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California Teacher Advisory Council explores digital education with iPad workshop

California, a leading high-tech state in many respects, is trailing the nation when it comes to support for digital education – the enhancement of education, both in and out of the classroom, with technology. According to a recent assessment by the Digital Learning Now, a project that assesses states’ support and readiness for digitally enhanced education with 72 measures, California received the lowest score of any state.

“Bringing California’s education system into the 21st century absolutely needs to be a principal focus for California if it expects to bolster its innovation ecosystem and ensure the state’s competitiveness on a national and international scale,” said CCST Executive Director Susan Hackwood. “Involving every segment of the educational system, including the teachers, will be critical in the process. That is why the California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC) is taking a central role in our Digital Education Initiative.”

Formed in 2005 by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), Cal TAC is a group of master teachers who provide a valuable connection between the teaching community and the educational experts and policymakers who shape California’s educational system. Cal TAC is working closely with CCST to help carry out the Digital Education Initiative, a partnership including the California STEM Learning Network designed to ensure that California’s 21st century learning environments are grounded in digital learning.

Recently, the California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC) took an important step in exploring the possibilities of digitally enhanced education directly thanks to Computer-Using Educators (CUE), which hosted a workshop on using iPads.

“Cal TAC has been eager to connect with CUE to help bring digital education to the forefront of California,” said Cal TAC Chair Brian Shay, a Secondary Mathematics Teacher at the Canyon Crest Academy in San Diego. “These iPads are just the beginning of expanding our teachers’ knowledge base of digitally enhanced education.”

“CUE is proud to partner with CCST and Cal TAC to assist in this important exploration of digital teaching and learning,” said Danny Silva, CUE Professional Development Coordinator. “A major focus in our workshops is on applications that can be used in the classroom to engage and ignite student learning and creativity.”

The best part? The teachers get to keep the iPads after the workshop.

“Getting devices into the hands of teachers and training them in their use is an important first step,” added Mike Lawrence, CUE Executive Director. “I look forward to working together to increase the digital resources available to educators on all levels so that teaching and learning can extend across this increasingly digital educational landscape. California can and should be a leader in this space. Together, our organizations can help make this a reality.”

“The iPad workshop is an excellent opportunity for our master teachers to get a first-hand introduction to technology that has the potential to transform their classroom environments,” said Hackwood. “We thank CUE, which has hosted similar workshops around the country, for their valuable contributions in introducing transformative technologies into California’s classrooms.”

“The fact that California, the nation’s leading high-tech state, is trailing the nation in this regard is a serious wake-up call,” added Hackwood. “As CCST identified in its assessment of the state’s innovation ecosystem last year, digitally enhanced education must be a top priority for California. We are pleased to have the input and guidance of the master teachers in Cal TAC in carrying out the Digital Education Initiative, and thank CUE for generously making the iPad workshop possible. We think this will be a valuable step in the process of helping our teachers bring our state’s education system to the next level.”

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