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.
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Moving Beyond Pockets of Excellence: Understanding High-Quality Use
In my previous blog post I shared strategies for speeding up your technology adoption, an objective so many educators and education technology leaders share. Having a speedy adoption is fantastic, provided it results in high-quality use!
To understand what high-quality use looks like, I often cite the Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, which describes what it takes to teach effectively with technology as “…the ability to interconnect content with high-yield instructional strategies and having enough technology knowledge to determine how best to integrate it within that context.”
The “interconnecting” piece is key, and it’s important to note that not everyone can make these connections on their own. Just because someone is strong with their content and their pedagogical and technological knowledge, this doesn’t mean they will be able to interconnect all three. Education technology users often need others to model and provide subject- and grade-relevant examples that demonstrate this interconnection.
This is why Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) and content repositories like the SMART Exchange are critical components of a professional learning plan. TPACK also reminds us to spend time developing our knowledge in all three areas rather than focusing our attention on just one or two. It’s unfortunate that teachers with strong technology skills often get praise and attention, while those with strong content-pedagogy skills often feel passed over. By prioritizing content and pedagogical skills alongside technological ones, schools and districts will establish an environment conducive to effective technology use.
Knowing what high-quality use looks like is the first step in the process of achieving it. In my next post, we’ll look at strategies for defining a path to get there.
Giancarlo has over 17 years’ experience working in education technology in K-12 and university environments. His areas of expertise include education policy, classroom practice, training and professional development, education research and technology implementation. As SMART’s Global Education Strategist, Giancarlo engages with thought leaders, researchers and policy organizations to gain further insight on trends in the K-12 education space.
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