Everywhere I go I tell people that what has changed the most in the last two years is that many teachers (as well as parents and students) have already flipped and blended and are just waiting for us to catch up. I tell superintendents that they need to find a way to leverage this huge wave of teacher leadership. Cowan gets it–and the Tech Expo is a great example of his strategy to leverage teacher leadership.
Next month Cowan’s team will award 10-20 grants to Innovation Teams–groups of teachers that have come together to pilot innovative teaching and tools. The Tech Expo was designed to give those teachers exposure to the best apps and tools out there.
Cowan and I toured the Expo last night. We stopped and visited with:
Education Elements, a blended learning platform
MIND Research Institute, visual game-based ST Math
Edgenuity, the groovy new name for the e2020 platform
Apex Learning, modular tab content
Carnegie Learning, secondary math curriculum
Defined STEM, a new PBL STEM toolkit
Imagine Learning, language and literacy toolkit
- Pearson, SuccessMaker, GradPoint, and more
Active Classroom, social studies platform
Hand2Mind, math manipulatives
It’s Learning digital learning environment
Amplify, new tablet bundle
Acknowledging “The pathway to converting our classrooms to 21st century learning environments is not clearly defined,” Mesa is using a small portion of a bond passed last year to bring their “classrooms into the 21st century.” Here are the ground rules:
Innovation teams comprise teachers of the same grade level (elementary) or subject area (secondary), who would like to integrate innovative technology into their teaching.
To prepare for the next school year, innovation team members must commit to paid training and curriculum development time during the upcoming summer.
The district will provide innovation teams with the technology needed, access to appropriate programs and Internet connectivity, and training/technical assistance during the pilot.
It’s great to see a district that gets it and is moving forward by leveraging teacher talent. If you’re in the Phoenix area, drop by the Mesa Convention Center and see for yourself!