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33 minutes | 5 months ago
Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee shares how education policymakers can strategically develop plans for a post-COVID era
So far in this season of EdInfluencers, we’ve focused on how schools have responded to closures and online learning. But how should we be thinking about the return to classrooms? What must be different in the future to ensure equitable learning for all students?Mike Magee is the CEO of Chiefs for Change, a national nonprofit organization that provides guidance on policy and practice to a network of state and local leaders. His organization’s newest report, “The Return: How Should Education Leaders Prepare for Reentry and Beyond,” published in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy, offers research-based recommendations in four areas that will impact student achievement and well-being. These are not recommendations that are specifically focused on keeping us physically safe. Rather, they are focused on how we might change the system to be more resilient and equitable and to better serve our students' needs. Some of them may surprise you.
24 minutes | 6 months ago
Dr. Luis Perez discusses the importance of equitable learning instructional design during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
The public health crisis surrounding COVID-19 has led to school closures across the country, creating a need to transition to online learning. In this special season of Ed Influencers, we will talk to experts who are actively helping schools plan for and cope with the impact of longterm closures. School closures are creating challenges for all students and families, but especially for our most vulnerable student populations. In this episode, we're going to learn from Dr. Luis Perez, Technical Assistance Specialist at the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials, about how we can ensure equitable learning during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
36 minutes | 6 months ago
Leaders from large urban districts show how they are coordinating remote learning for thousands of students and educators.
When the coronavirus pandemic closed schools across the country in March, transitioning to online learning was a challenge for all districts. Large, urban districts faced especially big challenges in getting devices in the hands of hundreds of thousands of students, ensuring they all had internet access and providing training to thousands of educators. In this episode of Ed Influencers, edtech leaders from two of the country’s largest districts – Los Angeles Unified and Baltimore County – talk about how they got their online learning programs off the ground. Baltimore County, with 115,000 students, was well positioned to launch online learning because it had an established learning management system that its teachers were experienced using, said Ryan Imbriale, the district’s executive director of innovative learning. Its challenge was to implement a platform for connecting students and teachers in real time. To allow time to train teachers on the platform, the district distributed packets of paper learning materials to students. Meanwhile, the district called on its existing e-learning department to train teachers on how to deliver distance learning. On the student side, everyone in grades 3-12 already had a device. The district worked with internet service providers to ensure internet access. Imbriale said the key to the district’s success was patience and a methodical approach.Los Angeles Unified was faced with arranging distance learning for its 700,000 students. Sophia Mendoza, the district’s director of its instructional technology initiative, said the district’s first priority was to deliver training for teachers. It gathered its existing training programs around the ISTE Standards to give teachers a grounding in distance learning. It found that the ISTE Standards for global collaborator and digital citizen that it was already engaged in implementing gave the district some momentum as the pandemic unfolded. The district sought to balance the urgency of the situation with a longer-term view that its teachers would keep using the skills they learned in this transition to distance learning. In a week, the district was able to deliver 12 two-hour training sessions to about 6,000 educators. The district also found that digital equity efforts that were part of its five-year-old instructional technology initiative put it in a good position to address any internet access issues. To help other districts with online learning, Los Angeles also made its professional learning catalog available to any educator.
35 minutes | 7 months ago
Superintendents from Ohio and New York show how they are navigating the transition to online learning
When the coronavirus pandemic shut down schools in March, districts around the country were faced with quickly doing something they’d never done – delivering learning to students remotely. In a matter of days, districts had to overcome many barriers: ensuring students had devices and internet access, training teachers and putting together curriculum. In this episode of EdInfluencers, superintendents of two districts that successfully navigated the transition to online learning talk about how they did it. In Lakota School District in Liberty Township, Ohio, a quick response and the timing of spring break allowed the district to get a remote learning system in place in 10 days. Superintendent Matt Miller says the district’s priorities, however, weren’t all focused on learning. First, Miller said, the district wanted to ensure the well-being of students. That meant free meals for those who needed them and maintaining and fostering the social and emotional connections among teachers, students, parents and the community. With students engaged with teachers and classmates, the learning will come, Miller said. As for lessons learned, Miller cites the need to ensure digital equity, the importance of investing in technology and fostering robust communication at all levels, from superintendents to teachers, students and parents. In New York, Mineola Public Schools’ transition was eased by the fact that it has been a 1:1 district for 10 years. Superintendent Michael Nagler said that using iPads for learning was nothing new for teachers and students. The district quickly added the WebEx platform to provide a video link between teachers and students. In two days, teachers were trained on WebEx and ready to go. Nagler said, however, that the district’s first priority was checking in on the social-emotional well-being of students and their needs for learning at home. The district mobilized resources to address those needs. “It's a very difficult time for families and they need us to be the conduit to let them know everything's going to be OK,” he said. For Mineola, its early embrace of technology has paid off. “It just feels like we're doing what we always do,” Nagler said.
28 minutes | 7 months ago
Turnaround for Children founder, Dr. Pam Cantor, shares how school closures and trauma impact student learning.
Dr. Pam Cantor is an expert on how trauma affects learning in children. A child psychiatrist, she co-authored a study on the effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on children in New York City schools. Cantor says that the stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the closing of schools has a double-whammy effect on children’s ability to learn. The stress of the pandemic causes the fight-or-flight reaction, which is usually buffered by human relationships, such as those in school communities – friends, classmates and teachers. With those school relationships gone or curtailed, new ones need to be created to help children cope. Without them, learning can be difficult because traumatic events release the hormone cortisol, which triggers the fight-or-flight reaction and shuts down the learning centers of the brain. With children in no condition to learn, schools and their distance learning programs need to focus on relationship-building. Educators, Cantor says, shouldn’t be worried that learning is taking place. Instead, they need to double-down on students’ emotional needs and worry about the academics later. “So today what I'd like to see teachers doing is saying to kids, ‘Do not worry. … You are going to catch up and we will help you catch up. But here are some things we need to be doing now because our main job is to cope with this very, very difficult and stressful time.’” The technology students are using in distance learning can be a positive, Cantor says, if it is used to foster student agency and not as an instrument of passive learning. Cantor also says that the stress of COVID-19 will be harder on those students who are facing stresses already, whether that’s an existing family condition or the effects of the pandemic on parents’ jobs. Cantor also touches on how she would like to see schools change when they reopen.
31 minutes | 10 months ago
Sophia Mendoza, director of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Instructional Technology Initiative: How L.A. Unified successfully implements classroom technology
Sophia Mendoza, the director of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Instructional Technology Initiative, has led the implementation of digital learning tools in over 400 schools. In doing so, she has implemented several innovative professional development models for the district’s 25,000 teachers. In introducing technology, Mendoza says the district aims to meet teachers where they are, to ensure that they feel successful and supported as they learn to use edtech tools. The district’s PD programs, she said, “provide multiple entry points for learning opportunities so that there are these easy wins and that they feel successful, that they feel supported as they venture out and take those risks … ” Part of the district’s strategy is to create “change agents” at school sites, such as principals who embrace professional development as learners first and then model their learning in ways that are meaningful for their staff. The aim is to avoid a top-down approach and create grassroots learning led by people who are leaders in their school communities. The school district has also made the ISTE Standards a centerpiece of its implementation efforts. The district has developed curriculum that has the ISTE Standards woven into it. It has also created teams of teachers that develop lessons according to the ISTE Standards and then test them to find what works and what doesn’t. The district has also developed “practitioner schools,” where an ISTE Standard is instituted across all subjects and then can act as a model for other schools in the district. Mendoza has also worked with teacher preparation programs to ensure the ISTE Standards are part of their curriculum. That ensures new teachers coming in the district are familiar with the standards.
35 minutes | a year ago
How to make students creative problem-solvers with Tacy Trowbridge, head of Adobe’s global education programs.
As head of Adobe’s global education programs, Tacy Trowbridge manages the company’s Education Exchange, an online community where more than 700,000 educators share ideas and resources and get training on digital media tools. But for all the cool tools, Trowbridge’s overarching mission is to promote the teaching of creative problem-solving, a process that shifts the focus from students being passive consumers of information to being active creators of ideas and solutions. With the pace of change quickening, the world needs to train students to be “creative problem solvers, folks who can help us invent the future,” Trowbridge said. So, what does teaching creative problem-solving look like? Trowbridge says educators need to give students voice, let them figure out a problem that they want to solve and give them an authentic audience. It’s not about all students working toward one correct answer, it’s about students wrestling with problems and coming up with solutions on their own. Research showed near unanimous agreement among educators that teaching creative problem-solving is essential. But it also showed that schools are only teaching 20 percent of the underlying skills. There are lots of barriers; in one study, 70 percent of teachers blamed policies that create learning environments that discourage creative problem-solving. Altering that environment will require big changes, both in how teachers engage students and in how the government measures educational outcomes.
32 minutes | a year ago
Paraguay Educa founder Cecilia Rodríguez Alcalá shares how edtech improved education access and quality in one city.
Cecilia Rodríguez Alcalá, an ISTE board member and founder of Paraguay Educa, faced many challenges in helping to bring technology to the students of Paraguay. The country’s public education system is short on resources and its list of challenges is long: Students go to school for only four hours a day, 50 percent of them drop out after the eighth grade, and many teachers aren’t qualified and gain their jobs through political patronage. To overcome those challenges, Alcalá helped launch a massive edtech initiative to bring modern digital tools to students and help the country “leap-frog” some of its challenges en route to 21st-century education. To launch the project in 2009, the city of Caacupe was designated a “digital city” and 20,000 students there were given laptops. Teachers underwent intensive training to learn to incorporate the laptops into lessons. There was robust ongoing support for teachers, including onsite mentors to guide them. The students took to the laptops immediately and sometimes instructed the teachers on how to use them. But the broader goal was to shift how learning took place. The project brought a more collaborative approach to learning with an emphasis on using technology to create, not just consume. The project is being used as a model as the country works on further education reforms.
31 minutes | a year ago
National Teacher of the Year Mandy Manning shares how she meets the needs of immigrant students
This time on Ed Influencers, ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with Mandy Manning, the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, to learn about her experiences teaching and supporting immigrant students. Along the way, she shares her definition of culturally responsive teaching, explains how technology is giving these students a voice and talks about the role of hope in student success. Manning also shares how working with immigrant students has changed her thinking about the purpose of school.
29 minutes | a year ago
Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera discusses equity in urban ed
This time on “Ed Influencers,” ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera who shares how his early education experiences in Philadelphia influenced his career path, his return to the neighborhood where he grew up and how he leads the state’s education system. Rivera weighs in on the importance of equitable access and equitable distribution, the ways teachers are reaching students with tech and how Pennsylvania schools are incorporating workforce readiness skills starting in kindergarten.
27 minutes | a year ago
Media entrepreneur Manoush Zomorodi shares how to make engaging with tech positive
In this episode of “Ed Influencers,” ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with media entrepreneur and author Manoush Zomorodi to discuss where technology is taking us and how we can make it a positive experience. She delves into the science behind default mode, how digital habits can serve or harm students and ourselves, and how to know when tech is taking over our human capacities. Listeners will also be introduced to Zomorodi’s book Bored and Brilliant, and her podcasts “Note to Self,” “Zig Zag” and “IRL.”
35 minutes | 2 years ago
ISTE CEO Richard Culatta tackles the 10 most critical topics in education today
Detailed description: This time on “Ed Influencers,” ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with ISTE CEO Richard Culatta to discuss some of the most critical topics in education today, including digital citizenship, media literacy, personalized learning, coding, computational thinking, computer science, digital equity and screen time. You’ll also hear about Culatta’s first foray into edtech, his experiences as a classroom teacher, what he thinks personalized learning should really look like and what makes him optimistic about education.
30 minutes | 2 years ago
Masie Center CEO Elliott Masie shares insights on workplace and lifelong learning
This time on “Ed Influencers,” ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with Elliott Masie, leader of The Masie Center, to discuss how learning happens in the workplace, what lifelong learning looks like and how technology plays into job-based learning. Along the way, you’ll hear how this Broadway producer and creator of the term e-learning has been able to unite his three passions: bringing people together, the possibilities of technology and pinpointing the moment of learning to create a diverse and inspirational career. You’ll also get his take on curiosity and failure, and how those experiences shape adult and young learners.
31 minutes | 2 years ago
LAUSD’s Frances Gipson shares the district’s transformation with tech and ISTE Standards
In this episode of “Ed Influencers,” ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with Frances Gipson, Ph.D., chief academic officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District, to discuss her career path in the nation’s second largest school district, student-centered learning, digital equity and technology as a learning accelerator. Along the way, she explains how LAUSD adopted and operationalized the ISTE Standards, and provided professional development to support their implementation. Gipson also shares how the district remains focused on leading with learning as it transforms its educational program with technology.
35 minutes | 2 years ago
IDEO’s Sandy Speicher explains how human-centered design and design thinking can transform how we do school
In this episode of “Ed Influencers,” ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South interviews Sandy Speicher, global managing director for IDEO, about her early work teaching graphic design to elementary students, the definition of human-centered design, how design thinking applies to learners and how we can all exist together in the digital world. Along the way, Speicher describes her role at IDEO, how she helped design an entire international school system and how she hopes to influence the future of teaching and learning. This episode that unpacks leading-edge thinking in education is not to be missed!
29 minutes | 2 years ago
What’s behind Justina Nixon-Saintil’s commitment to tech-enabled learning, STEM for all
In the first episode of “Ed Influencers, ISTE Chief Learning Officer Joseph South sits down with Justina Nixon-Saintil, director for corporate social responsibility programs at the Verizon Foundation, to discuss her commitment to ensuring underserved and underrepresented students have access to tech-enabled learning and STEM opportunities. Nixon-Santil, an ISTE Making IT Happen Award winner, reflects on her work that includes overseeing the development, implementation and measurement of the Verizon Foundation’s philanthropic efforts. She also discusses her decision to train to become an educator after working as an engineer, what keeps her going toward her ambitious goals, what most excites her about edtech and when she’ll know that her work is done. Along the way, she shares the thrill she gets from visiting schools and seeing today’s learners immersed in digital creation and STEM learning.
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