What will our educational system look like in a decade? Will there even be physical classrooms? Will school have evolved into some sort of theme park full of interactive technologies and fun learning gadgets?
Technology will certainly play a part in creating the exciting atmospheres that educators seek to provide for their students. Educators and administrators have even taken the conversation about educating our youth to the next level by utilizing social media tools such as Twitter and Edmodo.com to communicate with each other for fresh ways to inspire youth to find their own education intriguing.
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.
Special guest interview with Charlie Kanavel, CEO of The Kanavel Group; former Director, Technology, Campbell Union High School District – Campbell, CA
Mr. Kanavel is CEO of The Kanavel Group, a consulting and services firm focused on technology in government and education. The Kanavel Group specializes in taking clients from “WOW” to “HOW”, merging cutting edge technology with its clients long term strategic objectives.
As the Director of Technology at Campbell Union High School District, he was responsible for notable projects in California and the nation: through the development of on-line hybrid courses using Cisco WebEx, he was the first to deploy them in the California K-12 education space. Working with Sony Corporation, he was the first to pilot Sony eReaders to replace textbooks in K-12 education nationwide. Mr. Kanavel was also awarded Honorable Mention at Citrix Synergy 2010 for deploying virtualization in education. Formerly Mr. Kanavel distinguished himself in IT and compliance leadership in financial markets worldwide.
Charlie, welcome, and thanks for joining us. In K-12 today, the #1 issue is BYOD. Unlike a full 1:1 rollout where every child gets the same device, under BYOD how do superintendents & IT leaders address the equity divide among students so we ensure all have equal access to the same content?
Thank you for having me join today, Frank. I think for the past 10 years we in education have done a lot to bring technology in education forward into the on-line world. However, we have also made educational resources inside and outside the classroom very broadband and computer-centric. So to have full access to the resources made available by most schools today, you need a computer at home. This digital divide is very real in today’s schools and BYOD as a strategy gives districts a real way to solve this problem.
If you caught Secretary Arne Duncan on the Jon Stewart show back on February 16th, the Secretary reiterated an education theme that has been common over the years for the Obama administration. When pressed by Stewart on how the U.S. Department of Education can help drive innovation in our schools, Duncan answered, the real creative breakthroughs “…need to spring from the local district, superintendents & principals themselves … and not the Washington bureaucracy.”
Enter Itasca Schools — in the very rural outstretches of northeast Minnesota. It’s another example, along with Mooresville Schools in North Carolina, of how local schools and school districts are doing exactly that.