Districts demonstrate their technology prowess

Three school districts in New Jersey, Virginia, and Kentucky will showcase their outstanding use of educational technology this spring.

The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Technology Leadership Network (TLN) will visit schools in in Montvale, N.J., Newport News, Va., and Louisville, Ky., to demonstrate how a comprehensive technology vision can transform education and support learning, according to NSBA's Director of Education Technology Ann Flynn. “Through classroom observations, conversations with teachers and students, mini-briefings on professional development strategies, and discussions with school board members and business partners; these site visits assist school leaders to develop their own successful technology initiatives,” explained Flynn.

Changing the High School Experience – A 1:1 Learning Case Study
Located in a NYC suburb that is home to many high-tech company headquarters, Pascack Valley Regional High School District's two high schools provide each of their 2,000 students and teachers with laptops. The visit will focus on how the schools have integrated technology into the curriculum, with an emphasis on web 2.0 collaborative tools. School officials will explain how they included various community leaders in developing the initiative and describe pitfalls to avoid when providing all students with laptops. Other topics to be covered include the district’s methods for evaluating the program, how technology can be used to support learning outside school, and ongoing professional development for teachers.

Graduating College, Career, and Citizen-Ready Students

Newport News Public Schools, an urban district with 30,000 students, was awarded TLN’s 2009 Salute District recognition. The district employs innovative tools and techniques, including the implementation of a forward-thinking curriculum, classroom technology integration, and the Career Pathways student internship and work exploration program. Students use mobile learning devices, gaming and simulation environments, video-conferencing, and take virtual courses and online credit recovery. Technology is integrated throughout the district with online employee development, electronic transportation and facilities management, and digital security tools that ensure student and staff safety.

In the Winner's Circle with 21st Century Teaching and Learning

Kentucky’s largest school district, Jefferson County Public Schools received the 2010 Salute District Award from TLN. The 106,000-student school district offers teachers a variety of opportunities to participate in professional development to help integrate technology into a standards-based curriculum. Some training highlights include: technology integration specialists working side-by-side with classroom teachers; Tablet PCs with unlimited access to a learning management system to access instructional resources; a 21st Century Lesson Study that allows teachers to observe and learn effective technology use in a real classroom setting; and online professional development. The district’s students have access to unique magnet programs, including an elementary S.T.E.M. program and high schools designed on professional career themes; “The 180 Degree Classroom” project, which uses an iPod Touch and Tablet PC to restructure the traditional high school math classroom into a student-centered, inquiry-based learning environment; and The Digitally Enhanced Literacy Initiative, which integrates technology into the writing curriculum.

Founded in 1940, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) is a not-for-profit organization representing state associations of school boards and their local school board members throughout the U.S. Since 1987, NSBA's TLN has served local district leadership teams that establish policy and implement technology decisions to enhance teaching and learning, administrative operations, and community outreach.