Online teaching and learning platform launching at 48 schools

HISD teachers at a select group of schools will be utilizing an online tool this school year designed to make their instruction more personalized and collaborative, while at the same time allowing them to do more in less time.  The new online teaching and learning platform is called the PowerUp:HUB, or HUB for short, and is being piloted at 48 K through 12 campuses  during the 2014-2015 school year.

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“The HUB is an LMS, a Learning Management System, that is a one-stop-shop,” said Annetta Modest, senior manager for Teacher Development. “Once teachers in our pilot schools sign on, they will have access to tools, curriculum, and lesson plans.”

During a recent training session at Chavez High School, one of 32 high schools in the pilot, teachers learned how to use the HUB to design standards-based lessons using a customizable planner interface, how to create and deliver homework and quizzes to students, and how they can collaborate with peers to share ideas and access educational resources.

“It’s a great place to go to do everything,” said Chavez High School geometry teacher Megan Hays. “Where we had to go to four or five different websites before, now we just have to go to one central location, and we can do everything we need to do in just one area.”

Through the HUB, teachers in the pilot will be able to design individualized lesson plans for students to meet their unique learning styles. In addition, students in the pilot schools will also be using the HUB to complete and turn in assignments, take quizzes, access resources and tools, and collaborate and communicate with their teachers and fellow students.

“This is where we can meet students where they are digitally,” said Chavez High School Principal Rene Sanchez. “They are light years ahead of us. They are changing the way we deliver content.”

The digital delivery of learning materials and resources offers students the option of learning the way they prefer. “Students have access to what is being taught on any given day, seven days a week,” Sanchez explained. “Whether they are absent, on a field trip or miss a class for any reason, they can go and see what was taught in class that day and find out about assignments.”

Training and professional development for teachers and principals at the pilot schools on how to use the HUB for instruction and engagement with their students will continue throughout the school year. A robust schedule of Saturday, after school, online, and whole group training sessions is being planned for the fall and spring semesters.

“Once they [the teachers] get in and start working with it, they will see the potential,” said Donna Johnston, secondary teacher development specialist. “They will see how it’s really going to help us change, and not make us work harder, but make us work smarter as we are better able to address the needs of our students.”

Teachers outside the 48 K-12 pilot schools will also be using the HUB this school year in a limited capacity. The HUB will give them access to the district’s curriculum and a variety of district applications, as well as nearly two dozen third-party applications and outside digital resources.