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Texas District Expanding Use of Online Teaching Platform

A school district in Texas is broadening its use of a Web-based platform for managing math and English instruction. It tested the platform,Time To Know, last year as part of a 1:1 computing experiment in four elementary school classrooms.

Grand Prairie Independent School District launched its 1:1 initiative in the 2009-2010 school year in two classes at Austin Elementary School and two classes in Whitt Elementary School. Beginning this year, the district is expanding the program to all fourth- and fifth-grade classes at those two schools for use in math and language arts.

Time To Know is a digital teaching platform that provides an interactive core curriculum targeted toward grades 4 and 5, as well as collaborative tools designed to support group activities and discussions; various summative and formative assessment capabilities; interactive lesson planning with content previews; and a range of real-time classroom management utilities.

"Placing curriculum software in the classroom or even a computer in the hands of every student is only one step toward truly changing teaching and learning," said Susan Simpson, Grand Prairie ISD superintendent, in a written statement released earlier this month. "What's unique about the Time To Know digital teaching platform is that it enhances the teachers' role as mentor and coach by allowing them to spend less time presenting basic content and more time guiding and advising students. The teacher controls each lesson with real-time tools to manage all classroom activities and deliver an individualized curriculum to each student. By combining the teacher's expertise with the power of 21st century technology tools, we are addressing each student's unique needs and improve the quality of learning for all, as evidenced by students' remarkable gains."

Grand Prairie ISD serves 26,000 students in a 58-square mile area in Dallas County. The district has 25 elementary schools, seven middle schools, two ninth grade schools, and three high schools, as well as other centers and programs.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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