Ron Fortunato of America Bridge points to a sensor array as he explains to Ketchikan High School students how it is used to forecast earthquakes.
The Consortium for Digital Learning has partnered with The America Bridge Project to offer Alaska school districts a variety of STEM-based programs that enable students to contribute in meaningful ways to real-world projects impacting their communities.
One project, the Global Earthquake Forecasting System, has teamed NASA researchers with high school students in Ketchikan, Kodiak and Old Harbor. Using new cutting edge sensing instruments, the students collect and analyze data used to detect early signals that occur prior to an actual earthquake event. Their findings are then reported to NASA project managers.
“NASA is pushing the students hard to produce those reports, because they’re basically the first live, pre-earthquake data that’s ever been seen,” said Ron Fortunato of America Bridge, an education outreach organization that connects NASA scientists with student researchers.
Native cultures across Alaska are actively working to preserve and revitalize the state’s 20 official indigenous languages to improve literacy for future generations. Some of these languages have fewer than 100 fluent speakers left, many of them elderly, which adds urgency to these efforts.
Since 2012 the Association of Alaska School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning has assisted with the coordination, production and distribution of 15 interactive digital books in multiple Alaska Native languages, including Alutiiq, Cup’ik, Inupiaq and Yup’ik.
Last year, my school rolled out iPads for every student, and with the transition to Common Core, it was the perfect time for a massive curriculum shakeup. I’m lucky that my department gave me ample time to start working on this process. Simultaneously, I started experimenting with Genius Hour for my 8th grade students. Genius Hour equated to one hour a week, or one class day, where I let the students become experts in anything they wanted. This allowed them to explore their passions, and I saw engagement like never before. All of these things coalesced into a different mindset for me as a teacher. I’m nowhere near a full personalized education model, but I’m keeping the student-centered approach in the forefront as I continue this process.
So what are the essentials of personalized education, and how does something like Genius Hour play a role? (more…)
Three high school students from Alaska have been chosen as recipients of the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarship for the 2014-15 academic year. Mary Pingayak and Kyla Fermoyle, both from Chevak, and Martina May Brown from Ketchikan, were chosen from more than 52,000 applicants nationally. They will each receive an all-expense paid education at the college of their choice. Only 1000 recipients are chosen annually from around the nation to receive the scholarship.
To prepare for supporting these students throughout the rigorous application process, their advisor/mentors Jeanne Campbell of Chevak, and Robert McClory and Natasha O’Brien of Ketchikan, each attended a four-day Talk Story, Write Story personal essay workshop facilitated by co-directors Tad Bartimus and Dean Wariner. The workshops were sponsored by the Association of Alaska School Board’s Consortium for Digital Learning.
Talk Story, Write Story is a writing workshop developed over the past 14 years in a small, rural, isolated community in high poverty to help students write profound essays that have gained them college admittance and millions of dollars in scholarship money, including coveted Gates Millennium Scholarships.
These intensive 3-day workshops are being offered to Alaska teachers and counselors to enhance their professional life and benefit the students they work with, who dream of going to college. Veteran journalists Tad Bartimus and Dean Wariner bring energy and enthusiasm to their workshops with the ultimate goal of student success.
Talk Story, Write Story workshops will be held in:
April 24 – 27, 2014
Information and registration here.
May 1 – 4, 2014
Information and registration here.
Cost: $75 for three credit hours
$100 for food reimbursement
More information about Talk Story, Write Story is here.
AASB Consortium for Digital Learning Director Dr. Bob Whicker was recently interviewed about the Alaska 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative by Capitol Views program host Mike Bradner.
During the interview Dr. Whicker explained that the AASB statewide initiative would expand Consortium for Digital Learning 1:1 pilot projects, now present in over 120 schools, to include every student and teacher in every district (137,300 users) in a four-year phased approach. Funding would be used to provide appropriate digital devices for students and teachers, along with adequate professional development and technical support.
The Alaska 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative is designed to accelerate, amplify, and personalize learning. Tablet devices have comprehensive capabilities and make learning with technology less expensive and much easier. Having a dedicated device available to every student any time they need it allows them to become more engaged, independent learners by addressing individual needs more effectively.
When the school supplies the device, teachers can count on a consistent learning environment to create a richer and more personalized learning experience. Basic skills can be addressed in more effective teaching strategies, and deeper learning is possible through engaging interactive learning opportunities. (more…)
KODIAK, Alaska — Soon, Kodiak teachers will be able to roll into classrooms on two wheels.
The Kodiak Island Borough School District has purchased 12 telepresence robots to expand the district’s virtual learning program. Instead of being tied to a webcam attached to a computer, teachers can use the robots to move around a classroom and communicate through an attached iPad.
“What’s amazing is how fast people move past it being a robot,” schools superintendent Stewart McDonald said. “It’s not a robot, it’s you. You get to be in more than one place.”
AASB Consortium for Digital Learning Director Bob Whicker provided the Sitka Chamber of Commerce with an overview of the Alaska 1:1 Initiative and ways it can improve teaching and learning. Read the full story and listen to the KCAW radio report here.
CDL Director Bob Whicker and AASB board president Sue Hull spoke about the 1:1 digital learning initiative at the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon yesterday. Whicker and Hull told chamber members that a 1:1 program in Alaska would be transformative, improve learning outcomes, and meet the expectations of new generations of students.
Read the Fairbanks Daily News Miner coverage here.
Consortium for Digital Learning (CDL) Director Dr. Bob Whicker was interviewed on the Channel 2 News Hour about how a statewide 1:1 digital learning initiative can pivot Alaska’s education system by improving student achievement and creating new efficiencies and cost savings for instructional content, teacher professional development and technical support services.