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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Memories of 2014 and Wishes for the Year to Come
It’s been quite a year for the students, educators, parents and communities we serve. For some, it was a year of global connections and inspiring collaborations. For others, 2014 meant powerful professional development and success in the face of new and difficult challenges. This year, we were proud to see SMART Exemplary Educators travel to education events, to Calgary for our Global SEE Summit, and even to the White House!
From our side, we had a really exciting year, too. We launched SMART amp software and within a few short months, we began hearing amazing stories about how students and teachers were using it to take collaborative learning to a whole new level. We also introduced SMART kapp and were overwhelmed by the positive response it has received so far. We met so many inspiring students, educators, and school and district leaders, and we are thankful for each and every one.
As with any productive reflection, we look back at 2014 not only to remember but to find avenues for improving the year to come. Here are our four greatest wishes for learners young and old in 2015:
- More breakthrough moments: Anyone who devotes their career to education knows the power of moments in which a student absorbs an idea, makes a connection, or has a breakthrough. These are the moments that educators, parents, and those of us in education technology live for. As teachers, administrators and leaders continue to make more of these breakthroughs happen through pedagogy, effective technology use, skill and dedication, we look forward to seeing more of these magic moments than ever before.
- More connected educators: For teachers who seek and enable these breakthrough moments for their students, there is so much to be gained from the coalition, support and shared wisdom of colleagues. For those deeply connected to a wide network of fellow educators as well as those just beginning to reach out, we hope that these connections bring you deeper insights, exciting ideas, and a greater sense of community in 2015.
- More power in students’ hands: Over the past year, one of the things we’ve heard educators get most excited about are the learning opportunities that come from relinquishing control. Some spoke about the incredible engagement that happens when students are given not only a question to answer but the freedom to explore, research and address it in their own way. Others were amazed by students’ level of discourse while working in a self-organized learning environment where they had the freedom to form groups and engage dynamically with their classroom space.
- A safer world for children to learn: For all its inspiring tales of student successes, 2014 also showed us how far we have yet to go in making our world a safe place for all learners around the world. Let’s make 2015 a year in which we come together to protect every child’s right to learn. Let this be the year we listen more, help more and champion a future in which children can walk the hallways of their schools and the streets of their neighborhoods secure in the knowledge that they are loved and protected.
What do you wish most for you and your students in 2015? Let us know in the comments.
To all our friends and fellow learners, we wish you the best of the season and joy in the year to come.
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