Pikeville, KY. – Eastern Kentucky schools are partnering with Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR) to promote and host Remake Learning Days events across Appalachia Kentucky April 23 through May 2.
Neil Arnett, who serves as the technology coordinator for Pikeville Independent Schools and is the president of the Kentucky East Region Association of Technology Coordinators, said Kentucky schools, especially those in Appalachia Kentucky, understand the value of the transformative power of connectivity.
“Over two decades ago (1995), Kentucky’s K-12 schools became the first state in the nation to have high-speed internet access (not dial-up) to 100% of our school districts. In the late 1990s, we were the first state to have high quality and high-speed fibered internet access to 100% of our schools. In 2015, we became the first state to have fiber type speeds available to 100% of its district offices and schools as well as the first state that met the national minimum internet speed goals of 100 kb per student. All of these historic achievements have enabled KY K-12 to become ‘the’ national leader in cloud-based computing.”
While Remake Learning Days is a movement that allows businesses, organizations, schools, non-profits, libraries, and other groups to host learning celebrations for children and families, Arnett understands that all aspects of learning have the potential to have a connectivity component.
“Our support for Remake Learning is broad, but at our core is underlying support of learning opportunities throughout our communities,” he added. “Our schools are connected which maximizes the possibilities for our students and communities, and learning doesn’t end when a student leaves our school.”
Two eastern Kentucky schools, Pikeville Independent and Floyd County Schools are participating in a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Grant with Digital Promise and Bit Source. The research project is creating a Computational Thinking and Computer Science pathway in Rural K-8 schools based on the model established at South Fayette Township, an innovative district in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Traci Tackett, Director of Digital Literacy at Bit Source, is leading the NSF project and coordinating Remake Learning Days with SOAR.
“Computational Thinking and Computer Science must begin at K-8 in order to get students on a path to high-level thinking and problem-solving in a world where most jobs in the next 20 years don’t currently exist,” she said. “Our work is crucial in developing growth mindsets in our future workforce.”
Arnett added that connectivity is an economic equalizer in the region.
“Access to secure, high-speed internet, inside our schools, coupled with students learning to create using technology both at school and at home is the great economic equalizer in the 21st century.”
The 2020 Remake Learning Days East KY Festival is a series of learning celebrations at various sites such as schools, libraries, churches, civic organizations, and small businesses. All events are free, open family events that encourage students to participate in hands-on activities that focus on the themes of science, technology, arts, making, outdoor learning, and student’s voice.
SOAR is providing a limited number of mini-grants to host sites to help offset some of the cost of hosting an event. Additionally, SOAR is providing marketing assistance to all Remake Learning Days events.
To register an event and/or apply for a mini-grant, visit http://remakelearningdays.org/eastky. The deadline to apply and be considered for a mini-grant is February 14, 2020. For more information, contact Traci Tackett at email@example.com.
RLDAA is presented by Remake Learning with national partnerships with PBS Kids for Parents and Digital Promise, along with National Sponsorships by The Grable Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.
#KYGoDigital Regional Event
The East Region Association of Technology Coordinators (ERATC) will also be hosting their annual technical training conference and #KYGoDigital Regional Event at the University of Pikeville on June 15-16, 2020. Education technology coordinators from across the state will be focusing on and sharing topics like data security, advances in wireless network technology, information management, and the latest student technology opportunities. The KYGoDigital Regional is a learning event led by an ever-growing network of educators who are passionate to connect with other educators about digital tools for learning. Joining together they will create, connect, and share!
More on the history of education technology in Kentucky can be found on the 2018-2024 KETS Master Plan KDE website at https://education.ky.gov/districts/tech/Pages/KETS-2018—2024-Master-Plan—Appendix-G.aspx.