Best Technology Practices for School Districts in Washington State
Technology has a unique role to play as innovation and economic hardship transform teaching, learning and education management. With its limitless versatility, educational reach and proven ability to boost productivity, technology has become necessary infrastructure in every district office and classroom. But its value to K-12 teachers depends on pre-service training and programs of professional development that help educators make the leap to powerful 21st century instruction and assessment. Here are five programs that make the case for technology integration and move us closer to a 1:1 equity of access to classroom technology.
Computers 4 Kids
C4K makes it possible to distribute state computers identified for surplus to needy public schools across Washington. The process is transparent and easy for administrators to use and track. More than a service, C4K has proved to be a best practice that places computers into classrooms that would have been lucky to see a single desktop PC for the teacher. We distributed a total of 6,451 refurbished and lease-return computers to schools in 78 districts during 2013, bringing the total for the program to over 79,000 computers since the program began in 1999.
The Digital Learning Department (DLD) is a one-stop-shop where educators, students and parents can access online courses and school programs, digital educational resources, research, training and more. Central to the mission of the DLD is their work developing an A-list of approved providers of online courseware for Washington state districts. Administrators watch this site — the list is dynamic, and as providers move through the approval process, new names show up. The DLD’s rigorous and transparent process for approval maintains a conscientious accountability to the state Legislature, OSPI and the districts it serves.
Educational Technology Plan for K-12 Public Schools in Washington State
We provide the state plan for educational technology to the Washington State Legislature as a comprehensive account of the current state of technology integration across Washington’s K-12 public schools. Its contents describe the challenges, opportunities and emerging issues that face educators as the pressure to deliver a 21st century education meets the tough realities of funding, disparity and a tightening regulatory environment. The great value of this publication is the proposition of bold strategies that outline a forward direction for educators and lawmakers. Given that we are all dedicated to the development of a highly effective teaching force and technology-enriched learning environment for K-12 students, these concrete, realistic and tactical approaches illuminate the path ahead.
Grade-specific and aligned with state academic standards, Thinkfinity is the brain-child of a three-way partnership between the Verizon Foundation, a group of highly-regarded organizations that develop content for K-12 education and individual states. Washington is one of 34 states that share best practices and provide ongoing feedback to keep the content rich and up-to-date. Thinkfinity is a multi-dimensional online world of teaching and learning resources. Lesson plans, study guides, interactive learning activity tools, professional development courseware and instructional support materials are designed to help students learn new concepts, handle the homework and explore the world.
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