Chief Technology Officer, Fort Worth Independent School District
Leaders must have vision and courage to prepare students as global learners.
The world of education is constantly changing. To better understand the world around us, educators must have vision. However, uneducated vision creates unproductive friction. All educators should be life-long learners who get excited when they see new trends and strategies that motivate students to learn. Why? Students need learning environments that guide their knowledge and encourage them to visualize their world beyond their own imagination. They learn best from educators who not only teach the content, but teach to reach the student.
Engaging learners to create life-long learning is an ever-evolving process.
Reaching learners of all ages means to engage them. Today’s students grew up with technology—that is what turns them on, and that is what keeps them engaged. In the National Education Technology Plan, U.S. Secretary of Education Anne Duncan named gaming as an ideal method of assessing student knowledge comprehension, citing the ability of games to provide immediate performance feedback. Game theory is already taking hold across the nation and as educators realize and harness the learning power, education will evolve once again. Many districts are also employing innovative strategies that involve Web 2.0 and cloud computing. They are being coupled with new teaching approaches such as flipping classes. This is where students are and this is where life-long learning continues to reshape itself into life-long self-learning.
Students have changed in the way they learn best; teachers need to change the way they teach to reach them.
I have learned that moving the embedded system of teaching toward the needs of this new generation is not easy. What I know is a student wants to be connected 24/7—so teachers must learn how to use digital tools and not see them as distractors or barriers. In this day of Youtube, Facebook and other social networking systems, students want to share their world. Teachers, administrators and the total learning community must partner together to make these student “necessities” become true learning tools.
Learning cannot stop within the walls of the classroom or the end of the school day.
Even though students are connected 24/7 in the majority of homes, we cannot forget that there are still those who are not. Equity not equality must be created to allow all students to learn beyond the walls of the classroom. This requires revisiting and adjusting policies and procedures that limit the school’s ability to provide this equity.
The process of creating digital learning environments must include all stakeholders and be timely in training, feedback and follow-up.
Teachers have been using technologies for years in their classroom. However, a main component that has been overlooked is systemic, strategic professional development that teaches educators how to integrate technology as a powerful tool in educational content. Most of today’s teachers are not digital natives and must have continuous, consistent assistance. This must model and appreciate their learning styles just as we expect them to do for their students. How do we reach the teachers? The answer is that there is no single way. We must provide assistance through virtual video conferencing, face-to-face, campus assistance, just-in-time assistance, blended classes and online courses. All of these methods are needed in order to teach to reach. The one driving force for all professional development should be: How will this empower the teachers in assisting their students to achieve and reach beyond the moment?
The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.
Kyle Davie is the Chief Technology Officer of the Fort Worth Independent School District, which is the 35th largest urban school district in the nation with more than 81,000 students and 11,000 employees. His areas of focus have been to design and development the technology division and improve the customer experience.
Under his leadership, Fort Worth ISD successfully completed the largest implementation of interactive whiteboards in the nation. In addition to the interactive whiteboards, this installation of 5,500 digital classrooms included document cameras, on-demand video streaming, and video conferencing (distant learning) capabilities in every classroom in the district through the $593M Capital Improvement Program (Bond) as well as the implementation of Technology Based Instructional Applications.
As a goal-oriented information technology leader with over twenty years of expertise in corporate and public sectors in IT management, Kyle has shown a positive leadership style with a proven track record of managing complex systems and providing extraordinary customer service. He has demonstrated his abilities as a strategic thinker in leading organizations that are experiencing rapid growth and transition. He is widely acknowledged for his motivational and collaborative leadership style and was recently named as one of the top 50 technology innovators for 2011 by Converge Magazine.