The “BRINC” of a Revolution

February 6th, 2013

Category: News, Policy and Practice

This guest blog post was written by the district leads for the BRINC Consortium. As part of our blog series on education technology for Digital Learning Day, this post speaks to the big steps Delaware schools and districts are making to improve the use of technology to increase student learning. To read the first post in this Digital Learning Day blog series, “A New Vision for Education,” click here. To read the second in the series, a post about the role of technology to support personalized learning written by Howard High School of Technology teacher Ashley Sorenson, click here. To read the third post about preparing our schools for digital natives written by Vision 2015 Chair Ernie Dianastasis, click here.

In his State of the State, Governor Markell described the world we live in today as “More global. More Productive. More Competitive.” This is the world for which we are preparing our students. We have promised to help make them college and career ready, and if we are to keep this promise in this rapidly evolving world, we need to rethink the way our students learn.

When the BRINC Consortium (BRandywine, Indian River, New Castle County Votech, Colonial) came together, our leaders recognized one key idea—the high schools of today simply do not look that different from those of 20 or even 50 years ago. State leadership has laid a solid foundation with recent investments, but we recognize that the impetus is on us—the districts—to take the next step. We are on the “BRINC” of a true revolution in our classrooms.

The BRINC plan is focused on personalized learning for each of the 12,265 high school students we serve, digital natives born into a world of YouTube and Facebook, completely comfortable being connected 24/7. It’s not a new concept—great teachers have always found ways to modify and customize their instruction to meet the needs of their students. Our opportunity as districts, then, is to support and empower our teachers to do this more, leveraging the resources they didn’t have before. That’s why technology is so important, because it gives teachers infinitely more ways to directly target student needs while also providing them with more time to work with students individually or in small groups. And by developing online experiences and making content available and accessible at any time, from anywhere, we can push learning beyond our classroom walls, where it was never meant to stay.

Increasing the technology available in our classrooms is only a small part of our plan. Our biggest investment is in developing our staff—training teachers to use effective blended learning strategies, implementing model classrooms where master teachers will develop and demonstrate creative and effective instruction, and supporting administrators in their ability to support and manage this new paradigm of learning.

We hope to have this work started soon. As we look to the future, we hope to create model classrooms in every high school in our consortium, classrooms where teachers will be able to observe these innovative and effective strategies in action that will eventually be open to the entire state. And on a more broad scale, we’re aiming to start training and coaching teachers and staff soon, so that eventually every student in our schools will be learning differently as our teachers begin to change the way they teach.

In doing this work, we hope to not only better prepare our students, but all of Delaware’s students. Too often education is a competitive enterprise, but we have found that there is in fact a lot to learn from each other and indeed a power gained from collaboration. Our hope is that all of this will serve as a model for the rest of the state and that we’ll have more than ever to learn from our peers in the state.

It’s an exciting time to be a teacher or a student in our four districts, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll have to share next year!

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Rodel Foundation of Delaware