The Vail Unified School District in Vail, Ariz., received the International Society for Technology in Education’s Sylvia Charp District Award last week, one of several honors doled out to districts, teachers, ed-tech professionals, and school leaders by ISTE during the past week.
The 10,000-student district was recognized for its Beyond Textbooks initiative that uses a wiki to host digital curriculum and other resources at a site accessible by all faculty members. The project, designed to help the district conserve and more efficiently focus resources as it grew nearly three-fold in enrollment during the past 10 years, has expanded to 26 other Arizona districts.
Vail also drew national attention with a separate initiative to outfit several school buses with wireless Internet.
Other winners honored by ISTE included:
•Public Policy Advocate Award:
Becky Fisher, Albemarle Public School District, Charlottesville, Va.
Fisher, the director of education technology and professional development for the 13,000-student district, was recognized for her role in working with the Virginia state legislature to implement a requirement that every state school division have an instructional technology coach.
• Public Policy Trendsetter of the Year:
Mike Walker, Edina Public Schools, Edina, Minn.
Walker, the technology integration specialist for the 8,000-student district, was cited for his use of social networking, particularly his blog and Twitter account, to heighten awareness about school funding issues, as well as work on several initiatives to use technology to expand learning initiatives, develop modern workplace skills, raise science scores, and streamline district resources.
• Outstanding Leader Award
Monica Beglau, eMINTS National Center, University of Missouri-Columbia
Belgau, the executive director of the center, which offers professional development programs created by and for educators, was nominated by the Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis for her collaborative and adaptive skills.
• Outstanding Teacher Award
Bijal Damani, The Galaxy Education System, Rajkot, Gujarat, India
Damani, a higher secondary teacher in the the western Indian city of roughly 1.3 million people, was recognized for her use of technology and social media in the classroom, including the creation of the Galaxy Bazaar social entrepreneurship project now run by her students.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.