Candace Threadgill, Director of Information Technology, Klein ISD
Nearly every aspect of our global environment is being transformed by technology; technology truly changes everything! In conjunction with ConnectED, a President Obama initiative with a goal of connecting 99 percent of students to next-generation connectivity within five years, district leaders across the country are using technology to engage and empower students to take charge of their own learning. It is imperative that K-12 school districts across the nation implement the Future Ready program. It starts with the Future Ready Leadership Pledge for district leaders who incorporate the following elements:
Fostering and Leading A Culture Of Digital Learning Within Our Schools
Future Ready Schools district leadership teams work collaboratively to transform teaching and learning using the power of technology to help drive continuous improvement. We work together to protect student privacy and to teach students to become responsible, engaged, and contributing digital citizens.
Helping Schools and Families Transition to High-Speed Connectivity
Future Ready Schools districts conduct comprehensive diagnostic assessments of the district’s technology infrastructure and develop a sustainable plan to ensure broadband classroom connectivity and wireless access. Future Ready Schools districts work with community partners contribute to leverage local, state, and federal resources to support home internet access outside of traditional school hours.
“It is imperative that K-12 school districts across the nation implement the Future Ready program”
Empowering Educators through Professional Learning Opportunities
Future Ready Schools districts strive to provide everyone with access to personalized learning opportunities and instructional experts that give teachers and leaders the individual support they need, when they need it. We provide tools to help teachers effectively leverage learning data to make better instructional decisions.
Accelerating Progress towards Universal Access for All Students to Quality Devices
Future Ready Schools districts work with necessary stakeholders to ensure that all students and educators across the district have regular access to devices for learning. Future Ready Schools districts develop tools to support a robust infrastructure for managing and optimizing safe and effective use of technology, so students have opportunities to be active learners, creating and sharing content, not just consuming it.
Providing Access to Quality Digital Content
Future Ready Schools districts align, curate, create, and consistently improve digital materials and apps used in the support of learning. We use carefully selected high quality digital content that is aligned to college and career ready standards as an essential part of daily teaching and learning. Teachers are able to share, discover, and adapt openly-licensed materials and teaching plans.
Offering Digital Tools to Help Students and Families Reach Higher
Future Ready Schools districts make digital resources available that help access expanded college, career, and citizenship opportunities. We promote ways to leverage technology to expand equity through digital activities such as completion of the FAFSA online, virtual counseling services, college scholarship search tools, and online advising access, all of which help to return America to the nation in the world with the highest college completion rate by 2020.
Mentoring Other Districts and Helping Them Transition to Digital Learning
Future Ready Schools districts work to design, implement, and share their technology plans. Future Ready Schools districts join regional summits, participate in an online Connected Superintendents community of practice, and publish their Future Ready Schools technology plan online.
Rubric: Four Focus Areas for Future Ready Leadership
Improving Student Leaning Through Future Ready Leadership
Today children are regarded as digital natives and the assumption is that they know how to use technology to acquire information to support and enhance their learning experience. Without appropriate guidance, most students only use their technology for connecting with their peers, for entertainment, and to find “just-in-time” information - Google it. School leaders–administrators and teachers have the responsibility of providing a curriculum that at its very core is teaching students to be active take charge participants in their learning. It is not enough to give students technology tools and expect them to intuitively know what to do. Good leaders must instruct and guide students to use digital tools for information gathering and problem solving. Future Ready Leadership is all about motivating and nurturing students to want to learn, to hunger for knowledge, and to empower them through access to relevant transformative technology.
A Future Ready Leader has the ability to pull together the vital resources and actively collaborate with the community, parents, business partners and staff to transform their district into a model of education. Technology is just one important tool out of many that can make this happen.