DOE Digital Curriculum expands learning, teaching opportunities

28-Feb-2014

Teachers piloting the program, known as Access Learning, widely agree the technology holds tremendous potential to help them save time, organize lessons, collaborate with peers and expand learning opportunities.

DOE educators joined the Access Learning legislative briefing via video conferencing. Clockwise, from top right: Moanalua Middle Principal Lisa Nagamine, Pahoa Elementary Principal Michelle Payne-Arakaki, and Keaau Elementary Principal Chad Farias.

​​​​HONOLULU - The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) today updated House and Senate education committees on the progress of a digital curriculum pilot program launched in summer 2013 at eight public schools. The pilot provides the DOE necessary insight into the impact of technology on teaching and learning, while laying the groundwork for next steps toward technology integration into curriculum and schools.

Last legislative sess
ion, lawmakers approved $8.2 million for the DOE to implement a Hawaii Common Core digital curriculum pilot in the 2013-14 school year. This pilot became known simply as Access Learning.

The funds covered costs for computers for teachers and students, technical support, professional development, and also helped offset expenses associated with curriculum and implementation. Schools have partnered with county police departments to safeguard the computers, all of which are equipped with advanced security tracking software.

Access Learning
has allowed educators and students to explore innovative digital lessons that go beyond textbooks and classroom walls.

For example, Keaau Elementary yesterday conducted a virtual field trip to Honolulu Zoo with University of Hawaii Laboratory School students. A UH Lab student wore a Google Glass to capture and stream video feeds of the zoo to the laptops of Keaau students. Children from both schools will now partner to produce videos and other projects about birds they saw at the zoo.

At Moanalua Middle, principal Lisa Nagamine says
Access Learning has been instrumental to engage students more deeply in their education. Her school’s band students, for instance, have used technology to better visualize and create music, study composers and build connections with their music.

Mililani Waena Principal Dale Castro says his school is focusing on fostering engagement and inquiry by connecting instruction to real-life applications.

Access Learning
has also been adopted at Mililani Mauka, Nanaikapono, Pahoa and Nanakuli elementary schools, and Nanakuli High and Intermediate.

Meanwhile, teachers piloting
Access Learning widely agree the technology holds tremendous potential to help them save time, organize lessons, collaborate with peers and expand learning opportunities, according to preliminary data.

A baseline evaluation study of data collected in October 2013 shows that administrators, teachers and technology coordinators believe the program brings an exciting and important opportunity for students. Among the findings:

  • ​Technology allows educators to more efficiently communicate with colleagues, develop and present lessons. 
  • Integrating technology in instruction can benefit all students –from high-needs to high-achieving children –by providing greater access to learning.
  • Teachers say computers will help them tailor instruction to specific student needs, potentially boosting engagement and achievement.

The report also listed a number of implementation challenges such as the need to provide educators more time, individualized training and support –all areas the DOE continues to address.

“We are pleased and encouraged with the initial success of the program,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “
Access Learning has truly raised excitement among students and educators, opening doors to new, relevant and original learning opportunities.”

The Legislature is considering a $600,000 supplemental budget that would allow for professional development and technology support services that schools have identified as areas of need.

  • Learn more about Access Learning here​.
  • View materials presented to the Legislature here.

The Hawaii State Department of Education is the ninth largest U.S. school district and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 288 schools and serves more than 185,000 students. Visit HawaiiPublicSchools.org to learn more about the Department, its goals and vision for success.

Contact Information

Donalyn Dela Cruz

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: donalyn_dela_cruz@hawaiidoe.org

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