PowerUp Curriculum To Empower Teachers To Use Technology

As HISD prepares to distribute laptops to nearly 17,000 high school students this coming January, the district’s Curriculum Department is preparing an expanded and enhanced set of planning documents to assist teachers at the 11 campuses in PowerUp. PowerUp is the district’s one-to-one initiative that will eventually provide all students a laptop.

“PowerUp is about more than just giving kids computers that they can use in the classroom and at home,” said HISD Secondary Curriculum Director Mike Dorsey. “This is about changing the culture of teaching and learning at HISD by digitizing the classroom and by giving our teachers and students the tools they need.”

Dorsey and his team, along with the district’s Instructional Technology department, have been collaborating over the past several months to review current HISD curriculum planning guides and to identify opportunities where digital strategies and online resources can be incorporated into core content courses. The result is a series of new documents and exemplar units for teachers that leverage the use of laptops and web 2.0 tools to increase student engagement, support differentiated instruction, and encourage collaboration.

Teachers can access the new guides and units for the spring 2014 semester on the district’s eLearn site. Professional Development and Instructional Technology have also been coaching teachers from the PowerUp campuses on the use of digital strategies and online tools at weekly Saturday and early release training sessions.

Students at three schools were given laptops in mid-October, while the remaining eight campuses will distribute computers to students in early January. Before students can be assigned a laptop, they must attend a digital citizenship class, and their parents must attend an informational session.