by Brian Dietrich, Chair, Education Committee
Welcome to our new Austin City Up Education blog series. No matter how you got here, we hope you will return regularly to review and potentially contribute to our progressive Education blog series.
The charter of our Education consortium is to evaluate and develop technology projects that will positively impact students in central Texas schools, community colleges and universities. Our group is a diverse group of individuals and technology companies that are coming together collectively to establish collaborations, provide thought leadership, develop campus projects and facility community engagement. As the EdTech marketplace rapidly evolves, new technologies are being adapted for use in the classroom, at home, and on the go that will accelerate student academic achievement through personalized learning best suited for a particular student's learning modality.
Several months ago, the Austin CityUP Education consortium held its first meetup with central Texas educational institutions. We identified and analyzed their educational needs and priorities to identify the key areas where our Education consortium can best add value and deliver thought leadership through meaningful technology projects. Our plan for this blog is to bring you a regular series of timely and well thought-out columns that showcase how technology is rapidly changing today's educational landscape, while at the same time improving student outcomes & student persistence.
For 2018, we are committed to focusing our time & energies on three areas selected to deliver value across the broad Central Texas education landscape:
· STEM Capacity Building: Engaging students early in their educational careers to develop clear pathways for STEM educational opportunities with learning spaces both inside and outside the classroom. We believe every child ought to have the opportunity to develop his or her own inner student scientist and investigate areas of interest and intrigue using fundamental scientific methods of evaluation. Technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can bring these types of opportunities and access directly to a student anytime or anywhere.
· Connected Campus: Using the emerging capabilities of smart and connected technologies such as IOT, a school is no longer a static building, but is potentially a living laboratory, expanding learning spaces and learning environments. For example, a campus may deploy sensor technology that provides students and staff with real-time information about building energy consumption or water quality. Another example might be Smart Parking for a highly dense university campus, where a driver is directed to a specific open space in a parking structure or surface lot. All the data collected of these type of systems can be analyzed and evaluated by students to better understand the real-time environment around them.
· Student Safety: The unfortunate recent school shootings have highlighted the priority need for increased student safety solutions at all our schools. School leadership, along with concerned parents and their students, are looking for answers and solutions to eliminate future incidences. There are rapidly emerging technologies designed as early warning systems to detect everything from unauthorized persons in a school building and security breaches to gunshot detection.
We welcome you as institutional leaders and teachers, active parents, or concerned citizens to reach out to us and join our efforts to by contributing and/or collaborating with our group. We welcome all constructive and inclusive ideas across any or all of our key areas of focus. We are committed to a student -first priority while developing the technologies that will best serve their needs, result in the best educational outcomes, while providing a safe and secure environment in which our students can thrive.
Austin City Up Board Member and Chair of the Education Committee
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