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Representing 73 districts, 33 states, and 3.2 million students, the League of Innovative Schools is a coalition of education leaders use their collective voice to advance positive change in public education, as exhibited by a powerful series of TED talks delivered this April.

Every speaker who took the stage talked about how students in this country deserve the highest quality education, rich with learning experiences that challenge them and opportunities to develop skills that prepare them for a future we can’t foresee. They shared worries and observations about the flaws of today’s educational system; but more importantly, they shared the work they’ve done to improve the educational experience for the students they serve.

The founder of Qualcomm, Dr. Irwin Jacobs, said at the TEDx event that “the ability to reexamine, question, and move forward in a different direction is key to innovation,” a point that every speaker’s TED talk also emphasized. Speakers proposed rethinking education by setting an inclusive vision that puts teachers and students first, encouraging students to showcase their work, leveraging the power of technology to improve student outcomes, and investing in the potential of every student.

 

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Setting an inclusive vision that puts teachers and students first

Mark Ray, Chief Digital Officer of Vancouver Public Schools, spoke of transforming the role of librarians in his district to support students in becoming “future ready.” Through the vision of the district, librarians are deeply integrated in the learning experiences of students.

Katie Martin, Director of Professional Learning at the University of San Diego Mobile Technology Center, delivered a talk about teachers needing a shared vision of teaching and learning to create deeper learning opportunities, which is not always the case in school systems.

Pam Moran, Superintendent of Albemarle County Public Schools, emphasized the importance of “saying yes,” and empowering both educators and students to pursue their passions.

Ann Linson, Superintendent of East Noble School Corporation, shared how she refused to let a small group of naysayers stop her from rolling out a 1:1 program that provided devices to students who never had them before.

 

Mike Nagler_TED

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Providing opportunities for students to showcase their work

Lynn Crockett, LEGOLAND California Education Manager, spoke of turning “homework into teamwork” through LEGO Leagues, where students collaborate, create, and develop crucial life skills.

Mike Nagler, Superintendent of Mineola Union Free School District, shared the work his school district has done in creating electronic student portfolios, which allow for a broader assessment of student learning.

David Miyashiro, Superintendent of Cajon Valley Union School District, showcased the power TED-ED has had in his district, where students are empowered to share their ideas on a globally broadcasted platform.

 

Matt Miller_TED

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Leveraging the power of technology to improve student outcomes

Darryl Adams, Superintendent of Coachella Valley Unified School District, shared how Coachella Valley has closed the digital learning gap by providing iPads to every student and deploying school buses with Wifi routers to connect students to the Internet while at home.

Joseph South, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, described how technology can create confidence in students and can level the playing field for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Matt Miller, Superintendent of Mentor Public Schools, demonstrated the importance of ditching traditional textbooks in favor of open educational resources and giving teachers the time to cultivate, curate, and find the best resources for their students.

 

David Miyashiro and Devin Vodicka_TED

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Investing in the individual, personal potential of every student

Steve Regur, Founder and CEO of Educators Cooperative, Inc., proposed the idea of learning networks of diverse stakeholders for all students so they may benefit and leverage resources outside of their own classroom, reimagining the role of teacher as an activator of learning.

Devin Vodicka, Superintendent of Vista Unified School District, spoke of the journey his district has taken to prioritize a personalized learning framework for all students.

Andrew Svehuag, Founder and CEO of Code to the Future, shared his belief that elementary schools should teach Java, as well as how he is actively working to equip more schools with that capacity.

New videos will be released each week, and added to the TEDxElCajonSalon event playlist. Follow Digital Promise on Twitter to stay updated on their release.

 

 

A special thanks to our TEDx@ElCajonSalon co-hosts Cajon Valley Union School District and Vista Unified School District, and corporate partners, meeting sponsors, and local sponsors for their support in making this event possible.


About Sara Schapiro

Sara is the Director of the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools. You can follow her on Twitter at @sschappy.

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