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.
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.