Posted on July 17, 2015
By Tina Creguer
New technologies offer all kinds of new ways for students to learn, for teachers to teach, and for school systems to provide a learning environment. But the sudden convergence of content, technology, and tech-savvy students has created as many conundrums as opportunities. So, during a time rampant with experimentation and piloting, when a school system figures out ways to make all systems work together to enhance learning, people stop and take notice.
Fulton County (GA) Schools has done just that. And, for their efforts, they were recognized last month by the Center for Digital Education (CDE) with a Digital Content and Curriculum Achievement Award for K-12 at the International Society for Technology in Education 2015 conference in Philadelphia.
Alan Cox, Senior Vice President for the CDE, announced the awards, saying, “It is clear that schools all over the country are moving from pilot projects to full-scale implementations. Districts are combining content created by their faculty with content curated from other organizations or purchased from private-sector curriculum providers in ways not truly realized in past years. This year’s honorees are taking the practice of education to new heights that show great promise for other districts to follow.”
Fulton County was one of just six large (12,000+ students) districts to be recognized for its innovation and diligence in digital content and curriculum program implementation.
Reimagining: The key to success
Fulton County started with a goal to support a 90% graduation rate, 85% college eligibility, and 100% work-ready certified. But that required revamping many approaches and processes. Writing about the changes that Fulton County has made in the June 2015 issue of Teacher Librarian, educator Michelle Easley and media specialist Marie Yelvington talk about the need to renovate the approach to collection development. “Our collections should reflect a wide range of both print and digital resources, including a wide variety of electronic books, databases, and other digital resources,” they say.
They also saw the need to reengineer the physical space, creating centers of information and innovation. A new space created at Centennial High School allows students multiple entry points to materials and concepts and incorporated both quiet and collaboration spaces. Students can use mobile devices, work in groups, create videos, or just work alone quietly.
GVRL eBooks: a centerpiece of a new collection development strategy
Michelle Easley attributes much of the district’s successful reimagining to GVRL: “This award was possible due to the eBooks we provide as part of our GVRL collection,” she says. Working closely with her Gale representative, she and others have carefully crafted a vibrant collection of more than 8,000 eBooks that help tie together curriculum and digital content.
With GVRL, Fulton County students enjoy:
- Simultaneous access – allowing an unlimited number of users to access materials at the same time
- Article-level indexing + PDFs combined – they can read a publication cover to cover OR cross-search across all titles to find articles on a particular topic
- Highlighting and notes – user-friendly tools help them capture and act on moments of discovery, allowing them to make notes and highlight text
- Flexibility – students can access GVRL on any Internet-connected device, or they can download articles for offline reading on their favorite eReader.
In addition, educators and staff can access valuable professional development resources from ASCD, ISTE, and other key education publishers to discover and learn to implement new techniques, knowledge, and skills.
Our website provides more information about how GVRL supports K-12 curriculum with rich, subject-specific content. Or contact a Gale Education Sales Consultant to ask about adding GVRL to your school library.
Tina has been a library fan-girl since childhood, when she visited weekly with her family. She can be found many mornings standing outside her hometown library at opening time, waiting to nab a study room.