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Learning Technology Grant Program Overview: Erie 2 BOCES Consortium

Award Years: 2018-2021

Building Cultural Bridges through Video Conference Technology

Target populations:

Educators, educational leaders, students with significant levels of ELL, students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students, and students from rural areas.

Consortium member districts:

Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES (E2CCB, Lead Educational Agency) serves the southwestern portion of NY and is largely rural in nature. Cassadaga Valley CSD (828 students K-12) is a homogeneous, rural, economically disadvantaged district that meets the students with disabilities requirement (15%) and is also a focus district. Cleveland Hill UFSD (1,213 K-12) is a suburban Buffalo, heterogeneous, economically disadvantaged district. Forestville CSD (469, K-12) is another homogeneous, rural, economically disadvantaged district in the Erie 2 BOCES area. Gowanda CSD (1,189 K-12) is similar to Cassadaga Valley in makeup, but has the added component of being partially located on the tribal land belonging to the Seneca Nation of Indians. Jamestown City Schools (4,586 K-12) is a small city district, second-most ethnically diverse of the partners, and also has an ELL population of 5%. Kenmore-Tonawanda UFSD (6,687 K-12) is another suburban Buffalo partner more homogeneous ethnically than Cleveland Hill, with a 19% student with disabilities population. Pine Valley CSD is also a small (532 K-12) homogeneous, rural, economically disadvantaged district.

Program description:

This project proposes to address three related challenges, starting with the fact that students in consortium schools generally lack the experience and context necessary to apply communication and other skills to connect with diverse community members in culturally and linguistically responsive ways. Further, teachers lack the pedagogical understandings and technology skills necessary to implement authentic, rigorous activities to help students gain those abilities. Finally, the resources necessary to provide PD to prepare teachers to accomplish this require additional development.

The proposed project aims to: (1) adapt existing EOA professional development (PD) and resources to needs of consortium districts; (2) provide PD on technology integration and PBL to teachers; (3) provide rigorous, technology enhanced PBL experiences connecting participant students with Namibian learners; (4) construct a medium for participants to share their international experience to extend activities across school-based communities; (5) evaluate project activities to assess strengths and weaknesses, inform improvements, and assess promise for effectiveness, sustainability, and scale up; and (6) publish and disseminate grant-developed resources in readily shareable forms on the BOCES website.

Major program components include ongoing PD for educators and instructional leaders (Goals 1 and 2), and authentic letter writing by students for an international peer; culminating in student-directed, technology-facilitated collaborative projects, exchanging information about local and international students’ culture, geography, history, languages, and lifestyles (Goal 3). Both the PD and international components will be managed by consortium partner, Educators of America.

Contact Information