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Promoting 21st Century Skills in Elk Grove Unified School District

Promoting 21st Century Skills in Elk Grove Unified School District

Written by Gail Desler
October 29, 2010

This short video captures several students and teachers who were part of the grant program in Elk Grove, California describing the way blogging, movie making, and podcasting changed their teaching and learning about writing. This program was supported by an EETT grant awarded to the Elk Grove Unified School District (EGUSD), which focused on improving student writing through the infusion of technology into the English Language Arts program at three elementary school sites in fourth and fifth grade classrooms.

The grant funded both professional development and computer equipment. The Area 3 Writing Project introduced teachers to best practices in teaching specific writing genres. EGUSD Technology Services provided the training and the tools to transfer the writing lessons from pen and paper to a variety of online venues.

The grant wasn’t just about technology. It was about transitioning the teaching of writing into the 21st century and providing the tools to take student voices beyond the walls of the classroom and confines of the community. My students’ engagement with speaking, reading, writing, and listening noticeably increased because they wrote to authentic audiences around issues they genuinely cared about.”

—Lesley McKillop, Area 3 Writing project teacher consultant and fourth grade EETT teacher at Prairie Elementary School

“As teachers’ confidence levels in technology integration increased, their writing instruction went to new and innovative venues, such as blogs, VoiceThreads, and filmmaking. The EETT project encouraged both teachers and students to use 21st century literacy skills that emphasized the interactive and communicative aspects of computers over the more static approaches to building writing skills.”

—Carl Whithaus, Professor at University of California, Davis

“As I reflect on the success of our EETT program, I recognize the importance of this group of teachers always putting pedagogy first. As their comfort levels with technology increased, and they witnessed ownership of learning shift from them to their students, technology became an increasingly integral part of their lesson plans.”

—Gail Desler, Area 3 Writing project teacher consultant, EETT Grant coordinator and Instructional Technologist Elk Grove School District

“When I saw the jump in engagement and skill levels after my students produced a VoiceThread to share their excitement in the election of Barack Obama as our nation’s first African-American president, I realized I had crossed the line and could no longer imagine teaching without technology.”

—Lutricia Hardaway, fourth grade teacher at Prairie Elementary School

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