SMART is celebrating schools across the world for their innovative use of technology to create meaningful connections for students.
NEW digital library of stories recognizes schools that demonstrate effective and innovative uses of technology in classrooms—both virtually and in person.
The schools are part of Connections that Matter, a global initiative by SMART Technologies to highlight the pioneering ways educators are strengthening connections within and beyond the classroom that foster greater learning, including connecting curricula to real-world problems, investing in social-emotional learning and building deeper ties between school and home.
These schools join a global community of educators, innovators and teacher ambassadors who are supporting innovation in learning to foster student engagement in more than 175 countries.
In the last 20 months, the creativity and determination of educators has been on display. In a world so captivated by the challenges at hand, we want to recognize educators' extraordinary commitment to their students, as well as their profession," said SMART Technologies Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Lowe. "This reflects our company's mission to champion the power of connection, which is rooted in our own rich history of building technology that brings people together.
Research demonstrates that strong connections between students and caring adults play a positive role in their academic and social-emotional development. Yet, only half of educators in the U.S. believe their schools have the resources needed to meet the social and emotional needs of students returning to the classroom, according to a recent survey of teachers commissioned by SMART.
As part of the initiative, selected schools will open source lesson activities and resources that strengthen connections among peers, between educators and students, and between families and the classroom. The lessons will be available for free through the Lumio by SMART Connections that Matter library, the free-to-use digital learning tool that allows teachers to transform their lessons with interactive activities, games, group workspaces and assessments.
Anytime we can give students a curriculum that requires them to solve problems in their local community, that's how they truly make a connection to their learning. There's biology in those problems, there's mathematics and social studies in those problems. Our job is to prepare kids to solve problems," said Michael Meechin, principal of NeoCity Academy, a public charter school in Kissimmee, Fla. Students at the school draw from what they're learning in their STEM curriculum to develop solutions to real-world problems they observe in their local community. "We are thrilled to be part of such an esteemed group of peers. SMART is recognizing the innovative work of educators at a moment when we all need to be inspired.
Principal Meechin joins a global discussion with experts and educators Oct. 28, 2021, about the power of connection in supporting students' well-being and academic recovery in the wake of the pandemic's unprecedented disruption. Open to the media, the event will showcase innovative schools like NeoCity Academy; Brandeis Elementary in Jefferson County, Ky.; and Thoren Framtid in Sweden, as well as initiatives from the Calgary Board of Education in Canada.
During the event, Thoren Framtid teacher Ola Brorson will share how they've teamed up with fellow Exemplary Schools member Divine Savior Academy in south Florida to connect their students across 6,000 miles. Peer-to-peer learning and co-teaching has forged an incredible connection for interactive learning between unlikely classmates. Building on the success of a collaboration project started last year, the two schools are bringing middle school students together virtually to study geography and culture. This vibrant cultural connection has been fueled by the students' natural curiosity about each other, dynamic educators and interactive technology.
To join the global conversation on Oct. 28, 2021, and hear directly from this innovative group of education leaders, register now:
The integration of technology in the classroom enhances learning and engages students in a more meaningful way. We've been intentionally enhancing digital instruction through the use of SMART technology for many years. It is a testament to our teachers and technology experts on staff that we have been recognized as a global SMART Exemplary School, a tremendous honor that highlights our efforts to utilize technology as a tool for enriching every child's educational experience, said Tim Biesterfeld, Head of Schools, Divine Savior Academy.