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Creating transformational Digital Age instruction

2013 October 10
by HISD Communications

I had the opportunity this week to speak at the Future@Now Texas summit near Dallas on the topic of preparing Texas students for digital learning, and the timing couldn’t have been better. As a nation, we have a long way to go to implement digital-age instruction in the classroom, but I’m proud of the fact that HISD is out in front, with programs like the PowerUp Initiative, leading the way in the digital transformation that is destined to change an awful lot about how teachers teach and how students learn in the very near future.

The digital revolution is already here in a lot of ways, but big educational institutions by nature can be slow to change, and even skeptical of newfangled ways of doing things. A lot of teachers and principals want more than just an “expert” opinion about how technology is going to revolutionize learning. They want to see it in action, they want to know what they’re getting into, and they want the support and professional development necessary to make sure they’re as ready as their students are to make the most of 21st-century learning.

So that’s what we’re doing. We’re starting PowerUp in 11 schools this year. A handful of those students (at schools like the Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy and the Energy Institute High School) will be issued their laptops starting in the next few weeks, with other campuses following in January. And the teachers at these schools are already training so they can be leaders and examples for their students. Because, in the end, the technology isn’t the ultimate answer — it’s a tool, and it’s how we choose to use it and what we choose to do with it that will make all the difference.

It should come as no surprise to you that 21st-century learning isn’t really the wave of the future – it’s the wave of the present. We’ve been working hard, doing our “digital homework,” and ensuring that we have the necessary supports in place to make this transition work. It’s an experiment, but it’s a controlled experiment, and it has the potential to reap huge rewards for our kids as we seek to prepare them to succeed in a world that’s already here, all around us.

I can’t wait to see what we learn – and how we learn it – as this transformation moves ahead.

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