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School boards collaborate on tech best practices

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  • | 4:00 a.m. August 27, 2014
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Local school boards collaborated to discover best practices in technology and teaching Common Core during a special meeting Aug. 13.

Charlotte, Manatee and Sarasota school board members met at the Polo Grill and Bar to discuss successful methods both in the classroom, through the incorporation of tablets, iPads and laptops, and outside the classroom, such as health care plans and benefits for school employees.

The Manatee County School District spearheaded discussions on how recent purchases, such as Lenovo ThinkPad Twist, have helped align technology initiatives and better prepare students for assessments.

Students who will utilize the technology will be able to answer questions on the device, participate in classroom assignments and activities, conduct online research and use the technology for group activities.

To Manatee Superintendent Rick Mills, the ThinkPads were an investment into the district’s new strategic plan, he said, which says in goal six that instruction improves by incorporating innovation and technology into the classroom.

Deputy Superintendent of Instruction Diana Green also stressed the importance of ensuring students receive daily reading and writing lessons and fifth-grade students have daily typing exercises to boost their technology skills.

The switch to more activities on laptops and other systems won’t be immediate, however.

“Kids won’t be answering questions on tablets on day one,” Green said. “That won’t be happening right away; it’s something we’re still working on.”

Although technology tools are instrumental to the classroom, the Sarasota County School District has focused more on educating parents on what the students will be expected to know this school year to fulfill state standards, Sarasota schools Superintendent Lori White said.

Teachers have been posting assignments and other standards information on their websites in hopes of educating families on the increased rigor of their child’s upcoming school year.

“Using the online tools, such as websites, shows teachers and parents what students need to know,” White said. “Teachers are posting tools on their websites to keep parents involved, while still grappling with finding the right resources and relearning how to teach because of how children will be assessed — those aren’t easy things to do.”

Contact Amanda Sebastiano at [email protected]



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