What will the future of education bring? It’s hard to say. That story is still being written by teachers, students, principals and parents.
But we can get a glimpse by studying the high achievers, to learn how they are innovating. And the future might involve electric toothbrushes, CDs and markers. That hodgepodge of items can be combined to produce automated drawing robots, aka “draw bots.”
Kindergarten students in the Avonworth School District near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, showed their draw-bot creations Monday to an awe-struck group of visitors who toured the school during a fall meeting of educators from districts that are leaders in using education technology. Several schools in the area work with community partners, like The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, to create engaging, high-tech lessons for students.
A report released Monday, the Remake Learning Playbook (produced by Remake Learning, a network of schools, colleges, museums, libraries, philanthropies and other community groups in the greater Pittsburgh area) provides a how-to guide for replicating what’s happening in western Pennsylvania.
The Avonworth School District belongs to the League of Innovative Schools, a national coalition based on a stunningly simple idea: Rather than asking every school to reinvent the wheel independently, why not share best practices with each other? The first question many educators want to ask is whether an innovation worked in a community or school that resembles their own.
The League of Innovative Schools – now with 73 member districts in 33 states – is a project of Digital Promise, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that works to promote best practices in education technology and blended learning. Last week, Digital Promise announced the League’s newest members, 21 districts and one charter school, representing a diverse collection of communities.
They are: Albemarle County Public SchoolsÂ – Charlottesville, Virginia; Cajon Valley Union School DistrictÂ – El Cajon, California; Duplin County SchoolsÂ – Kenansville, North Carolina; East Noble School CorporationÂ – Kendallville, Indiana; Elizabeth Public SchoolsÂ – Elizabeth, New Jersey; El Paso Independent School DistrictÂ – El Paso, Texas; Franklin West Supervisory UnionÂ – Fairfax, Vermont; Freehold Regional High School DistrictÂ – Englishtown, New Jersey; Gurnee School District 56Â – Gurnee, Illinois; Henry County Public SchoolsÂ – Henry County, Virginia; Iredell Statesville Public SchoolsÂ – Statesville, North Carolina; Juab School DistrictÂ – Juab, Utah; KIPP DCÂ – Washington, D.C.; Lakeville Area Public SchoolsÂ – Lakeville, Minnesota; Mesa Public SchoolsÂ – Mesa, Arizona; Orange County Public SchoolsÂ – Orlando, Florida; Oxnard Union High School DistrictÂ – Oxnard, California; San Francisco Unified School DistrictÂ – San Francisco, California; Santa Ana Unified School DistrictÂ – Santa Ana, California; Sitka School DistrictÂ – Sitka, Alaska; Talladega County SchoolsÂ – Talladega, Alabama; Uinta School District #1Â – Evanston, Wyoming.
The new ideas developed by these leaders could help others as they embark on the process of transforming schools to make the most of technology. But can anyone say for sure what schools will look like in 50 years? Naw. The most successful schools will shoot for the moon and still keep evolving. And no one can perfectly predict the future. Aren’t we all still waiting for the flying cars promised by The Jetsons?
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