How Businesses Can Help Create Digital Learning Opportunities

On January 14, 2013, the Alliance for Excellent Education hosted The Role of Business LeadersExpanding Learning Opportunities Through Digital Learning, a Webinar focused on how businesses can assist schools in increasing digital learning opportunities for students. Panelists for the event included Steve Andrews, U.S. education programs manager for Intel Corporation; Deborah Phelps, director of the Education Foundation of Baltimore County Public Schools; and Randy Wilhelm, chief executive officer and cofounder of Knovation. Sara White Hall, director of digital learning policy at the Alliance for Excellent Education, moderated the event.

Andrews explained that, as a corporation, college and career readiness is a critical issue for Intel. He said that it is in the company’s best interest to invest in a strong economy, and in children that are educated—both for which, in today’s society, technology plays a substantial role. Andrews walked participants through Intel’s Education Transformation Model, an approach to education improvement that is comprised of five major elements: Policy; Curriculum and Assessment; Professional Development; Information Communications Technology; and Research and Evaluation. He also talked about the importance of company sponsored programs, such as Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), the world’s largest international high school science competition, and Intel Science Talent Search (STS), a national high school science research competition whose winners have gone on to win Nobel Prizes and National Medals of Science.

Wilhelm spoke on how businesses can become involved with schools on a more personal level. He shared how Knovation formed a lasting partnership with a local high school that went beyond providing their educational technology products. Instead, Knovation established a mentoring program that became embedded in the school’s schedule. The program has grown and now allows for employees to participate in one-on-one mentoring with students. Wilhelm says it has been an experience that has helped him and his employees remember why they do the work they do.

Phelps shared her past experiences as a middle school principal and recalled the important role her advisory committee played in helping establish strong business and community partnerships. She emphasized the necessity of getting partners into schools and allowing them to see and interact with students.

The panelists also offered advice for businesses wishing to become involved in their local community’s schools. Their suggestions included being flexible and patient in forming these relationships, realizing that collaboration is a two-way street, and advising that businesses need not be afraid of approaching a school or principal. Panelists took additional questions on what businesses look for in potential school partners, how policy plays a factor in school-business partnerships, and the importance of educator training and partnerships.

Visit the Alliance for Excellent Education online to view the full archived Webinar


Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.

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