improved outcomes for traditionally underserved students.

Hensley-Clancy notes that among Baltimore County students, nearly half are from low-income families and half are students of color. Starting in ten elementary schools in September 2014 Hensley-Clancy explains that this bottom up approach by the district gives younger students the chance to drive the change, growing up with technology as part of their learning environment.  She writes, “…because Baltimore County had already rewritten its elementary school curriculum, Dance said, it made sense to start with younger students — he wanted a cultural change in classrooms, not just a tablet in front of every kid, and a new curriculum was a necessary piece of that.”

The Buzzfeed piece goes on to say that another driving factor the district had for putting devices first in the hands of elementary students was that those classrooms had already rewritten curriculum to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

As Michelle R. Davis points out in a new article for Education Week, more and more schools and districts are bringing technology expertise to the table when considering which Common Core lesson plans would best suit its students in the digital age.

Davis writes, “Some common mistakes districts make when evaluating digital curricula include failing to determine whether it meets the district’s interpretation of the standards, and not looking at how digital material will work with existing district technology.”

By technology instructors in on the Common Core conversation, Davis explains, districts give themselves a great chance to “get it right” when it comes to actually introducing students to their device-driven lessons. She notes Baltimore County’s district is an example of schools that use in-house educators to write all of the district’s curricula after purchasing resources, making sure the final lesson plan is aligned with the CCSS.

Just one Future Ready summit remains. To find out how you can be a part of the two-day event in Orange County, California August 5 and 6, visit

Future Ready, The Daily Dish Blog

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