The district is in its fifth year of trying to move toward a more digital-based classroom environment, and Edwards said school leaders “see it clearly as an evolutional opportunity” within the district.
“Our teachers have a level of precision, with detailed information about individual students and groups of students, that enables them to be much more effective and precise in their endeavors,” he said.
Teacher competency is changing for the better, and with that comes an increase in creativity and real-world learning experiences for students.
The district has dedicated a portion of its budget—roughly 2.4 percent, Edwards said—to provide for hardware, maintenance, and essentially everything except infrastructure, in the move toward digital teaching and learning.
“From a financial standpoint, it’s absolutely doable for other districts to use this model,” he said.
The district’s professional development is aligned with a focus on student achievement, using digital resources, and ultimately on building a stronger learning culture for all involved.
More than 90 percent of the district’s teachers attended an optional summer professional development program, and Edwards said district leaders work hard to create opportunities for continuous learning.
Cator said school district leaders should talk to teachers about how they use technology in their personal lives, and leverage that in the classroom. Examining the definition of what it means to be connected, and what it means to be technology-literate, can help guide professional development moving forward, she said.
“Technology is not a silver bullet—education is, and we have to make sure that every American as the extended opportunity to learn, every single day,” Cator said.
The webinar was hosted by epiced.org, a community website focused on digital teaching and learning.