Despite some of the disappointment in the agenda at the Education Nation Summit, there was a ray of light that I’m optimistic about. At the Summit Mayor Bloomberg announced the launch of a project I’m thrilled to have been involved in since last year called the iZone. The fact that real innovation is on the forefront of the mind of the mayor of the biggest city in the U.S. is promising. What is more promising is that he doesn’t see innovation as simply data driven assessment, but as actually incorporating true innovative ideas into New York City schools.
His announcement follows the official kickoff of the iZone which I had the privilege of attending in person where Chancellor Joel Klein addressed over 100 iZone partners, including principals and teachers from the 80+ participating schools, to mark the beginning of this transformative initiative.
One area I’m excited about is the move toward online learning and virtual schooling. Another is the move away from traditional seat time requirements and toward mastery demonstration that allows students to move through courses at their speed and in different ways. I was also thrilled to learn that Bloomberg is pushing for the abolishment of an old State law that requires schools to buy printed textbooks rather than the digital content. He notes that may be good business for the textbook industry, but it really is a bad deal for our students in this day and age. I’ve been talking about the long over-due demise of the textbook for years. It’s exciting to see the Mayor is behind moving into the digital age providing for more meaningful and engaging content for our students.
The iZone was developed to ensure students are better prepared for college and careers by challenging longstanding assumptions around “business as usual” in K-12 education. The Mayor highlighted the iZone as one of his key priorities for the next three years. You can watch the video here.
You can get involved by visiting the iZone site and clicking here where you can enter your email to receive tailored updates and notifications around new activity within the iZone.