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State leaders learn tips in Connected Educator Month

SETDA details new initiatives, communities for state leaders as part of Connected Educator Month

state-connected-educator-month If state technology leaders know one thing, it’s that community and connection are vital for achievement–both professionally and for student achievement. As part of Connected Educator Month (CEM), the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has partnered with CEM to provide state leaders with vital resources to bring states up-to-speed on key technology issues.

“Keeping up with new ways to teach and learn to ensure our students are successful…is a mind-boggling task if a teacher only has his or her own colleagues in the local school to talk to,” said Geoff Fletcher, deputy executive director of SETDA.

According to Fletcher, having access to other educators, and especially state technology leaders, is the most valuable resource teachers can have, providing ideas and support that will “enrich the lives of students in many classrooms.” For that reason, being connected is “essential.”

(Next page: New state technology leader initiatives)

In November, SETDA will debut a new online community for members that will be officially launched at the Leadership Summit.

“One of the main reasons SETDA was created was so that our members could connect with each other regularly in a variety of ways,” explained Fletcher, “and we all are the richer for it. Our new community will further enrich collaboration and communication among our members and serve as a model as they continue to strive to connect with leaders in districts across their states.”

Working with CEM, SETDA has continued its work this year, specifically focusing on hot-button subjects currently in states and districts, such as working with digital resources and how to implement online assessments.

SETDA and CEM presented a webinar October 7 that featured two states’ approaches to providing resource for teaching and learning, as well as “unique” professional development opportunities. View the archived webinar.

Both states served as examples for states and districts looking to create, aggregate, and disseminate digital resources.

“The content of the webinar is a reflection of key points in our groundbreaking paper, Out of Print, which catalogs the shift from print to digital with instructional materials,” said Fletcher.

SETDA’s second webinar will be held October 15 at 3 ET and will look at three districts—Mooresville, N.C., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Indian River, Del.—and their efforts to implement online assessment. Sign up for the webinar.

Representatives of these districts will talk about how learning in the classroom has become more personalizes, partially because of online assessments.

According to Fletcher, these districts are part of a series of case studies SETDA has developed to help states and districts get ready for online assessments.

The series, “Implementing Online Assessments: Pathways to Success,” is part of a larger effort by SETDA to help states and districts prepare for the 2014-15 online assessments of the Common Core State Standards.

Under a subcontract with A.I.R. through the U.S. Department of Education, SETDA created, an online community of practice focused on assisting states and districts as they prepare to implement online assessments.

Each best practice describes the state’s history with online assessments, the evolution of their infrastructure, their approach to training and communication with districts, and an in-depth look at what it took a district to implement the assessments.

The downloadable resources supplement the narrative and range from training agendas to checklists for technology readiness to sample letters from the state to school districts.

The community has over 1600 members with a number of active, smaller affinity groups focusing on more specific issues. For example, the State Readiness Coordinator group consists of the people charged with preparing their state for the 2014-15 online assessments. Information from the Technology Readiness Tool is posted frequently and members hold active discussion threads on topics that arise as they prepare their state and districts for the implementation of online assessments.

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