Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lerner Digital Goes to School

Special thanks to Jeff Mitchell and Spencer Hanson for the following post!

Last week, two Lerner Digital members participated in a site visit hosted by Minnetonka Public Schools, a local school district here in Minnesota with a reputation for outstanding academics and classroom technology. Minnetonka holds this event annually to present the philosophies behind its success and the practices that have helped it develop into a recognized leader in educational technology and innovation.

Minnetonka's 1:1 iPad program begins in the 5th Grade
Image from video: Amplifying Learning with iPads
Throughout the day, we gained an appreciation for the amount of consideration and care that goes into developing the district’s core values, everything from its commitment to a curriculum designed for 21st Century skills to the human-centered design approach in classrooms and media centers. It was impressive that everything is done with both the students and staff in mind. While touring a classroom and seeing a loft with a single student on it reading, for instance, our guide observed that while there is a focus to provide space for both introverted and extroverted students, the classroom must also be designed around the teacher’s personality, as well, a detail that might not always be considered. In fact both students and staff have been involved in designing their learning environments, which gives students the satisfying experience of having their school work provide real world results that they and their peers can enjoy.
Minnetonka Middle School West Media Center Image from video: Design for Learning: Media Center
Of course, as producers of digital content, we were most curious to observe how technology was utilized, particularly for reading, both in the classroom and by students on their own. The Middle School media center for example, greatly reduced the number of bookshelves by removing thousands of books that haven't been checked out by students in years, focusing their print collection to what student's actual used. Now the students have access to large library of eBooks and their textbooks have gone digital as well. Minnetonka is one of the pioneers in implementing a 1:1 iPad program, supported by media specialists and technology coaches. We also learned how teachers use technology in the classroom, with an emphasis that technology changes quickly.

Lerner Interactive Book
For us, we love to see students have as much opportunity as possible to access digital tools and content, such as eBooks and Interactive books. And we love seeing schools support students in developing responsible technology skills. We also know there are many districts not as fortunate yet to have a such a comprehensive approach towards technology integration. This is why at Lerner Digital, we’re always dedicated to producing quality eBooks, Interactive Books, and Audisee eBooks with Audio that are as accessible as possible.

Many thanks to Minnetonka Schools for hosting a great event and showing us a fantastic formula for bringing dedicated educators together to build an incredible district.

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