The Content

11/4/2011 12:00:00 AM

Ben Grey,
Chief Information Officer,
Oak Lawn-Hometown
District 123
Oak Lawn, IL
 
Dr. Art Fessler, Superintendent,
Oak Lawn- Hometown
District 123
Oak Lawn, IL
Dr. Kevin Anderson,
Superintendent of Schools,
Elmwood Park CUSD 401 Elmwood Park, IL
The printed textbook is a dying breed. Not much will be gained by replacing it with a digital clone. Online resources offer enormous opportunities for districts that now need to transition from a static single source of knowledge to dynamic repositories of powerful learning objects created and selected by the teachers and students who will use them.

[The scenario]

On the first day of school, Ms. Mahdavi asks her ninth graders to open the curriculum for her science course. The learners touch the screens of their mobile devices, clicking through the school’s Web site into their teacher’s curriculum space, eager to access the articles, videos, interactive simulations, student projects, and recommendation-driven learning tools that will help them master skills. Some of the learners immediately start working on their digital profiles, setting up space for their portfolios and peer evaluation of their ongoing work. Before they get very far, Ms. Mahdavi says, “Eyes up” and strategizes with them about finding collaboration partners both local and global, and reviews the school’s copyright policies before class members begin adding content to the growing archive housed within the curriculum space.

[Executive Summary]

In several of the districts and states that participated in the digital-content working group, a collaborative effort to create digital alternatives to textbooks is under way. These efforts go far beyond simply converting from paper to screen.

With digitized curriculum, content can now come from many sources. For example, in Georgia’s Forsyth County Schools, educators have been compiling an extensive collection of standardsaligned “learning objects” ranging from their own most successful lesson plans to videos, articles, simulations, and engaging interactive content from subscription services. A textbook publisher is now on board, unbundling its content to serve as additional learning objects in Forsyth’s individualized system. A similar effort is under way in the Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts, where educators are collaborating in the creation of e-pubs that will run on the iPads used in the district’s new one-toone program.

 
Debbie Rice, Director of Technology,
Auburn City Schools, AL
 
Cristen Herring, Assistant Superintendent,
Auburn City Schools, Auburn, AL
 
David Warlick
Not only does the shift to digital content give teachers a new say in what and how to teach, it also opens opportunities for students to lead the way. In New Hampshire, where a statewide conversation about digital content and other technology trends is taking place, education leaders take very seriously the research indicating that students want to be able to use their own mobile devices at school, access online content previously blocked by filters, and conduct real research as part of their learning. That’s what’s happening in the New Canaan Schools in Connecticut, where student-centered learning involving social media plays a key role in the curriculum. During the recent “Arab Spring” uprisings, for example, high school students followed Twitter postings from individual countries and reported on the latest developments, thus creating a dynamic living textbook about current events.

As members of the working group shared examples of local and regional initiatives focused on digital content, they acknowledged the challenges they have had to address. A thorough understanding of copyright issues, from fair use to creative commons licensing, is essential to the success of such endeavors. So is the willingness to work collaboratively, rather than competitively, with peers in other classrooms, districts, and states. In the end, however, all were in agreement that this is the direction in which we must move to prepare our students for the future.

What They Said

“We want to see a return on learning. That is the most satisfying part. We partnered with a publisher, but we also wish to see how much content we can create on our own. We want to ‘un-chunk’ the content and deliver it in more relevant ways. In the digital realm, it’s all about sharing. Power shared is power multiplied.”
—Bailey Mitchell, chief technology & information officer, Forsyth County Schools, GA

“We want to sponsor sharing in our district. Some school districts are very reluctant to share content and ideas. We need to stop being competitive and proprietary, but there’s a lot of history that makes it hard to do. It’s a new skill we need to learn; it involves changing how we’ve thought for a long time.”
— Eric Conti , superintendent of schools, Burlington Public Schools, MA

“We are already in the 21st century. We know that we want to create a digital learning environment, but what should it look like? It’s not just about PD or data or which devices to use for one-to-one. If we ask the important questions and look as far ahead as possible, maybe we’ll get halfway there.”
— Cathy Higgins, state educational technology director, Concord, NH

“We tell our teachers, ‘We didn’t bring you here to teach but instead to create learning.’ Learning does not happen to you but rather inside you.”
—Ken Wallace, superintendent of schools, Maine Township High School District, IL

Working Group Take-Aways

What do students want?

Online textbooks should include the ability to:

• download to my personal device
• make highlights or notes
• print
• search
• use animations and simulations
• use a calculator and dictionary
• access useful web links
• take tests and quizes on my own

* SOURCE: Cathy Higgins, State Educational Technology Director, NH

Find more take-aways from the School CIO summit in the program vault under schoolcio.com (click on “Events”).

[Participants]

Nancy Caramanico
Instructional technology specialist
Media, PA

Eric Conti
Superintendent of schools
Burlington Public Schools, MA

Cathy Higgins
State educational technology director
Concord, NH

Patrick Larkin
Principal
Burlington Public Schools, MA

Robert Miller
Director of information and communication technologies
New Canaan Public Schools, CT

Bailey Mitchell
Chief technology & information officer
Forsyth County Schools, GA

Henry Thiele
Chief technology officer
Maine Township High School District, IL

Ken Wallace
Superintendent of schools
Maine Township High School District, IL

David Warlick
Keynoter, author and programmer
Raleigh, NC

comments powered by Disqus
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...

Tweets