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Georgia School System Aims for Personalized Learning with New Portal

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), a 168,000-student district located in the metropolitan area of Atlanta, GA, is moving forward with a $27.9 million initiative that aims to create a more engaging learning environment through personalized learning and instruction that takes place inside and outside the physical classroom. The digital Content, Learning, Assessment, and Support System (eCLASS) program, which includes a 1-to-1 initiative comprised largely of student-owned devices, is launching this fall with pilot programs in 33 schools.

IBM will be the chief systems integrator for the district's new five-year project, which will pool curriculum and teaching resources as well as assessment, professional development, student data, and grading tools into a single system. The company will supervise the "integration of mobile technology into the classrooms in a device agnostic way," according to a prepared statement.

"Our intent is to better engage with and educate students in 'the world they live in' by incorporating digital content, games, videos, the Internet, and other digital tools," said J. Alvin Wilbanks, superintendent at GCPS. "With the vision of eCLASS now ahead of schedule to be realized, GCPS can serve as a model of how effectively integrating technology into learning can transform education and provide better opportunities for our students as they move onto college and into the workforce, thereby improving our regional and national competitiveness."

The initiative will focus on "teaching and learning; human capital management; student information; statistics and analytics; and communication and collaboration" through the eCLASS portal.

"Our collaboration with GCPS and key partners like Desire2Learn will align data and analytics to truly help teachers and students personalize the learning experience, helping to drive better outcomes," said Michael D. King, vice president for Global Education at IBM. The company's Smarter Planet and Smarter Education products are designed for programs like eCLASS, according to King. "We are thrilled to expand our longstanding partnership with GCPS and help implement the eCLASS vision across the district. The resulting success will be something from which everyone could learn when it comes to transforming schools," he concluded.

Gwinnett County Public Schools, with 123 schools, is the largest school district in the state. The district's fall eCLASS pilots will launch in schools in Archer, Berkmar, Duluth, north Gwinnett, and Shiloh. Additional programs are scheduled to debut in January 2014.

About the Author

Kanoe Namahoe is online editor for 1105 Media's Education Group. She can be reached at knamahoe@1105media.com.

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