Have you ever heard the phrase “post-literate age?” I personally had never heard the concept before reading Christopher Doyle’s article in Education Week. The idea in general, however, is not foreign to me. The discussion regarding society moving away from literacy to more simplified technological mediums is a very prevalent and controversial topic.
In the article, Doyle focuses on how his students turn to books less and less. He says, “Books, long idealized as foundational shapers of intellect, no longer mold young people’s minds. While continuing to tout their merits, educators marginalize books and have not come to grips with the book’s declining role in society. Over the last few years, my high school students’ facility for print culture has atrophied markedly.” To the older generation, this is a concern. We learned our skills and knowledge from textbooks. It was the focal point of our learning. Because it is how we are used to education, we are concerned when our younger generation seems to disregard those important tools.
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Christensen Elementary is one of seven Imagine Learning schools to receive the Washington State Board of Education Language Acquisition Award.
The Washington State Board of Education recently awarded seven Imagine Learning schools with the first-ever English Language Acquisition Award. The schools to receive the award are Abraham Lincoln Elementary, Sheridan Elementary, Northeast Elementary, Central Ave Elementary, Christensen Elementary, Elmhurst Elementary, and Cascadia Elementary.
The board created the new award because they recognized a need for an English language learner (ELL) focus, and they wanted to recognize schools whose ELL students are making the greatest progress toward the goal of becoming proficient in English, which is a major factor for students becoming college-ready. Award winning schools were selected based on the assessment of ELL students using the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA). The top five percent of achieving schools were recognized for their achievement.
Students in Washington schools speak 187 languages. And Washington is not alone—the English language learner (ELL) population is the fastest growing subgroup nationwide. “Language acquisition is an indicator of school success and deserves to be acknowledged,” explained Board Chair Dr. Kristina Mayer. “We want to shine the light on what is working so it can be replicated across the state. The board will work with OSPI and other partners to support award-winning schools in sharing their strategies and best practices.”
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Dedicated leaders in Kent, Washington are working together to ensure students receive an education that prepares them to be successful in a global workforce. When students come to school in Kent, they don’t have to “power down.” Instead, they have access to technology throughout the school day. As part of their digital instruction program, several Kent schools use Imagine Learning to differentiate instruction for students, supporting English language learners, struggling readers, and early childhood learners.
Kent School District Superintendent Dr. Edward Lee Vargas says with the support of government, civic, and religious leaders they have been able to move beyond a digital school system to a digital community. In addition to implementing digital learning in schools, Dr. Vargas and his dedicated team put computerized kiosks with broadband capacity out into the community, hoping to provide resources for students, parents, and community members alike. The kiosks are being installed in places where they can be easily accessed, like grocery stores and high-density housing. “It’s been a series of partnerships that have created the capacity to be able to have these programs come alive,” said Vargas.
Education is a top priority for Washington legislators who support the tremendous educational efforts in Kent. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan and Senator Joe Fain are dedicated to giving students the technological tools they need to be successful. “It’s really the key to helping them success in the 21st century,” said Sen. Fain.
Watch the video below to see how leaders from Washington’s political, technological, and educational sectors are working together to create a technology-based approach to learning in their schools—and their community.
Kent School District—where technology is being maximized for school children & the community from Imagine Learning on Vimeo.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Imagine Learning is Acquired by Weld North
Provo, UT – April 07, 2014 – Imagine Learning, a Utah-based language and literacy company, announced today that it has been acquired by Weld North Holdings LLC, an investment company led by former Kaplan, Inc CEO Jonathan Grayer. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Weld North believes Imagine Learning is poised for substantial growth in a vibrant and growing EdTech market.
“Imagine Learning’s unique game-based solution engages children, makes it fun for them to learn and supports teachers in their pursuit of teaching English language and literacy skills to their students,” said Jonathan Grayer, Chairman and CEO of Weld North. “The company’s headquarters in Provo is situated in the midst of a rapidly expanding pool of excellent talent, and it has a long runway of growth ahead. We look forward to leveraging our expertise to facilitate that growth and positively impact the way children are learning in the classroom.”
Imagine Learning will remain in Provo, Utah, and there will be no immediate management changes. Over the past decade, Imagine Learning has grown from a fledgling start-up—led by founder and former CEO Susan Preator—to a flourishing multi-million dollar company, contributing to the thriving technology-friendly hub of Utah County. Imagine Learning is in the process of expanding its workforce and recently secured an additional 26,000 square feet of office space at its current location in anticipation of continued growth. Joe Swenson, Imagine Learning CEO, said the acquisition is evidence of Imagine Learning’s strong position in the digital education sector. “We want to recognize the incredible efforts of our founders, all of our coworkers, and our board members, including those from Sorenson Capital. Through their dedication and hard work over the past 10 years, Imagine Learning has become one of the most recognized digital English language and literacy programs in the country for K–6 students,” said Swenson.
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Here’s a link to some exciting news about the future of Imagine Learning!
External link: NY Times: Former Kaplan Chief Assembling a Digital Learning Company