Promoting systemic change through digital tools

Karon Tarver describes the implementation of interactive whiteboards in a large urban district, and the lessons learned

EDUCATIONAL TRENDS HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO SWING WIDELY in the search for best practice and research-based methodologies that demonstrate potential. The search continues, and today is focused increasingly on digital tools. Terms such as Web 2.0, 21st century skills, learner response systems, and interactive whiteboards are permeating curricula. Associated with the proliferation of digital tools are spiraling demands for sound teaching and learning strategies that produce accelerated results. Phrases such as working “smarter not harder” have long been replaced in education by work “smarter and harder.” As budgets constrict and demands increase, technology continues to be examined by practitioners and researchers alike due to its potential to provide expanded learning opportunities.

What we know
Fort Worth Independent School District (Dr Melody Johnson, Superintendent) researched, identified, and implemented one of the largest interactive whiteboard installations in the U.S. Installing over 5,000 boards in 18 months, the district sought best practice advice from other districts across the country. The advice included:
● Provide continual and transparent communications to all stakeholders.
● Ensure prompt and adequate training.
● Recruit early adopters and use them as change agents.
● Be prepared for exciting side-effects such as increased attendance in training and the desire to have more classroom technologies.

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October 2010