Leyden is one of many schools that has harnessed the power of social media for the good of students, parents and educators. Check out the #leydenpride hashtag to see what some students are tweeting and instagramming about their school.
This November, I visited Jason's school, East Leyden High School. The Leyden High School District 212 is a 1:1 chromebook district of two high schools with about 3500 students total. Leyden is in its second year of 1:1. Leyden High is an exciting district with many opportunities for students to learn outside of the normal classroom. I first visited the culinary classroom with a kitchen. Students were working with the teacher to prepare the catering for the East Leyden site visit the next day. Students have the opportunity to take the food and safety test necessary for certification in order to work in a restaurant.
Next, I visited several classrooms where I saw students engaged in learning. I visited a Social Studies classroom where students used VideoNot.es to take notes on YouTube videos used in class. I was able to see the Hapara Teacher Dashboard being used in action to manage student engagement with technology. I visited a French classroom where the teacher doled out digital assignments, giving students the opportunity to hear, speak and write in the target language. I visited English classrooms where students were analyzing literature using a Google document. I visited a Math classroom where students were actively problem solving using a calculator, a chromebook and their minds. Every student was working at their own pace. Teachers and students have continuing discussions about the use of technology in instruction. Technology coaches and administrators support teachers in the transition of a digital classroom. Parents and students attend a brief orientation before the student receives a chromebook. Students also take a class on digital literacy within their first semester of receiving the chromebook. Every part of the 1:1 program is a learning experience for all who are stakeholders in the Leyden district.
One of the many takeaways I had from visiting East Leyden is student and teacher voice. Developing the 1:1 program took time. It was a gradual process of equipping each classroom with base-level technology, upgrading the network, training and continually supporting the teachers and, most importantly, continuing communication with those who are actively involved in instruction, whether students, teachers, administrators or parents. They all listen to each other. Listening is a big part of Leyden.
For more of my takeaways from my visit, click here to see a more detailed report.