Sunday, February 15, 2015

Learning Strategies From The Fourth Dimension

A small, rural, mostly Title I district located near the Alabama-Tennessee line, Limestone County Schools, under the guidance of Superintendent Dr. Sisk, Technology Director Karen Tucker and Curriculum Director Allison Usery, have been shaking up learning with dynamic results.

Several things attracted me to this rare gem of a school district. First, Limestone County Schools not only talk the talk about school reform and improvement but walk the walk. Allison Usery has not only effectively organized professional development trainings centered around the Learning Focused strategies model but has also embedded Instructional Coaches in each school to assist teachers with applying Learning Focused strategies in their classrooms.  I have seen these strategies put into place and used continuously as each new strategy is learned.  I have seen students embrace the learning strategies and actively use them to improve understanding of learning objectives.   

Second, Limestone County Schools is serious about integrating technology into it's curriculum.  Karen Tucker is leading the way on this front.  Rather than rolling out a 1:1 initiative with little training and no one "in house" for teachers to turn to for guidance, Ms. Tucker insisted that an Instructional Technology Facilitator be embedded in each school to work side by side with teachers to guide them in connecting the device to it's appropriate use in supporting the curricular goals of the school. This, I feel, is a critical and often overlooked component to a well designed 1:1 or BYOD rollout.

Third, Limestone County Schools embodies the word, collaboration.  Digital Passport Initiative teachers, Instructional Coaches and Instructional Technology Facilitators work collaboratively to ensure that all components of Learning Focused four dimensions of exemplary practice are effectively implemented in the classroom.    

Recently, this powerful team of collaborative educators was tasked with creating a video that demonstrated a component of Learning Focused combined with technology in the classroom.  These videos will be used to not only assist new teachers but teachers who will be a part of the four year Digital Passport Initiative rollout.  

The video created by the Elkmont High School Team demonstrates the use of the technology, Kaizena, as a technology tool teachers can use to meet the Learning Focused strategy: Formative Assessment, Feedback and Remediation.   

A plethora of technology tools paired with Learning Focused strategies can be found on the Limestone County School's SchoolTube Channel.

We'd love your feedback, suggestions of more technology-curriculum ties we could implement, and are always looking for opportunities to collaborate with dynamic educators from across the nation.  

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