Design the system for e-learning
I was fortunate to discover early on that serving children was my goal, and I was dedicated to providing high quality academic experiences to prepare children for success. I see my goal as my “why” and it determines all of my leadership decisions. My job is to facilitate everything from administration to the classroom that enables our teachers to have great learning experiences with their students. However, in my 33 years as an educator, I had never experienced anything like this before.
One of my favorite quotes comes from W. Edwards Deming, who said: “Every system is perfectly designed to get the result it gets.
Immediately, what we already knew became painfully clear. Our system was not designed for virtual learning. Without adequate technology at home, some students had only a printed learning file and a weekly phone conversation with a teacher.
WATCH NOW: Educators discuss the importance of digital equity in any learning environment.
Accelerated Internet Access Improved Learning Experiences
Others had access problems. Have you ever seen kids with super-fast internet connection laugh at someone whose internet connection was so slow it distorted their speech and video during a video conference? I did, and I’m afraid such classroom experiences will be unhealthy.
We have always known that technology can enhance the learning experiences offered by teachers. That’s why, before the pandemic, our team developed a multi-year master plan to put devices in the hands of every student, kindergarten to grade 12, and to facilitate broadband access to all of our children. families. But in March 2020, we didn’t have years to fix this problem. At best, we’ve had months.
So, driven by this deep “why” of doing better for our students, we accelerated this work. We bought 37,000 new devices in six months. We immediately and diligently sought out quality short and long term broadband solutions for our students.
We purchased mobile hotspots and installed wireless towers on school campuses. We also became the first school district in the country to collaborate with Star link, the satellite Internet service developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, to provide high-speed access in remote areas. Additionally, we formed the ConnEctor Task Force, a group of community leaders and elected officials, to research and deliver a long-term broadband solution for our entire community.
RELATED: Kindergarten to Grade 12 leaders can work with local government to design connectivity solutions.
Ector County ISD is better equipped for virtual education
Going back to that quote from Deming, we know that when the pandemic happened we weren’t perfectly designed to educate our students in a virtual environment. But a lot has happened in a year.
Today, every student has a device, and almost every family has high-speed home Internet access. Today we have implemented a learning management system and our teachers are much better equipped to use technological tools effectively. Today, we can provide a strong virtual learning experience for ISD students in Ector County.
The pandemic has challenged and shaped each of us like never before. Education and educators will probably never be the same again. But whatever the circumstances, having a clear and powerful “why” – a vision that guides you forward – is an essential first step in weathering any storm.