The Houston Independent School District’s efforts to embrace and advance digital content and curriculum have been recognized by the Center for Digital Education, a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 technology trends, policy, and funding. HISD will be honored, along with other school districts from across the nation, Monday evening at the Center’s Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Awards which take place during the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2014 conference in Atlanta.
“This year’s winners are leveraging the power of digital content and curriculum in creative ways that enhance and personalize learning,” said Alan Cox, senior vice president for the Center for Digital Education. “They offer innovative examples for other schools to emulate, and we congratulate them all for their leadership in moving education forward.”
HISD will be recognized in the K-12 large district category for efforts to ensure publishers of educational content and curriculum offer their product to school districts in a digital format that complies with digital content inter-operability standards. This ensures that teachers and students can access outside content in one location rather than logging on to multiple platforms and sites.
HISD’s digital content and curriculum efforts are part of PowerUp, the district’s comprehensive initiative to transform 21st century teaching and learning. As part of PowerUp, HISD distributed laptops during the 2013-2014 school year to students at 11 high schools. The initiative also offered training and professional development for teachers to learn how to use the device and web-based tools to engage students and personalize instruction. In addition, the district’s curriculum department prepared an expanded and enhanced set of planning documents and exemplar units that leveraged the use of laptops and web 2.0 tools in hopes of increasing student engagement, supporting differentiated instruction, and encouraging collaboration.
“PowerUp is about more than just giving kids computers to use in the classroom and at home,” said HISD Chief Academic Officer Dan Gohl. “This is about changing the culture of teaching and learning at HISD by digitizing the classroom. We must provide our teachers and students with the tools they need to succeed. We are honored that our work is being recognized and acknowledged.”
During the 2014-2015 school year, students at 21 schools will receive laptops and by 2016 every HISD high school student will have a laptop to use at school and at home. The district is also introducing a new online teaching and learning platform during the coming school year that will allow teachers to manage curriculum and instruction more effectively and to collaborate with their peers, students, and parents.
This is absolutely an outstanding achievement for HISD. They truly are “reinventing the wheel” so that every student can participate in the digital age we now live in. Hopefully, other school systems across the country (and possibly around the world) will be able to follow a similar path. Hats off to their new Chief Academic Officer for thinking far outside the box and for putting the students first in their need to be able to participate in the 21st century global economy.! Let us all follow HISD’s lead!