Coming to the end of my first year as the Coordinator of Digital Learning in the North Reading Public schools, I wanted to take the opportunity to share a list of activities and initiatives that you may not know are going on in the schools related to Digital Learning. These items represent some of the most exciting uses of educational technology and showcases the many innovative and talented people in the district.
Additionally, I want to express appreciation for all of the hard work on the part of the Digital Learning team and the teachers who worked alongside them to integrate technology and explore a range of new tools and resources. I also appreciate the support of Superintendent Jon Bernard and Assistant Superintendent Patrick Daly who have provided tremendous support and guidance in my process of joining the district leadership. This list is my attempt to share a snapshot of the great experiences in the past school year as well as highlight some things to look forward to in the fall.
We love robots!
In the grades K through 8 a huge commitment to Robotics and computer science programming has been made not only in the digital learning curriculum but also in the after-school clubs and Middle School classrooms. Students have a range of robots to work with from the Lego platform. Student opportunities to be involved with robotics includes not only the K-5 Digital Learning Specialists Curriculum but also robotics courses in Middle School and the Robotics Club after school.
Makerspaces are coming!
Makerspaces are coming to North Reading! With the support of parents the hood School we put in the other its first Makerspace before the fall. This Makerspace will support a variety of new design thinking and STEAM (Science, Technology, Art & Math) based learning experiences for students. A team of teachers from the Hood Elementary are currently in the planning stages of this space and have had the opportunity to travel to other local school districts that have Makerspaces and learn from their experiences.
Digital Learning Specialist Model!
The Digital Learning Specialist rotating model brings digital literacy, Project-Based Learning with technology and programming and robotics curriculum to all three elementary schools. Co-teaching with classroom teachers, the Digital Learning Specialists work alongside teachers utilizing digital tools, resources, and classroom curriculum.
“Change Team” High School Student Technology Team
The North Reading High School Change Team & Technology Solutions Team was introduced at the high school this year. The North Reading Change Team & Tech Solutions program enables students to deepen their learning with technology while supporting teacher needs. The projects from the past year included an introduction to Raspberry Pi, Creating an App with App Inventor, Programming with Microsoft Visual Studio and Addressing Teacher Needs with Tech Help Videos. It is anticipated that this “Student Run Help Desk” will continue to evolve and play a huge role in including the student voice with digital learning initiatives.
The Digital Learning Lab is a beautiful space to learn and collaborate!
On a variety of occasions, the Digital Learning Lab was an amazing space to utilize to have a multiple classes or groups participate in web-based activities. It was a great place for students to be able to come in, set up their Chromebooks, and log on to an educational website. Students were able to participate as a group and utilize technology seamlessly. Not many districts have such a great space for students to learn together using some of the greatest technology available.
The “Hour of Code” will be back!
Next year we plan on even making the hour of code even a larger event. This past December the North Reading Public Schools participated in the hour of code in huge numbers. Students K-12 took an opportunity during the week of December 7th thru 11th to be able to try their hand at programming skills and other computer science related activities. It was a great to get students involved with better understanding the potential careers and opportunities related to computer science and engineering. Our guest speakers were great and truly enhanced the experience.
Digital Learning Adopts Open Educational Resources
This Digital Learning is joining a Department Of Education initiative #GoOpen to commit to using online resources for curriculum development. The Digital Learning team will utilize open source educational resources in order to expand its curriculum K-8. This decision will enable the department to keep its vision aligned to procuring the best open source educational resources available and make recommendations based on their experiences.
Math Department at High School Commits To Online Curriculum
The math department at the high school has committed to an online curriculum which will utilize the Chromebook carts located at the high school. This commitment to an online curriculum is the first by any of the departments at the high school. This adoption by the teachers shows a commitment to expanding their skills as digital educators to have more streamlined pedagogy using technology.
Digital Learning Educators Making Impact!
Digital learning specialist Kathy Dasho and Middle School Library Media Specialist Laurie Walton have been selected to present their collaborative work with the Spanish language teachers in the Middle School at the MassCUE Better Together Conference at Lesley University on August 25th.
Excited About The Future Of Digital Learning!
These events, initiatives and learning experiences are truly empowered by the enhancements that using rich digital learning resources and adequate tools brings to education. Digital Learning is never truly about the devices but about the engagement it brings to the content and the variety of delivery methods that are possible in this digital age. I am eager and excited about what lies ahead for Digital Learning in North Reading and will look to create a supportive culture of sharing these technology driven education experiences as we integrate technology into the classrooms.
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