Technology is an essential component of learning today. With digital applications, tools and resources, students can create content, interact with experts, collaborate with peers and participate in simulation activities. Personalized experiences put students at the center of learning and empowers students to take control of their own learning through flexibility and choice. With this transformation to digital learning, it is important for stakeholders share the importance of moving towards digital learning with constituents, as well as address some of the concerns that occur during the transformation. This section provides communication toolkits for a variety of stakeholders. We encourage states and districts to share these toolkits widely. Each toolkit includes a 3-5 page narrative, a powerpoint presentation, and a communications packet.
- Business Community
- School Board
- Students Superintendents
- Teacher Prep
School BoardAs schools move towards digital learning environments, it is necessary to foster support beyond district and school leaders to advance the transition. Local school board members, and those serving on the boards of education service agencies or on their state school boards association’s board of directors, play an important leadership role in modernizing educational settings. The local school board, whether elected or appointed, is the link between the school district and the community. The primary mission of the school board is to support student achievement. The National School Boards Association (NSBA) identifies the Key Work of School Boards necessary to ensure that all students achieve at high levels. These five core areas of responsibility for effective governance are: vision, accountability, policy, community leadership, and board/superintendent relationships. The following principles of collaborative leadership and community partnerships identify ways that school board members can connect policies and practices to support the movement towards digital learning. Although, the current state of digital innovation in schools varies widely across the country, these principles are based on the belief that all students have access to the digital tools and resources necessary to be prepared for college and/or career.
I am worried about who has access to my child’s information and how it might be used. What measures are in place to ensure that information is protected?Those concerns fall into two distinct categories of privacy and security; first, the privacy policies that govern who is entitled to access information about a student and two, the technical security measures utilized by the district to minimize data breaches from outside attacks. Districts face the same challenges as other agencies and businesses that are charged with protecting the data of both staff and students from outside attacks. Board members are encouraged to learn about their own district’s preventive measures to provide security and to encourage the proactive development of a crisis management plan should a data breech occur. Knowledge of that information can help ease concerns.
How can school members support district and school leaders in the transition to digital learning?The support of local and regional school board members is essential for superintendents and school leaders to effectively implement digital learning. NSBA identifies the core skills that effective school boards need to ensure student achievement, one of which is the relationship between the school boards and the superintendent. NSBA asserts that both the school board and the superintendent have essential leadership roles that are interconnected but different. Through collaborative leadership, school boards have an excellent opportunity to support the transition to digital learning environments. Board policies and budget decisions can greatly impact learning opportunities–from decisions to providing Wi-Fi campus-wide or on buses to identifying resources for a district provided device program. NSBA addresses effective collaboration between stakeholders in their College and Career Toolkit, as well as, On the Same Page 2.0, a guide for the design and implementation of a teaching and learning environment. The guide is intended to spark conversation and suggestions among stakeholders and emphasizes the importance of information flow for continuous improvement and ownership by all stakeholders. Learn more about the school board and superintendent relationship.
What steps can board members take to engage the community and create awareness around the benefits of learning in a digital environment?School board members are community leaders, working to develop strong relationships with other community members to ensure that all stakeholders are vested in successful schools. Through advocacy and strategic community engagement, school boards can generate public and parental support for digital learning. As districts and schools transition to digital, school board members can be effective allies to increase community awareness about the successful impact digital learning can have on student achievement and college and career readiness. School board members can meet and work with local business leaders to:
- Learn about what workforce skills they need
- Provide information about how technology based learning opportunities can help support these workforce goals
- Connect with local area businesses on purchasing and funding options
- Gain insight from industry experts
School board members discuss the positive impacts of adopting college and career ready standards to better prepare students for the future.
PrincipalsAs schools move towards digital learning environments, it is necessary to foster leadership at the school level to support the transition. Principals play an important leadership role not just in modernizing educational settings, but in re-imagining the use of space and school time to provide students a consistently personalized, technology-rich learning experience. Principals are uniquely positioned at the intersection of education practice and policy to advance that transformation. Working with local and regional school boards, superintendents, teachers, students and community members is essential to the effective implementation of digital learning in schools. Specifically, principals interact with the superintendent and school board to understand policies and practices, as well as new initiatives within the district. Principals are often the face of the school in the community – working with local businesses and libraries and other community organizations on a variety of issues. And, most important for promoting a vision of student empowerment, principals lead and provide professional learning opportunities to teachers to support their instruction, development their leadership and—ultimately–advance student learning. Some of the key areas of concern that principals might encounter as they implement digital learning in their school include professional learning and community partnerships.
How can digital tools support my teachers in acquiring professional learning opportunities?
How can principals educate the community on learning in the digital age? How can principals create partnerships with the community to support academic and extracurricular activities?
Impact of the Principal on School Culture and ClimateThis video presents interviews of teachers from Caldwell Early College High School about the impact of the principal on the climate and culture of a school.
ParentsAs schools move towards digital learning environments, it is necessary to foster parental support to advance the transition. District and school leaders need to educate parents on the benefits of digital learning to support personalized student learning, while addressing some of the parental concerns around digital citizenship, data privacy and security and the homework gap. National parent organizations may want to share this toolkit with members to explain the importance of moving towards digital learning and addressing some of the parental concerns as a district or school implements digital learning. Some of the key areas of concern that parents/care providers might express about learning in the digital age include the use of digital instructional materials, digital citizenship, student data privacy and security and the homework gap.
I don’t know what online resources to choose to help my children with homework. When I search the internet, there are so many choices.
How do I know that my child knows how to use the internet and digital resources responsibly? What resources are available for parents?Students can learn how to use technology through a positive school culture that supports the safe and responsible use of digital tools and resources. Teachers, librarians and counselors are a good resource for students to learn about digital citizenship and how to navigate issues of cyberbullying, internet safety, digital footprint and other digital concerns.
My child requires access to the internet outside of school. Our internet is slow and unreliable. What can we do?
I am worried about who has access to my child’s information and how it might be used. What measures are in place to ensure information is protected?
Good Digital ParentingIn this short video by the Family Online Safety Institute, teens help parents to understand, discuss and encourage the use online privacy settings for their children.