Horsley Park Public School (Sydney, Australia) is a small primary school, situated in the semi-rural outskirts of Sydney. Made up of of eight classes - four mainstream and four providing support for children with autism and intellectual disabilities – a goal of Horsley Park is “positive behavior, cooperation, and a growth mindset are encouraged and supported through a positive environment.”
There is countless research that says an engaging learning environment supports student achievement and success. As a former classroom teacher, my favorite memories are of seeing my students totally into a project, hearing them talk with their classmates about what they were doing, and celebrating their successes when they understood a concept or completed a project they worked so hard on. A classroom should be a place for conversation and collaboration, combined with critical thinking and creativity.
Laurel School District (New Castle, PA) has the goal of “equipping students to become knowledgeable, responsible, and engaged contributors” to society, and since the early 2000s has worked to implement education technology like interactive whiteboards to meet this goal. Unfortunately, interactive whiteboards only had pockets of success and use was generally low for both teachers and students. Robert Lee, Director of Administrative Services at Laurel SD commented, “We wanted to infuse educational technology that allows our students to be active participants.”
Now more than ever, school and parent/family connection is integral when it comes to supporting students as everyone is working to maneuver learning in various environments and situations. In response to school closures and a move to remote learning, there were districts that provided training to help the adults at home understand how online learning platforms, software programs, and video conferencing tools would be used. Parents and caregivers needed to know the what, when, why, and how of educational technology and how to best support learning at home.
Central Kitsap School District (Silverdale, WA) is a large district with 12 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 2 high schools, a secondary school (grades 6 – 12), and a K-12 community school serving over 11,500 students. A primary goal for Central Kitsap SD is to make sure that students have the skills needed to face challenges “in school and beyond graduation.” To do this, the district Department of Information Services and Technology (DIS) works to provide the technology needed to support, and spark, student learning in innovative ways. DIS faced the challenge of trying to extend the value of aging, wall-mounted projectors of varying ages and functionalities. They wanted a teaching and learning solution that would not only allow for more STEM integration, but essentially serve as a multi-use product to update their science learning environments.
Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is an educational framework that helps teachers create flexible learning environments that can accommodate students’ unique learning needs. Research shows that when teachers incorporate UDL, they are better able to meet the comprehensive needs of their students, including students with learning disabilities. The goal of UDL is to implement a variety of methods to engage students, represent information, and encourage students to actively participate and express themselves. Essentially, the application of UDL eliminates barriers to learning.
EdTech Breakthrough, part of Tech Breakthrough - a leading market intelligence organization that recognizes industry leaders in the education technology market – has awarded our MimioConnect Blended Learning Platform as Classroom Technology Innovation of the Year in its third annual EdTech Breakthrough Awards program. The mission of the EdTech Breakthrough Awards is to honor excellence and recognize innovation, hard work, and success in a range of educational technology categories. This year’s program attracted more than 2,000 nominations from over 17 different countries.
Fairland Primary School (Fairland Laerskool), a government primary school in Johannesburg, South Africa, strives to unlock every student’s potential and help them develop as successful independent learners. To do this, staff must have the tools needed to provide a quality education. While looking for alternative solutions to aging classroom technology, Fairland decision-makers were introduced to the Clevertouch interactive touchscreen displays.
Hickory Creek Elementary School (Warren County Schools, McMinnville, TN) has a vision of motivating their students to “strive for academic excellence” so that they are empowered to “become productive members of society.” Principal Mike Mansfield and Katrina Haley, Director of Technology at Warren County Schools, understand that this generation’s children are digital natives so to best serve their needs, as well as prepare them for the future, they look for ed tech solutions that will engage both students and teachers.