The most efficient school districts are those that leverage the technology tools available to them to improve teaching, learning, and internal processes.
Easier said than done, however, when district leaders grapple with teacher turnover and shortages, changing policies and mandates, and funding cuts.
So how do efficient districts focus on empowering teachers to do what they do best–teach? How do school district leaders eliminate countless hours spent
The answer lies in moving beyond the traditional, and oftentimes restricting, idea of the the “book,” said Michael Gorman, president of consulting firm 21st Century Educational Technology and Learning.
“Today, so many districts say books are great, but they aren’t the only thing,” he said. “As we get into this digital age, how do we go beyond the book?”
The emergence of new technologies such as open educational resources and interactive tools is certainly positive, but can lead to information overload as teachers juggle curriculum and standards, content and assessments.
(Next page: 9 ways districts use technology to improve efficiency)
Using a learning management system to automate processes such as multiple logins and time-consuming searches for online resources can help districts change the “book” paradigm through technology.
“We have to make time for great teaching,” Gorman said. “We need to improve educator effectiveness and this outweighs any other school program or policy.”
Gorman said efficient districts have:
1. One district-wide, end-to-end digital platform
2. One log-in for content, curriculum, PD, instruction, communication, collaboration and assessment
3. An ability to integrate different systems and platforms
4. High user adoption
5. An ability to modernize pedagogical methods such as UDL and one-to-one technology implementations
6. Lower costs
7. Teachers who are able to spend more time on instruction and less time on curriculum and lesson planning
8. Less teacher turnover–teachers are more satisfied with their careers
9. Actionable data for teachers to measure mastery of standards
Technology supports these characteristics by streamlining curriculum, focusing on learning objectives one child at a time, improving outcomes, and giving students ownership of their learning, Gorman said.
South Carolina’s Spartanburg County School District 6 is putting Gorman’s suggestions into practice with a focus on teachers and leveraging technology to support teaching and learning goals.
“Our teachers are the backbone of our district,” Gardner said.
Spartanburg officials tackled infrastructure and professional development to create the backbone that would allow the district to manage BYOD and an influx of student devices.
Part of that process included creating a community and a one-stop shop for teachers.
To learn more about how Spartanburg streamlined processes and focused on teacher efficiency, watch the archived webinar.