Evolving and Emerging Through Tech Education

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 Superintendents and other tech educators from across the country who are shaping technology policies and programs are gathering in Napa, Calif., as part of the fall meeting of AASA’s Digital Consortium.

During the three-day meeting, participants will engage in meaningful dialogue with their peers highlighting emerging and successful models of combining digital content and professional development to improve student achievement. This event is sponsored by Discovery Education and the Horace Mann Educators Corporation.

“We are delighted to welcome you,” said Mort Sherman, AASA’s associate executive director and consortium co-facilitator. “This meeting is to give voice to superintendents. We created this opportunity for superintendents.”

Mark Edwards, senior vice president with Discovery Education, served as the evening’s keynote speaker.

“It’s an honor to be with you,” said Edwards, the 2013 AASA National Superintendent of the Year. “There are so many places around the country where we can connect with each other and build on the work that’s going on. Leaders who are evolving and emerging understand the power of collaboration.”

Edwards added, “Every district needs to customize and personalize the work that you’re doing. We are building collaborative expertise.”

Following Edwards’ remarks superintendents Mike Lubelfeld (Ill.), Nick Polyak (Ill.) and AASA past president Amy Sichel (Pa.) participated in a panel discussion focusing on some the challenges facing them in their respective efforts to expand tech education in their districts.

“One of the most challenging pieces to a digital transformation is having it come from the ground up,” said Polyak, who, along with Lubelfeld, are co-moderators of #suptchat, the monthly Twitter chat among superintendents on the first Wednesday of every month. “We’re trying to build that culture of innovation where people are coming to you for permission, not you coming to them and telling them what to do.”

“The challenge for me is to surround myself with the smartest individuals (about high technology), which keeps me moving forward,” said Sichel.

“Through those challenges,” said Edwards, “we will grow taller.”

Napa County Schools is serving as the host district for the Consortium. “As schools make the transformation to digital learning, nothing is more important than sharing best tools and practices,” said Barbara Nemko, Napa County superintendent of schools.

Today, conveners will gather in observer tech education in action during a tour of two schools in the district. Following that, they will review the Consortium's meeting in Chicago earlier this year. Google's Tom Sayer and Kelly Young of Education Reimainged will serve as facilitators.

To join the conversation via Twitter, access #AASA_DigitalConsortium.