The focus of the new three is a revolution in communication and transparency for our learners and our parents. We hope to take the secret out of what happens in school each day and effectively put to rest the dreaded question: “What did you learn in school today?” When I was in high school, the answer I gave to my parents was, simply, “Nothing.” My parents had no easy way to prove otherwise; the conversation stopped there. Today, we believe those days are numbered, due to technology.
Here’s how three technologies are helping us envision a new future in transparency between school and home.
- Student Information System (SIS) – We have always had an SIS in schools, whether hard copy or electronic. This is where we keep your home address and contact information, along with any number of other data points such as report cards, health information, and academic performance. SIS systems today have the ability to include additional items such as your cafeteria balance, number and type of health room visits, and attendance information. You can update your own contact information through an SIS and pick which phone number of yours will receive the two-hour delay “snow call.” Technology empowers you to log in to one system and manage all this information with the click of a button.
- Learning Management System (LMS) – An LMS is an electronic software application where teachers place content, standards, links, worksheets, and assignments for their learners. If you think back to recent years and/or your own college experiences, you probably submitted your assignments in Blackboard or some similar LMS software. We use Schoology across the District as our LMS and provide learners and their parents with more information than ever before about what their child learns each day. Parents and guardians can use it as a window into their children’s classrooms, and even obtain notifications of when assignments have been submitted, if they are late, and what impact this has on their child’s experience in a course. Schoology removes the possibility of a learner simply answering “Nothing” when asked that question, making it easier than ever for parents/guardians to engage with their children about school.
- Global Positioning System (GPS) – Most of us are familiar with the acronym “GPS,” thanks to the evolution of the navigational systems in our cars, and their emergence as smartphone apps. When a GPS receiver locks onto at least three satellites, you can calculate latitude and longitude. When the receiver locks onto 4 or more satellites, you can determine the user’s 3-D position, including altitude and other measures such as speed, bearing, trip distance and distance to destination. The Central Experience consists of 13 years (kindergarten to graduation). How then, can we use the science of a GPS system to dial in to a learner’s journey through our school system? How can we leverage technology to tell our learners, “You are Here!,” monitor the speed in which learners master concepts and or a subject, and forecast where learners most likely will be headed tomorrow and in the months (or years) ahead?