Tech leaders visit HISD to see digital conversion

Digital curriculum efforts showcased at three-day conference

Technology leaders from schools districts throughout Texas and the U.S. traveled to Houston Oct. 14–16 to get a firsthand look at HISD’s digital transformation efforts — including the conversion of curriculum and the launch of the HUB, the district’s new online teaching and learning platform.

The visit was part of the Teaming for Transformation conference sponsored by the Consortium for School Networking, also known as COSN. HISD is a member of COSN and was asked to host the event because of its efforts with PowerUp, a comprehensive initiative aimed at digitally transforming teaching and learning across the district.

Several HISD leaders, including Superintendent Terry Grier and Chief Technology Officer Lenny Schad, presented at the conference. Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Officer Annie Wolfe showcased the curriculum side of HISD’s digital transformation. HISD teachers not only access all district curriculum through the HUB, they can also use master courses created by the Curriculum and Instruction Department in partnership with the district’s most effective teachers.

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As a part of the visit, the group toured several high school campuses to see how one-to-one student laptop distribution can impact classroom instruction when combined with an online learning platform. During a tour of Sharpstown High School, for instance, the group watched students use the HUB to review assignments, conduct research, take tests and quizzes, collaborate with their peers, and access district-approved digital tools.

“Our digital conversion is not about handing out laptops,” said Wolfe. “It’s about building and advancing a culture of instruction with digital tools and resources so our students are not only engaged and exposed to rigor, but have a voice and a choice when it comes to their learning.”