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Alaska's Learning Network - Changing AK's Educational Landscape through Technology Training for Educators and Providing Online Courses for Students

PRESS RELEASE – February 15, 2010

 

Alaska’s Learning Network (AKLN) is designed to enhance Alaska’s educational landscape by incorporating technology into classrooms via ongoing and sustainable professional development (tech-training) for educators while providing customized online courses for students that are taught, and supported by certified, highly qualified Alaskan teachers.

AKLN has launched its first phase and will train 30 teachers from 16 districts during the program’s Individualized Technology Learning Plan (ITLP) Workshop, February 23-25, in Anchorage. Designed by SERRC – Alaska’s Educational Resource Center’s Technology Operations Director Ryan Stanley with input from dozens of educators and technologists, the ITLP professional development will combine face-to-face technology training followed by weekly at-distance coaching sessions to allow teachers to complete their individual plans by June 30, 2011.

“Many programs that try to integrate technology to improve student achievement lack one essential ingredient: time for teachers to learn the basics, “ said Stanley who has worked with educators for more than a decade creating technology plans designed to meet the individual needs of specific classrooms, schools and/or districts. “The ITLP program is designed to help teachers cross the digital divide by working with teachers to devise an individualized tech plan that meets their professional and classroom needs. After the workshop, teachers will work with AKLN coaches on a weekly basis to complete their individual goals. This approach will yield real results as teachers gain the skills to use technology effectively to improve student achievement.”

Along with professional development for educators, Alaska’s Learning Network is designed to provide Alaskan students and teachers with the K-12 courses they need for success, regardless of their geographic or technical environment. AKLN will provide customized online courses that are vetted by qualified Alaskan educators and the consumers (students) that use them. AKLN courses will be downloadable and free from copyright restriction so that teachers may modify them to meet the particular needs of their community. The first set of courses will be available this summer and include classes most often sought by high school students needing to meet graduation requirements. All Alaska’s Learning Network courses will be taught by certified, highly qualified Alaskan teachers.

“Alaska’s Learning Network, through this on-going staff development and coaching process, will design courses and pedagogy that are specific and tailored to Alaska’s communities” said AKLN’s Program Director Steve Pine, one of the creators of Alaska’s Rose Urban Rural Exchange and an educator who taught in a variety of Alaska communities. “This will enable Alaska to be independent of outside sources to deliver online courses that are better suited to meet the unique needs of students in both urban and rural Alaska.”

AKLN is funded through a State of Alaska Department of Education grant awarded to a consortium that includes SERRC, ASDN, and 11 school districts: Annette Islands, Chatham, Hoonah, Juneau, Kodiak Island, Lake & Peninsula, North Slope, Northwest Arctic, Petersburg, Wrangell, and Yukon Flats.

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