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Friday, April 07, 2017

School innovator incorporates blended learning in teacher training | EdScoop News

Photo: Corinne Lestch
Corinne Lestch, Education staff reporter - EdScoop, FedScoop and StateScoop reports, "Yorktown Community Schools has a culture of “embracing what’s next.”"

Those are words from the district’s director of eLearning and Curricular Innovation, Holly Stachler, who is ushering students and teachers into the future and opening their minds to the possibilities of technology.

The district, about an hour north of Indianapolis, Indiana, already has a one-to-one device program where students use a mix of both iPads and Dell laptops so that they become familiar with both platforms. But Stachler said the environment of the district, which has about 2,500 students, is what makes it unique.

“What makes our district innovative is that we are willing to try new things,” she said in an interview with EdScoop. “All of our stakeholders, including students, parents and the administration, are accepting of a 21st century learning environments.”

Photo: Holly Stachler
Stachler was named a NextGen Leader by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) and EdScoop in a national program to recognize rising leaders in K-12 education technology. She will be recognized along with her fellow finalists at the annual CoSN conference this month in Chicago.

Stachler plays a key role in development curriculum and policy, and she has to some extent filled the capacity of technology director. She also does all the professional development for teachers on new tools and devices.

“I do all teacher PD to make sure they are trained in how to [use technology], and I provide support to students as well as far as their access and online course availability,” said Stachler, who is serving her fourth year on the job.

The level of professional development at Yorktown is arguably on another plane from many other districts — Stachler runs a blended learning professional-development program, which means teachers can choose how they receive their training.

“They have some choice in what information they get live, what information they get digitally and then they get a choice in how they apply what they’re learning,” she said.

She said giving educators autonomy in the way they learn is useful, since the training is mandatory. She added that giving them the experience of being digital learners also helps them better understand how to be digital instructors.

Source: EdScoop News (press release)