Warren on Back to School: Better Needs Evaluation, The Role of Struggle
Warren Barkley may have contributed to making WiFi a global standard and is leading our technology vision as SMART’s CTO, but his K-12 experience may surprise you. Thanks for sharing this personal reflection, Warren! I challenge our blog readers to share their own personal K-12 school reflections — how does your personal experience with school inform your role as an educator? We welcome you to share with us on Twitter or in the comments below. You can find @warrenbarkley on Twitter too.
If you asked my parents, they would have told you that the K-12 education system failed me. My Dad was a huge fan of public education, he was president of the local PTA and started his career as a high school teacher in Canada. As active as my family was with the education system of that time, one of my learning needs still somehow slipped through the cracks. During my first year of my first university degree, I got 3 Fs in the opening term. It turns out I could not write and after some testing, we figured out that I was dyslexic.
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Rafranz Davis: My Road to the White House
Last week, we were thrilled to hear the news that Rafranz Davis has been invited to speak at the White House to present at the Office of Educational Technology’s #FutureReady conference. Rafranz is an active SMART Exemplary Educator (SEE), co-founder of the weekly SMARTee Twitter chats, and a passionate education blogger. In this guest post, Rafranz shares her thoughts as she travels to Washington D.C. to speak about supporting future-ready teaching and learning:
On Wednesday, President Obama is hosting 150 of the nation’s top superintendents at the White House to kick off his ConnectEd initiative, called #FutureReady, which is a detailed plan to get all schools connected with high speed internet access and devices for student learning. This is an important plan, as connected learning has given students across the country the ability to engage in meaningful learning experiences previously unimaginable. The fact of the matter is that while many schools benefit from such access, there are far too many more that do not.
This past summer, during the SMART Exemplary Educator Global Summit, many of us in attendance witnessed an incredible moment when SMART vowed to support a school in South Africa by providing them with school-wide high-speed access. As someone who often takes the “luxury” of connectedness for granted, I was deeply moved and reminded of how much global connectivity is critical to our students’ future success and global readiness.
When I was asked by the Office of Edtech, a division of the Department of Education, to speak at tomorrow’s summit, I was immediately reminded of that moment in Canada and the look on that teacher’s face upon hearing that her classes would be connected, thinking of the opportunities that her students would have. To think that something as seemingly small as WiFi could potentially change a person’s life is a truth that we often forget.
So, tomorrow I will represent my district, my instructional technology department and every global SMARTee that I met this summer as I give an Ignite talk about supporting future ready teaching and learning.
The first step, though, is being connected and tomorrow’s event is an important leap towards accomplishing this for all of our students.
On a personal note, I have to thank SMART for their continued support of educators and ensuring that our voices are heard amidst the technology universe. My journey to the White House was more than likely “ignited” because I gave a little speech at ISTE during the opening Ignites, a trip that would not have happened without the support of SMART.
Rafranz Davis is a Texas educator and an active member of the SMART Exemplary Educator (SEE) community. You can add her to your Twitter PLN at @RafranzDavis. Rafranz is also an education technology trainer, DEN Star, adjunct math professor and mom.
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