The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

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The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

Katy ISD Awarded for Technological Classroom Innovations at Annual Gathering


On Nov. 15, Katy ISD was awarded for their innovative implementation of technology in classrooms at the Learning Counsel’s Annual Gathering and National Award. The event encompassed 12 leading districts as well as top education executives from around the U.S.

The goal of the Learning Counsel is to offer better resources for the youth across the country, by acknowledging exemplary school and classroom remodeling that pushes innovations in the educational field.  

According to Janell McClure, the Director of Digital and Multimedia Learning from Cobb County School District, the Learning Counsel is helping education leaders chart a course that includes actionable data and current trends. These awards share incredible examples of innovative thinking. The knowledge they have gained at this gathering will guide their work as they continue to strive for excellence in teaching and learning through digital platform, tools, and practices.

The biggest issue schools currently face is to have teachers and classrooms fully transition to a digital learning style. Teachers are having a hard time executing their lessons using software and instead spend most of their time attempting to make it work or testing it.

CEO and Publisher of the Learning Counsel, LeiLani Cauthen, shared that with their Special Reports and the discussions held in every city and at national gatherings, they hope to help define and guide leaders.

Katy ISD was awarded for their advanced work in the creation of Canvas, a single sign-on portal that can be accessed anytime, anywhere, on any device. Rich in its tools for contribution, creativity and problem-solving, the school district was recognized for inspiring students to have voices and take learning in their own hands, using online collaborations, focus groups and real-time digital feedback.

“Katy ISD Technology is always very proud when we receive awards,” said Instructional Technology Director, Darlene Rankin. “We do not take for granted the awards we receive, but on the other hand we work very hard to make content work seamlessly for teachers and students and feel that the awards are justified. The Katy ISD School Board along with Superintendent Dr. Hindt, recognized both the Divisions of Technology and Teaching & Learning for the outstanding accomplishment.”

The concept of Canvas, which was recognized for its efficiency and creative user interface, was to create a one stop, student-filled resource center, where students can communicate with their classmates and teachers outside of class all while easily finding and completing their assignments.

“It’s all about the UI (User Interface) – the better we can make that for the end user, the better off we all are. Each publisher that we subscribe to for content such as: Discovery Education, Brain Pop, and electronic textbooks from a variety of publishers to name a few, wanted our students to go to their platform to gain content. Therefore the student had a different experience when accessing content from one class to the next,” said Rankin. “My goal, which we are still working on, is that the content will all come into our house, Canvas. Then students can have one stop experience.  Students login to Canvas and have all the content, quizzes, discussions, pages, modules, tools, etc. right there.”

Despite their recent achievement, Katy ISD continues working towards reaching greater heights in technological innovations. By moving along with the constant changes of the digital world, the Technology Department is hoping to bring greater value to the learning process. Through the use of big game changers such as YouTube or Amazon, the goal is to create personally designed learning plans that suit one’s individual goals.

“What if you, as a learner, were given recommendations based on learning needs, potential career paths, learning preferences, and interests? I believe the future of technology within the classroom will allow this granularity of recommendations to happen for each learner,” said Rankin. “Furthering teacher understanding of each student is key to learning success for each unique student. But please note, we all need teachers. When reading researchers’ work from across the world, the human relationship between student and teacher is a major key to the success of any individual. Pairing both the teacher’s knowledge about the student along with the technology sets all learners up for huge wins.

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