For some, the economic hard times began before the recession hit. McDowell County, an ex-coal mining county in West Virginia, has been in decline since the coal industry began pulling out in the 1960s.
What used to be a town of 120,000 is now barely 22,000 and the county has ranked last in education in the state for most of the past decade. But a new project launched in December is aiming to change all this.
Reconnecting McDowell is a comprehensive, long-term effort to make educational improvement in McDowell County. Under the leadership of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the West Virginia State Board of Education, more than 80 partners from businesses, non-profits, governments and labor have signed a covenant illustrating their commitment to solving McDowell’s hardships by providing services, money, products and/or expertise to schools and students and their families. Read More »
Last week, Education leaders from around the globe flew to the Gulf. We were there to give a public vote of confidence to one of the world’s most ambitious programs of school system transformation at the Transforming Education Summit. The first annual Transforming Education Summit (TES) was conceived by conference host the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Chairman of ADEC. The summit’s vision is “to create a forum for effective transformation leadership and an open dialogue between the leaders of education transformation and their key stakeholders.”
Through a deep investment in teachers and technology, Abu Dhabi plans to turn its under-achieving students into world-beaters. Arab Spring governments have paid a high price for under-investing in young people. Those lessons are not lost on the UAE sheikhs.
Schools, colleges and universities around the world are using video technologies as a fundamental agent in the process of education transformation. A new white paper commissioned by Cisco and conducted by Wainhouse Research concludes:
In concert with global macro-economic changes and the growth of social interconnectedness worldwide, education is undergoing a major shift, as brick-and-mortar classrooms are opening up to rich media content, subject matter experts, and to one another. This shift has been influenced largely by technological and pedagogical trends, greater worldwide access to the Internet, an explosion of mobile phone users, and the appreciation for these technologies by young people, as well as by teachers. Video appears poised to be a major contributor to the shift in the educational landscape, acting as a powerful agent that adds value and enhances the quality of the learning experience.
Back in January, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski challenged schools and companies to get digital textbooks in students’ hands by the year 2017. Prompted by countries like South Korea and Uruguay -- which have made similar moves – the Obama administration is seeking to create momentum on this key topic.
Adam Frankel Opens the League Meeting at Houston ISD
Yet when we look around us, most educators and superintendents in the U.S. are left scratching our collective heads as we witness our glacial progress toward fully deployed digital nationwide learning. Lack of data on “what works”, lack of best practices in district-level leadership, and a splintered procurement process are often cited as three major roadblocks to progress. As mentioned in earlier blogs here, Digital Promise’s newly formed “League of Innovative Schools” is hoping to change all that.