The U.S. Department of Education is kicking off this week a series of regional gatherings intended to help school district leaders develop cross-departmental plans to support digital learning.
The first “Future Ready Regional Summit” will be held in Raleigh, N.C. beginning Wednesday.
“The big picture of the summits is district teams coming together and saying, ‘Help us to leave with a good plan for how we can power teaching and learning with technology,’” said Zac Chase, a ConnectED fellow with the department, in an interview.
More than 1,600 district leaders have so far signed the department’s “Future Ready District Pledge,” which includes a series of commitments around using technology and digital content to change teaching and learning, providing schools with high-speed broadband connections and personal computing devices, and improving technology-related teacher professional development.
Chase said the summits are designed to “create a conversation” among district teams, including cabinet members who might not often collaborate on technology-related issues. More than 1,000 participants from 225 districts have registered to participate so far, according to the department.
The summits are being sponsored by the LEAD (Leading Education to Advance Digital) Commission, formed in 2012 at the behest of the U.S. education department and the Federal Communications Commission.
A list of posted objectives includes reviewing the “essential characteristics of ‘Future Ready Schools,’” conducting a self-assessment, “connecting with local and national experts in a ‘genius bar’ format,” and networking and building collaborative relationships.
Here’s the complete list of upcoming summits:
- February 11-12: Raleigh, N.C.
- February 17-18: Vancouver, Wash.
- March 2-3: Baltimore
- March 25-26: Atlanta
- April 13-14: Phoenix
- April 21-22: Providence, R.I.
- April 28-29: St. Louis
- May 4-5: San Francisco
- June 11-12: Denver
- June 15-16: Chicago
- June 22-23: Pittsburgh
- TBD: Dallas
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.