Panel Discusses Digital Transition in Portland

Portand Digital Curriculum Tactics Discussion
Tech and Curriculum administrators talk about cross-department collaboration
Cebron Walker, Editor-in-Chief

On a perfect Fall day in Portland, administrators from across Oregon and southern Washington State came together for their Digital Curriculum Tactics Discussion. The day, hosted at Portland State University, began at 8:00 a.m. with a welcome from Dr. David Kafitz, VP School Relations and Digital Transition Specialist of the Learning Counsel.

“We are all in a real chaos of change in education. It includes the fact that the traditional mode of curriculum acquisition has fractured and there are thousands of suppliers—and too many choices,” stated Kafitz. “By survey, teachers are spending upwards of five hours a week just trying to find content to fit the additional changes in standards and testing. In the meantime, technology and digital content collections continue to grow into realms that individual teachers and even I/T Departments can’t hope to keep up with. We are here today to discuss this, to share solutions and information to assist you in your journey.”

Highlights of the day included a presentation from LeiLani Cauthen, the CEO of the Learning Counsel, on where education is headed and the “Consumerization of Learning” to give all a sense of how to cope with changes and expectations in the future. “The worry by some about any software learning being a dehumanizing force and lessoning human interaction, is evidence that educators in that frame of mind may not understand the value it can bring,” stated LeiLani. “It doesn’t discount teachers. In fact, it will demand more teachers. Just in different ways. Possibly part of the worry comes from earlier tech incursions that brought mass confusion. That’s growing pains. That’s initial fumblings. We’re going to a new model and it is time to go all in. The water’s nice.”

A leadership exercise mid-day pointed up the many aspects of digital curriculum and tech adoption and the many considerations to understand during that decision-making process.

Photo Gallery: Portland Discussion

As with all Digital Curriculum Tactics Discussions, the day ended with a panel discussion which included Josh Klein the Chief Information Officer from Portland Public Schools, Zachary Desjarlais the Director of Instructional Technology from Vancouver Public Schools and Corin Richards, the Director of Technology from Forest Grove School District. “Students are living with technology, they shouldn’t have to put it away when they come to school,” stated Josh. “These tools support student agency, they engage the kids in ways that are native to them—that meet them where they are. They want to learn this way so why not support that and use that?”

We’ve included an excerpt above of the panel to share their views on the importance of cross-department collaboration in the journey to digital curriculum transformation.

Twenty-five years in the trenches of news media and marketing. As Editor at the Learning Counsel, Cebron lives in the “eye of the storm” in this rapidly transforming space, reporting on leading schools, innovative administrators and industry which are shaping the future of teaching and learning.