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Consultant to help Hampton educators use technology to enhance learning

| Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

The Hampton Township School District will work with education technology consultant Alan November to prepare teachers and students for an ever-changing world of learning.

November, who is senior partner and founder of Massachusetts-based November Learning, recently visited the district and said it was exciting to see teachers so enthusiastic about learning new ways to teach, noting he views Hampton as a high-quality school district.

Hampton Superintendent Michael Loughead said November has worked across the United States and the world to help schools transform and take the next steps in education. Along with meeting teachers, November also met via an online connection with a handful of students.

“The question is, how do we move ahead and maintain the quality of what you have?” said November.

The school board approved an agreement of services with November not to exceed $6,000.

November said the length of his services is open-ended, but the goal is to provide teachers with tools that they can develop and use on their own, or to create a “sustainable system for innovation.”

Loughead said it's important to continue the core elements of education, such as mathematics, writing well and other basics, but with the onset of technology and the internet, students are learning in different ways. And so it's now important to teach them what to do with these skills.

November provided the example of the classic educational lesson of memorizing state capitals. There's almost no need now as students can access the internet and find the answer instantly.

He said instead of memorizing facts they can easily access, they can instead spend that time learning more details about those capitals, comparing them to others around the world.

Loughead said November will share with teachers and administrators “how teaching and learning can keep pace in a modern world.”

November shared that students need to be able to read critically, write clearly and solve problems, especially complex ones that don't have an easy solution, Loughead said.

And students need to be risk-takers at times when it comes to learning, said November, who has a master's degree in education from Harvard University.

He also emphasized that generations today will be expected to work well in small groups and be able to navigate the internet to find answers, among other things.

“Students don't know the full range of where they can access for the best information,” said November. “You want the student to be self-directed and highly disciplined.”

Students can use technology that makes them confident to answer questions in the classroom, he said. And teachers can find out what students are thinking, without putting them on the spot.

As far as learning things in a different, more technological way, Loughead said it will help keep Hampton a top school district.

“We're excited about this and we want to keep evolving,” said Loughead.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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