About the Project

Partnering with Our Digital Natives (PDN) is a program designed to address the Enhancing Education through Technology theme of Technology Infusion into Instruction through Professional Development. The program supports Districts 4 and 6 schools in preparing students, teachers, and leaders for improvement in ELA and success in the 21st century. This initiative focuses on supporting educators to leverage technology in the development of learner-centered instructional and assessment practices in ELA.

Building Vision and Capacity to Improve Literacy Through Technology

The PDN initiative connects Districts 4 and 6 schools with high-performing model schools (selected in part for strong ELA performance) that have distinguished themselves by leveraging technology as a transformative tool in the classroom. These schools have been selected by the Division of Information and Instructional Technology (DIIT) to serve as citywide models through a unique partnership with Columbia SIPA Model Technology Schools Case Study Project (NYC DOE/Columbia Project). Teams from PDN schools (the teams may consist of the school leader, lead ELA/ technology teachers/coaches, and students), will participate in guided intervisitations using the NETs-aligned Dimensions of a 21st Century School assessment tool designed by Teaching Matters Inc. (TMI) in collaboration with NYC principals and DIIT. The tool offers a framework that will allow team members to assess both the schools they are visiting and their own school as 21st century schools. This initial assessment will be followed by professional development and on-site support to create an action plan to move schools along the Dimensions of a 21st Century School continuum with a focus on ELA instruction. The program will also incorporate online collaboration and the sharing of resources focused on effective and innovative literacy strategies among educators through a specialized online community.

Developing Leadership of Teachers and Digital Natives

Teachers and students will be supported with opportunities to find ways to make ELA instruction more engaging and innovative using Marc Prensky’s concept of “Partnering with Our Digital Natives.” His approach is to partner teachers and students in reflecting on curricula and instructional choices, with structured opportunities for students to give voice to what will engage them and their classmates. Our literacy and technology curricula partner, Teaching Matters, will provide an institute series on research-based literacy instruction supported by technology, comprehensive web-based writing units, and innovative assessments. These assessments may include an online writing instructional program that provides immediate feedback on writing, as well as technology resources to support ELA instruction and assessment.

Students selected for the PDN work will have the opportunity to participate in leadership positions in their school-based, student empowerment tech support teams (i.e., iSquads, MOUSE squads). Schools will receive guidance and support in launching and maintaining these teams, which are designed to provide a cost-effective, student-powered solution to the support challenge facing schools while improving students’ 21st century educational and career opportunities with a hands-on, standards-based information technology support program.

Grant Contact Information

Lisa Nielsen - lnielsen@schools.nyc.gov, Technology Innovation Manager
Beth Richards - brichar4@schools.nyc.gov, Technology Innovation Specialist
Barbara Johnsen - bjohnsen@schools.nyc.gov, Technology Innovation Specialist
Laurie Baum - lbaum@teachingmatters.org, Staff Developer