A big part of creating that vision is having strong leadership at all levels. A district superintendent who sees the value in a model will help remove old policies that inhibit the work.
A strong leader will remove barriers, support professional development for teachers, celebrate successes and help move past challenges.
2. ONE SIZE DOES NOT FIT ALL.
There’s no one best way to integrate digital learning into a classroom. If the vision, goals and desired outcomes are clear, there’s lots of room to experiment with what works best. It will depend on the student population and needs; some schools are dealing with vastly different kinds of student populations, while others may be trying to transition to a project-based learning model.
3. DON’T LET SOFTWARE DICTATE LEARNING GOALS.
The tools are slowly improving, but they aren’t infallible and many are directed at a specific problem and don’t offer a cohesive learning strategy.
4. SUPPORT TEACHERS AND INCLUDE THEM IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESS.
If we consider our educators (Teachers and Administrators) as learners as well as our students, then they would also need to have IEP’s. Maybe we could call their IEP an IGP, an Individual Growth Program? Of course this is a big “what if?”, but as long as we are here let’s look at IGP possibilities. Each educator could help devise an individual plan for growth. It would mean creating a starting point with skills and knowledge already acquired. We would need to consider how much personal time and how much school time could be utilized for each learner. We could spell out the responsibilities and provisions of the district, which will be balanced with the responsibilities and provisions of each educator/learner. We would also need to have a means to assess the growth progress. Certificates are measurements of seat time, so maybe proof of accomplishment from observations might be a better indicator. At least it gives recognition and credence that a brain in action is more important than an ass in a seated position.
Imagine a school with IEP’s for every kid, and IGP’s for every educator making it a truly learning community. Of course the IEP’s for special needs students will continue to be highly regulated according to the laws, but IEP’s for the general population of students need not be as regulated. Of course the IGP’s will also be tailored to each educator/learner, so that any special needs for specific skills, or adjustments in attitude may be specifically addressed. This will require closer relationships, more collegial collaboration and a great deal of support from all stakeholders.