With the pandemic has come a reckoning on how big the digital equity gap is in the United States. During an edWebinar sponsored by ClassLink and co-hosted by CoSN and AASA, three superintendents discussed their observations about digital equity and what their districts need to do next.
How and where our students learn has radically changed over the last ten months. Students are in a multitude of educational environments that have challenged the entire school community. As educators, we cannot predict what the future holds, but we understand the importance of developing core skills such as collaboration, effective communication, and problem solving in our students today.
Math is not easy to teach or learn. So, teachers use a variety of strategies to boost their students’ numeracy skills. But some of those approaches could be unproductive, contended Dr. Juli Dixon, Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Central Florida, in a recent edWebinar sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Mathematics. She described standard practices that can derail rather than support mathematical reasoning, and offered alternative methods that would benefit students far more.
All educators have now become managers and reporters of data, whether they are classroom teachers compiling information on individual students and sharing it with parents, or top district administrators evaluating teachers, principals, and all their students. Data-driven decisions now determine how students are taught, teachers are paid, and schools are run, so data management and sharing have become crucial job functions. During a recent edWeb edLeader Panel, sponsored by CatchOn An ENA Affiliate, key aspects of organizing and reporting data were discussed by Monica Cougan, Product Marketing Manager, and Leo Brehm, Product Manager, both from ENA/CatchOn, and Erin Hommeland, Director of Planning and Process at Eduscape.
Between the recent presidential election, COVID-19, and racial unrest, our students are barraged with 24/7 access to news and media that can be real, fake, or altered. According to the presenters in a recent edWebinar, sponsored by ABC-CLIO, the relationship between the terms “news” and “media” are fundamental distinctions that we need to make when working with students in the new era of journalism. Jacquelyn Whiting, Innovation and Technology Specialist for Cooperative Educational Services, and Peter Adams, Senior Vice President of Education for the News Literacy Project, assert that while there are many credentialed journalists, there is also “a world of citizen journalists with mini computers in their pockets.”
Your school has made headway on literacy development. Students are reading more and thinking critically about what they write. And then there’s, well, a pandemic. Teaching and learning move out of the classroom into the virtual world, putting literacy gains at risk. How do you continue developing your students’ reading and writing skills from afar? How do they avoid the COVID slide potential?
The pandemic, while a great disruption in schools, is also an opportunity for change. According to presenters of a recent edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, as school leaders look to reopen their schools, they shouldn’t just be focused on logistics. In addition, they need to ask themselves: Is my school truly responsive to student needs, and if not, how can I make the school work for all students?
If implicit bias is unconscious and something that everyone experiences, how can educators prevent, or at least minimize, its impact on students? During a recent edWebinar, hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Bryant T. Marks, Sr., Executive Director of the National Training Institute on Race and Equity at Morehouse College, explained how increasing awareness and then taking effective, data-driven action can result in more equitable treatment of diverse students.
Ending systemic injustices and dismantling long-standing barriers isn’t easy, and district leaders engaged in the process recently identified procedures and tools that have helped them support and guide their districts during their “equity journeys.” During an edWebinar hosted by AASA, The School Superintendents Association and AASA’s Leadership Network, Dr. Leila Nuland, Managing Director of the K-12 Research Team at Hanover Research, explained how district leaders can compile and utilize data on educational equity. Then, Dr. Daryl Camp, Superintendent of the San Lorenzo Unified School District in California, and Dr. Gregory Hutchings, Superintendent of the Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia, discussed the priorities and processes they have established to increase equity in their districts.
This year, more than ever, the pandemic has shown how committed, innovative, and resilient educators are in teaching and supporting their students, and has shown how much more work is needed to provide all students with an equitable education and opportunity in life. Thank you to everyone who has presented, attended, and sponsored on edWeb this year, and for your engagement in our global community – now 1 million strong.