Four ways L&D can support digital transformation in their organisations

trainingzone | March 04, 2019

Digital technology is changing the way we work – and learn. To stay ahead, L&D teams don’t have to become digital gurus, but they do need to change the way they work.‘Digital transformation’ – you’ve probably heard of it. Digital transformation or DX is a term well-used by business leaders – it’s taking a prominent spot in industry headlines, keeps appearing on meeting agendas and is often blasted all over my LinkedIn feed.If you’ve seen the term but aren’t quite sure what it really means, Salesforce sums it up nicely: digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create or adapt business processes, cultures and customer experiences. It’s this reimagining of business in the digital age that is having a huge impact on the role of L&D.How digital transformation helps organisations ‘adapt and survive.Digital transformation has been gaining momentum, and it’s not surprising when you look at the benefits.DX can help businesses to respond, adapt and change quickly – vital attributes for businesses wanting to succeed in the current VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) climate.Digital transformation can also help businesses gain the competitive advantage, as according to Marc Benioff, digital transformation starts and ends with improving the consumer experience.When you consider what digital transformation is offering the business world, it’s not surprising that in 2018, a staggering 85% of businesses planned to invest in it. There really is nowhere to hide from digital transformation – even if you aren’t aware it’s happening in your organisation, chances are it will be making an appearance soon.

Spotlight

Modern learners present new challenges for corporate L&D teams. At a time when digital information and mobile devices are ubiquitous, employees come to the workplace with expectations that their learning experiences will feel akin to how they consume content in their personal lives: rapidly, interactively, and at any time.With shifting employee expectations and executive demands for better learning outcomes, L&D is often caught in the crosshairs. What common challenges do L&D teams face today, and what key strategies can they adopt to satisfy their dual customers (learners, executives)? Click on the infographic preview below to see the whole thing!

Spotlight

Modern learners present new challenges for corporate L&D teams. At a time when digital information and mobile devices are ubiquitous, employees come to the workplace with expectations that their learning experiences will feel akin to how they consume content in their personal lives: rapidly, interactively, and at any time.With shifting employee expectations and executive demands for better learning outcomes, L&D is often caught in the crosshairs. What common challenges do L&D teams face today, and what key strategies can they adopt to satisfy their dual customers (learners, executives)? Click on the infographic preview below to see the whole thing!

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TALENT DEVELOPMENT

Orenda Education Merges With Think Together to Create Scalable School Improvement Nonprofit

Think Together | September 13, 2022

Think Together, one of California's largest nonprofits serving K-12 schools today announced it has completed the merger with Orenda Education, a top school improvement and professional development consultancy. Upon the close, the combined organization will serve more than 200,000 students across the state with more than $150 million in annual revenue. Moreover, the organization will be better positioned to rapidly scale their impact. "We're thrilled to bring our two organizations together in our combined efforts to improve student success and close the achievement gap,This merger is the natural evolution of Orenda's existing relationship with Think Together and solidifies our joint commitment to ensuring that the more than 2 million California students that are performing far below grade level have the support they need during the school day and beyond to succeed academically." Think Together Founder and CEO Randy Barth Over the past seven years, Think Together and Orenda have had an affiliate agreement in place while the full acquisition builds the long-term financial and operational capacities for Orenda to continue to scale. Orenda's work focuses on transformingeducation systems, either across a school district or by cohorts of schools, providing professional development to all levels of district staff, around a specific data-driven but people-centric school improvement model. Think Together partners with over 60 school districts and charter management organizations to provide more than 900 direct-to-student academic and enrichment programs at more than 450 school sites across California, serving more than 100,000 youth. Orenda Education works behind-the-scenes with school district leaders and educators to identify inequities in schools and then transform their systems to ensure all students have access to a premium education. "Think Together has always been an incredible partner, infusing the infrastructure needed to provide an efficient model for changing the odds for kids," said Orenda Education Founder and CEO Dr. Robin Avelar La Salle. "Our two models have always complemented each other but now, we can efficiently scale our vision for all students to receive the premium education they deserve." The acquisition comes as both organizations experience tremendous growth due in large part to new and renewed state investments in education to accelerate learning recovery efforts and provide educators with needed support amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "Now more than ever, teachers, school leaders and administrators need to think outside the box to address the issues impacting students including socio-economic biases, social emotional learning, and more," added Barth. "Providing these much-needed supports to educators means districts and schools can provide the skills they need to teach, lead and counsel during and following a period of great disruption during the pandemic. Recently the U.S. Department of Education reported a dramatic decline in scores from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) known as the nation's scorecard. Two decades of growth for American students in reading and math were wiped away by just two years of pandemic-disrupted learning, according to national test scores released last week. And, the declines were much larger for students at lower performance levels, widening already-huge learning disparities between the country's high- and low-achievers. Orenda's approach to school improvement has proven to accelerate student outcomes, such as mastery of grade-level standards (measured by math and English language SBAC scores), improved A-G class completion rates, and improved graduation rates. They also provide administrative coaching, teaching strategies, and leadership clinics. To expand these services, Orenda was recently awarded a $4 million Education Innovation and Research grant by the U.S. Department of Education to digitize and distribute their school improvement approach through an online platform that is effective and highly scalable to schools and districts in any geography, and to those who require less in-person support. Think Together adds Orenda to their growing list of services that support student education in and around the school day. Think Together's flagship afterschool programs support students in underserved communities with homework help, enrichment, social-emotional learning and physical well-being, all to enable students to strive for college or a fulfilling career. To provide high-quality programs, Think Together partners with philanthropic organizations like the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Breaking down the barriers to opportunity, equity and access in education by keeping students and their success as the centered focus is one of the most meaningful investments for our future generations" said Alyssa Santino, Program Director of the Joseph Drown Foundation. "Ensuring the educators, leaders and structures around students are supported and inspired and effectively trained with research-based, proven and engaging strategies is imperative for thriving students and communities. We are pleased to partner with Think Together and Orenda Education as they excel in this space and continue to transform the trajectory of students and the schools they attend." Barth sees the combination of direct services to students through expanded and early learning, coupled with equity-based professional development, as an effective combination to supporting student achievement alongside their school district and charter partners. Dr. Paul Gothold, Superintendent of County Office of Education in San Diego agrees. His former district, Lynwood Unified School District, realized astonishing improvements when partnering with both Think Together and Orenda, including increasing graduation rates from 56% to 90.8%, and A-G college eligible rates from 18% to 53%. Orenda provides the technical expertise for true district turn-around. The systems approach and professional development modules to build staff capacity ensures all leaders have the tools and resources to provide a premium education for all students, said Gothold. "With Think Together's financial and operational support, Orenda is well positioned to continue providing much-needed education innovation to schools throughout the state and beyond. About Think Together For over 25 years Think Together has partnered with schools and communities to pursue educational equity and excellence for all kids. As a nonprofit organization, Think Together innovates, implements, and scales academic solutions that change the odds for hundreds of thousands of California students. Think Together's program areas include early learning, afterschool, school support services and leadership development for teachers and school administrators.

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EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY

Texthelp Releases U.S. Data Highlighting State of Learning for Students with Dyslexia

Texthelp | August 18, 2022

Today, Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and digital learning tools for education, released new survey results on the current state of teaching and learning for students with dyslexia. The survey, concluding in March 2022, reflects insights from more than 3,000 school staff representing thousands of schools across the country. The goal was to identify common problems in student teaching and learning that could be addressed, and to help build better, more inclusive learning environments. According to nearly half of the teachers surveyed, assistive technology is one of the top approaches that helps students with dyslexia, along with reading and phonemic awareness instruction. With one billion people globally living with a non-visible disability, such as dyslexia, it is critical that all students have the tools they need to understand and learn. How students digest information and communicate their knowledge looks different for everyone. More inclusive approaches to learning, such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL), are the future of education. "I have severe dyslexia and looking back, I could have benefited from having early access to assistive technology that was designed for people just like me," said Sierra Goodfellow, a current student. "Instead, I endured many barriers and obstacles while learning. It wasn't until much later that I finally found an assistive technology tool that understood me. I had thought something was wrong with me when really I needed a tool that was made for someone who thinks differently." "It would be extremely valuable for students like Sierra and teachers of students with dyslexia if the right accommodations were always available from the start, Texthelp. "All students should have a choice in how they learn. For Sierra, that was being able to understand the text by listening to it being read aloud." Martin McKay, Founder and CEO, Texthelp. More than 52 percent of teachers surveyed find 'a lot of value' in providing students with dyslexia access to assistive technology tools. However, more than 54 percent of the respondents said their district will only provide accommodations to students who show a need. Providing tools to only those students who 'show' signs of their disability or disclose their learning challenges leaves out many students who are either undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, or are afraid to disclose their diagnosis to indicate the support that they need."It is critical that all school districts provide assistive technology tools to every student, whether or not they are neurodivergent, neurotypical, or physically disabled," said McKay. "Providing tools for all students can bolster inclusivity in the classroom and welcomes all types of learners. Students should be attuned to how they learn best. Thoughtful, inclusive practices in the classroom make learning easier and more enjoyable for everyone." Additional findings from the survey include: 52% find assistive technology tools to be highly valuable for students with dyslexia Assistive technology tools can benefit all students, especially those with hidden disabilities, such as dyslexia. Providing assistive technology tools with various capabilities that are designed using UDL principles is most effective in supporting student success. Most districts provide free tools, such as built-in tools (71.73%) and free accessibility apps (54.87%), to students as a source of reading/writing accommodations Free tools and built-in tools aren't accessible everywhere throughout a students' education journey. When using these tools, students are limited in where they can utilize their accommodations. Oftentimes, users cannot access these tools when taking tests or searching online, which can create more barriers than solutions. Respondents felt that the best ways to make assistive technology more impactful for students with dyslexia are: Having the ability to identify student needs and match those with appropriate digital learning tools (55.51%) Having teachers embrace assistive technology in the classroom (52.10%) More training for staff (50.55%) About Texthelp Founded in 1996, the Texthelp Group is a global technology company helping people all over the world to understand and to be understood. It has led the way in creating innovative technology for the education and workplace sectors for the last three decades.Texthelp believes in a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers. It is focused on helping all people learn, understand, and communicate through the use of digital education and accessibility tools. With over 50 million users worldwide, the Texthelp suite of products includes Read&Write, Equatio®, WriQ®, OrbitNote®, ReachDeck® and FluencyTutor® which work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G-suite, enabling them to be integrated quickly into any classroom or workplace with ease.In 2021, Texthelp acquired the Lingit Group, Wizkids and Don Johnston Inc. By combining capabilities and knowledge across the group, Texthelp can now provide a whole suite of literacy and numeracy support to a greater number of end-users across more geographies.

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CONTINUING EDUCATION

PowerSchool Releases Education Focus Report Highlighting Top District Priorities and Shifts in PK-12 Education

PowerSchool | September 01, 2022

PowerSchool the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America, has released its key findings from the Education Focus Report for the 2022-2023 school year. The report represents the findings from a national survey of more than 3,500 educators, in-depth conversations with over 75 education practitioners and leaders, and a comprehensive scan of over 25 mid-to-large U.S. school districts’ strategic plans. “We are excited about the valuable insights this report will bring to educators and district leaders, “Our goal is to recenter PK-12 conversations starting with what’s most important to school districts their priorities to better support students.” Ryan Imbriale, former district leader, and Vice President of Education Solutions at PowerSchool. The report found seven common strategic priorities across U.S. districts: high-quality, tiered instruction; whole-child supports; exceptional workforce; robust family engagement; expanded early childhood learning; graduates prepared for life, college, and career; and organizational excellence and efficiency. The report also highlights two grounding concepts: data-informed decision-making and equitable student supports. These common district priorities reflect schooling both before and during the continuing pandemic. In the report, educators reveal that technology led to an increase in student engagement, strengthened family involvement, and prioritized modern professional learning needs. Key findings include the emergence of whole-child support as tantamount to students’ academic success. “We have to account for our students’ mental, social, and emotional health needs before we can think about learning,” said Chris Cromwell, Instructional Technology Coordinator for West Chester Area School District in Pennsylvania. “Not long ago, when working with teachers, I felt I was driving down the road in my academic lane, and then there was an SEL lane, and those were two separate lanes headed down the highway. But they’re actually not—SEL and academic learning are on the same path and intertwined.” Additionally, as the education industry continues to navigate digital transformation, school leaders are finding technology solutions beneficial to achieving organizational excellence and efficiency. This includes designing data systems, protecting student information, ensuring budget transparency, and achieving a modern technology infrastructure, which have shifted from the back of the office to front and center. This speaks to the power of data and the necessity of equitable resource allocation in meeting student needs. About PowerSchool PowerSchool (NYSE: PWSC) is the leading provider of cloud-based software for K-12 education in North America. Its mission is to power the education ecosystem with unified technology that helps educators and students realize their full potential, in their way. PowerSchool connects students, teachers, administrators, and parents, with the shared goal of improving student outcomes. From the office to the classroom to the home, it helps schools and districts efficiently manage state reporting and related compliance, special education, finance, human resources, talent, registration, attendance, funding, learning, instruction, grading, assessments and analytics in one unified platform. PowerSchool supports over 45 million students globally and more than 15,000 customers, including over 90 of the top 100 districts by student enrollment in the United States, and sells solutions in over 90 countries.

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