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Recently, in a course for my preliminary administrative services credential, we were asked (okay, we were assigned) the following questions: “We ultimately have to understand, as educational leaders, how to apply national and state educational policy to our local settings. Based on your review of the National Education Technology Plan what processes will you use, and what technologies will you choose to be implemented in a school you will lead? Please provide your reasoning for these choices. “
The National Education Technology Plan is a robust and interesting document; you can peruse it here.
Understanding the distinction discussed in the National Education Plan between the digital divide and the digital use divide is a helpful place to begin discussions with learners of all ages to help improve teaching and learning outcomes. My department, 21st Century Learning, is helping develop new learning models, like the hybrid school-within-a-school model we are developing at Century High School and the 6th-9th grade expansion of our dependent charter, Advanced Learning Academy, which is a blended learning, competency-based learning model. In these two examples, we are managing a distributed team of writers who are creating our 9th grade hybrid courses for deployment in the fall of 2017. We rely on a user-centered approach to generate feedback on and iterations of the hybrid learning experiences we design. For example, two of the core tenets of Santa Ana Unified’s personalized learning model are learner profiles and personalized learning plans. Because my team is leading the way to design learning environments that use personalized learning plans and learner profiles, we use them ourselves. I have a digital “professional learning journal” on which I document and track my short term, midterm and long term professional learning goals and these goals are shared with my team. The journal also a learner profile section which also states affirmations of who I am and what I am like; this section also documents my learning preferences and strengths, which are also shared with my team. We use Google Slides to create and share our professional learning journals with each other; the journals are dynamic and grow over time as we record evidence of our learning with written reflections, images or videos which support our efforts. The reasons for this approach – specifically, why use this technology for this purpose – Google Slides to implement our professional learning journals – are values that we embrace for all of our sites and learners: the technology is free, it builds agency as it puts the users in the role of creator, it’s collaborative, it “lives” online, it’s dynamic, and is found outside of education so it helps learners develop skills that transfer.
Based on the discussion of digital divide and digital use divide, because
we own the responsibility to develop our learners (young and adult) in sophisticated, active and creative uses of technology,
we value the principles above as a team of adult learners who are testing out personalized learning approaches – with ourselves and with the students in our hybrid courses.