Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School on a recent Friday, students are at their
desks in a dimmed room, the supplies stacked on their desks backlit by the pale
glow of the projector up front.
doing a miniature research project, their teacher explains, presenting videos
they created on the Holocaust, World War II, and Hitler’s rise to power.
another classroom, kids are doing paired reading using Google
Drive, highlighting passages and adding their commentary as they go. In
another, there’s no technology in use at all – not at that moment, anyway.
There’s just a teacher asking questions about last night’s reading, and
students chiming in with the answers.
just outside, a group of observers is making its way down the hall.
won’t be surprised to see you here,” says Clarke County School District
Superintendent Dr. Phil Lanoue, walking backwards down the hall as he faces the
group. “They see groups like this all the time.”
guests in question, on this day – November 14 – are a group of partners from the Get Georgia Reading campaign.
A partnership of private and public organizations across Georgia – including
the Georgia Department of Education – the campaign is committed to getting all
children in the state on a path to reading proficiency by the end of third
part of its efforts, the group has made strategic learning journeys across the
state, learning in person what works and can be replicated in other areas. In
Clarke County’s schools, what’s working is a
strong adaptation to digital demands, paired with an emphasis on literacy. The
system has one digital device per student in grades one through nine, but the
focus, Lanoue tells his guests, is on transforming instructional practices –
not devices for devices’ sake.
you see here is across the county,” he says. “This is not a pilot.”
see the same thing – technology supporting innovative instruction, rather than
the other way around – at Barrow Elementary School, also in Clarke County. On
the same Friday in November,
kindergarteners were in the media center, reading
and collaborating with a first-grade class in Vermont on America Recycles
library is a place not only to consume information,” says media specialist Andy
Plemmons. “It’s a place to come and create and to connect with our world.”
a classroom down the hall, as reading instruction takes place, students are
grouped in pairs, some settled on bean bags, some at their desks, reading
together as their teacher makes the rounds throughout the room. And this is how
it goes at Barrow Elementary, and in Clarke County as a whole – students are
untethered from their desks and teachers are untethered from the front of the
you walk into the building,” Lanoue says, “learning occurs immediately. It
occurs in every space.”
more about the Clarke County School District’s digital initiatives here.
Learn more about the Get Georgia Reading campaign here.