digital learning

Makerspaces: Learning Through Play at Portage High School 

Guest post by Robin Kvalo

As the principal of Portage High School, the term “makerspace” came into my world when I brought Naomi Harm, innovative educator consultant, to Portage High School for staff development workshops. Initially, I wasn’t sure where makerspaces would fit in a high school. However, after attending Naomi’s makerspace workshop Make Room for Makerspaces at the School Leaders Advancing Technology in Education (SLATE) convention in Wisconsin, I was hooked.  (more…)

Yesterday’s Video Gamers Are Today’s Engaged Learners

Guest post by Kathryn Procope

 

Whether it’s Madden NFL 17 and Call of Duty or Candy Crush and Words with Friends, both kids and adults today are spending countless hours playing video games. This time is generally regarded as unproductive or, worse yet, detrimental to one’s well-being.  (more…)

Progress Made on Closing the Digital Divide

As all principals know, changes in how the world connects has made a significant impact on the way we organize school records, communicate with parents, and collaborate with other educators. But it has perhaps most greatly affected how students conduct research and complete group projects and other school assignments, which puts students who don’t have broadband internet at home at a great disadvantage. Many are calling this new digital divide the “homework gap,” and ultimately it can impact their academic success.

As a member of the Education and Library Networks Coalition (EdLiNC), NASSP previously submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (more…)

Congress Considers Bill to Tackle the Homework Gap

Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT) and David McKinley (R-WV) recently introduced the Digital Learning Equity Act (H.R. 3582) to ensure students and their families have broadband Internet access in their homes. A companion bill, The Digital Learning Equity Act of 2015 (S. 1606), was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Angus King (I-ME) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). This bill will help provide students and their families with equitable access to the Internet at home to support family engagement in their child’s education and will allow students to accomplish essential tasks such as completing their homework, applying for colleges, and seeking post-graduation employment.

According to a letter of support sent to House Energy and Commerce Committee leadership by education groups (including NASSP and NAESP), the bill: (more…)

Attend Ignite and Spark Your Digital Discoveries

Let’s say this summer you’ve made a commitment to consider new opportunities to increase student engagement and lower disciplinary incidents. Or maybe you’ve pledged to develop a program that empowers students to be the navigators of their learning destinies. Your solutions may lie in adopting an innovative digital initiative—a program that meets students, so often referred to as today’s digital natives, where they are.

For inspiration, come to Ignite ’16 in Orlando, FL, and learn from NASSP’s 2016 Digital Principal Award winners. (Nominations and applications are available now for the 2016 Digital Principals program.) Taking a page from the experience of NASSP’s 2015 Digital Principals—John Bernia, James Richardson, and Bill Ziegler—who presented an Ignite ’15 panel discussion, technological innovation in schools can be the key to achieving these goals.

John Bernia (@MrBernia) served on a committee in his Oakland Township, MI, district to create a Bring Your Own Device policy. This principal of Oakview Middle School was so committed to classroom technology integration that he freed up classroom teachers by using substitutes in order to have a series of daytime staff meetings called “The Big Think.” (more…)

How Are You Recharging This Summer?

Guest post by Dr. Bill Ziegler, a 2015 NASSP Digital Principal who presented at the Ignite ’15 conference and will attend Ignite ’16.

Summer is a great time for principals to reflect on the past year and prepare for the upcoming school year. Consider grouping your summer break so that you can take advantage of opportunities to vacate, relate, innovate, and invigorate.

Vacate—as in vacation. Summer is the perfect time to refresh and reenergize for the new school year. When you go on vacation, be sure to leave the school cell phone and laptop in the hotel room or, even better yet, at home. Taking a break from school will make you stronger in the long run.

Relate—I use the summer to build my relationships with principals, teachers, friends, and most importantly, my family. I really enjoy having lunch with different principals to learn what other school leaders are doing and how they are working to improve their school. (more…)

A Leader’s Resolution: Professional Fitness in the New Year

Guest post by Jared Wastler, assistant principal, Liberty High School, Eldersburg, MD

It is that time of year again­—time to set resolutions for the New Year. Eating healthier? Using technology less? Exercising more? Those are the popular ones. However, this year I challenge you to consider a different type of resolution. My challenge to each and every one of you is to resolve to become more professionally fit.

Professional fitness does not refer to how many stairs you can climb throughout your building during the day or the number of steps you take during bus and lunch duty. Instead, professional fitness refers to your aptitude as a continual learner. Ignite ’15 Thought Leader Michael Fullan uses a key term in his book The Principal: Three Keys to Maximizing Impact: lead learner. (more…)