8 ways schools can become truly Future Ready

Advice for districts seeking to become better at digital teaching and learning

future-readyBeing Future Ready is about more than just signing a pledge or attending an event. It’s about taking measurable, sometimes scary, steps toward a digital future that is still very much uncertain, according to speakers at a recent ISTE panel discussion on the topic, “Is Your District Future Ready?

The Future Ready effort, championed by the Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education, hopes to permanently intertwine digital connectivity and learning in schools by getting administrators to think more broadly (and critically) about technology, PD, and the curriculum they use.

The backbone of the project is a short pledge superintendents take confirming their commitment to enlightened digital learning and advocacy (about 2,000 superintendents have signed it so far). There are also related regional summits that delve into how schools and districts can achieve Future Ready aims, such as empowering teachers, closing the digital divide, or supporting community efforts.

From that ISTE panel, here are several takeaways Future Ready-minded leaders should bear in mind.

The pledge alone is toothless. “Signing the pledge does not mean that you have made it,” said Katrina Stevens, a senior adviser in the Office of Educational Technology. “It just means, ‘We want to start moving toward this direction.'” Karen Cator, CEO of Digital Promise, mentioned that Baltimore County Schools spent 18 months crafting their own personal plan spelling out how they were working toward a digital future and soliciting input from teachers, community representatives, and other stakeholders.

Next page: Why more ed-tech scrutiny is needed

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