2016 Student Voices Finalists

The SETDA Student Voices Award honors an outstanding K-12 school or district that has leveraged technology to dramatically improve the educational experiences and achievement of their students. Winners receive the Elsie Brumback Scholarship, which allows the winner to bring a team of students and educators to attend the annual SETDA Leadership Summit and tour Washington DC. SETDA also profiles the winning school/district at the Summit through presentations delivered by their students on stage in front of state and national education leaders. Please take a moment to view the Previous Winners.

2016 Finalists

The schools/districts below were selected as the 2016 SETDA Student Voices Finalists after a national application process and careful review process by SETDA leaders. SETDA congratulates all nominees on their excellent work to support teaching and learning and a special congratulations to the finalists listed below. The 2016 winner will be announced at the Emerging Technologies Forum on June 25, 2016 and will present at SETDA’s Leadership Summit on October 17, 2016 in the Washington D.C. area.

New Jersey Northfield Community Middle School

Northfield Community Middle School has completely redesigned their school setting to  invite innovative learning anywhere and anytime. Modeled from the d. School at Stanford University, the school implemented new furniture, whiteboards, bikes, turtles, and more. The school’s manifesto is “Becoming Life Ready”.  As part of their project based learning program,  students and teachers develop 3D prosthetic hands for children of need, design video games from books for children, work with those in need from the community, and other activities that serve a purpose. The school implemented a gamified Learning Management System that allows students to control their own pace of learning during the course of the year which supports personalized learning,  digital citizenship, coding, Google apps, computer aided design, digital storytelling, and design process/thinking. Overall, this school has been transformed to a new digital learning environment that provides hands-on experiences for all learners.

North Carolina Rutherford County Schools (RCS)

To ensure that every student is richly prepared for career and college success, Rutherford County Schools has implemented the Going G.L.O.B.A.L. initiative that focuses on improving students’ equitable access to 21st century tools, overcoming barriers to success associated with the digital divide, and infusing instructional technology across grade levels and curricula. Going G.L.O.B.A.L. serves as a springboard for fundamental transformation in teaching and learning across the district. To overcome the barriers of time and place, all students in grades K-4 receive an iPad for educational use, while students in grades 5-12 receive a laptop.  Every teacher is expected to guide, support, and empower students to take charge of their learning. Teachers design tasks that inspire collaboration, problem solving, innovative thinking, communication, and creativity among students. Teachers use digital tools to exchange content, assess student progress, customize instruction, and effectively connect with each student. Students now have access to blended learning environments that offer the opportunity to recover credits, attend summer school, and complete college level courses, potentially earning an Associate’s degree. Students are in control of their own learning with the ability to access instant information, work at their own pace, explore their interests, and engage in opportunities that were not previously possible.

Pennsylvania Elizabeth Forward School District

Elizabeth Forward School District established a project-based learning environment and a special lab that changed the entire culture of the school, from after school workshops on creating videos and music as well as a cool place for students to hang out and do research. It also provides teachers with resources that can make their classrooms exciting places to learn, focusing on project-based learning. The SMALLab includes an over­head projector which beams down onto a padded floor, and there are 12 motion-capturing cameras around the room that help create a simulated learning environment for students. When classes attend the lab they are embedded in learning simulations that are geared towards defined subject areas. The activities use gamification as a tool to instruct students on difficult subjects. The district also created a K-12 Computational Curriculum and requires a 9th grade computer science course for graduation.  All students in middle school (6-8) are learning programming, robotics, 3D design and 3D printing, animation, 2D design using the laser cutter, vinyl cutter and the CNC. At the high school (9-12), students can take electives in the Entertainment Technology Academy and learn about 2D and 3D programming, 3D digital art, game design and digital storytelling. All students in K-5 have the mobile FABLab that travels between all four elementary schools. All students in the middle school learn digital fabrication in the DREAM Factory. Students learn about design thinking, prototyping and actually use CNCs, vinyl cutters, laser cutters and 3D printers. At the high school level, we built a FABLab, which also was approved by MIT. In 2015, we created the first Girls Maker class, where girls are designing and making in the FABLab.

Tennessee Greeneville City Schools

Greeneville is effectively using technology to best meet the needs of its digital learners. The district is unique in that the Instructional Technology department works with Greeneville’s instruction team to identify key teaching and learning objectives in order to construct its technology roadmap around helping Greeneville’s educators meet their goals and objectives. Sixth grade social studies teacher Jana Wills sees the impact technology is having. “Technology is positively changing the way my students interact with me and how they interact with each other”, says Wills. “When my kids are absent from class, they’ll ask me to record my lesson so they can watch it later. They will watch videos that I’ve recorded to review a lesson or prepare for a quiz. Technology enables students to take ownership of their learning.” Greeneville leaders have access to a vast pool of talent that they are using to support their digital transformation—their students! Fourteen years ago, Greeneville created its student technology team, wherein students assist with any necessary device repairs, software issues, networking problems, etc. This program is unique in that it is a paid position, and the students receive a parking space in the teacher’s circle at the high school. The students gain valuable customer service and office experience, as they are responsible for communicating with and assisting students, teachers, administrators, and guests with their technology issues. Greeneville graduates have the unique opportunity to come back and resume their duties during their college breaks as well. All in all, Greeneville’s unique opportunities are developing lifelong learners.