Hi, I’m Leslie — another member of the K12 team and a new blogger. I’m excited to be here and I look forward to creating a dialogue with you over the course of the year. Recently I have been reflecting on 2009 and contemplating what is in store for education and technology in 2010 (not only because it is my job but because it is so important!)
I was just introduced to Chris Lehman’s blog. He is a principal at a Philadelphia high school and has some exciting ideas about the role technology plays in schools. In one of his articles he challenges school leaders to shift the way they think about technology; more than just engaging kids, schools should be empowering them and providing more access to the tools and Web sites that teenagers’ are frequenting with on a daily basis. Striving for empowerment leads to a more student-centered classroom, which is a concept we strongly believe in at Blackboard (bringing the students to the center of the educational experience is something we work hard to do every day!)
2010 will without a doubt be another
exciting year for Blackboard K12 as we work with schools and districts to
continue to evolve education by engaging students and teachers through expanded learning opportunities.
In my experience, there have been few things more rewarding than listening to
our champion educators during webinars, at BbWorld and other industry conferences,
share successes they have had by incorporating online learning into
their traditional instructional methodology.
Last week over 1,500 K-12 educators gathered in Austin, TX for the Virtual School Symposium hosted by iNACOL. Though the event is branded for virtual schools, one of the most popular topics was blended learning – the intersection between face-to-face and online learning.
We discovered that blended learning can be a confusing topic as definitions vary based on institution. To help, Blackboard K-12 embarked on projects to shed light on the model and practices around blended learning. At VSS, we launched our newest eduviews K-12 leadership publication: Blended Learning: Where Online and Face-to-Face Instruction Intersect at a breakfast featuring a panel of practitioners.
I attended a luncheon honoring the success of Fairfax Public Schools (VA) in
providing a first-class education to their students – including the
incorporation of technology in education. One of the district’s many
accomplishments is the creation of a district virtual school to serve a diverse
student population. Fairfax is not alone in this effort. Many districts across
the country have created virtual schools to enable students to access courses
they can’t get at their school or that just won’t fit into their schedule. This
summer, Blackboard K-12 captured a few district leaders on video as they
discussed the benefits of district-based virtual schools, including the ability
to deliver an engaging, personalized educational experience to students.
Over the past three years, I have blogged about our partnership with Project Tomorrow to bring you the Education in the 21st Century reports. These reports examined the views of K-12 educators on issues such as online learning and a new breed of K-12 administrators.
This time, we narrowed our focus to parents. Learning in the 21st Century: Parents’ Perspectives, Parents’ Priorities, released at the NSBA T+L event in Denver, CO (amidst 10+ inches of snow!), examines the views of these important, but often overlooked stakeholders in education. The report reveals that parents do not believe our schools are doing enough to prepare students for the 21st century. To improve on this, they identify the application of technology to learning and teacher training as two major elements for success. Read more.