Duncan Twitter Chat with Educators Spotlights Future-Ready Schools
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Future-ready schools provide learning opportunities for each person — students, teachers, administrators, even maintenance people. They don't "separate subjects [or] limit the time spent on them." They're "resilient, open-minded, collaborative, creatively confident." And students become "content creators, not just consumers." Those were a few of the descriptions offered by chat participants tweeting with Arne Duncan just weeks before he leaves Washington D.C. and his post as U.S. Secretary of Education.
Over the course of an hour the Secretary posted seven questions on twitter using hashtags #ce15 and #edtechchat, as hundreds of educators from around the world offered their responses.
The chat gave visibility to the "Future Ready Schools" initiative. This joint project was introduced nearly a year ago by the U.S. Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education, a policy and advocacy group promoting school reform to improve graduation rates.
The Future Ready initiative encourages school superintendents to sign a pledge to pursue a digital learning transition for their districts that includes such elements as ample bandwidth, professional learning and support for teachers and access to "quality" computing devices and digital content for all students. Since its introduction in November 2014, the pledge has been signed by 1,838 superintendents.
Duncan's questions focused on how to spark "future ready" activity among teachers, schools and school leaders. Responses ranged from the visionary to the pointed to the practical.
The chat also elicited the occasional slam for Department of Ed policies, such as its support for development of Common Core state standards and use of funds to spur school innovation in particular directions.
Duncan recently handed in his resignation, effective in December. He hasn't publicly announced what his next move will be.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.