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OCPS hosts Netherland educators
Posted on 02/28/2018
Delegates with Millennia Gardens students and staff

To learn how to efficiently implement digital curriculum at the elementary grade levels, 12 educators from Meppel Schools in the Netherlands visited Orange County Public Schools.

Rob Bixler, Executive Director Curriculum Instruction and Digital Learning, and his team hosted the Netherland educators at the Ron Blocker Education Leadership Center on Friday, Feb. 22, to discuss the 1-to-1 implementation process, as well as the various software used across the grade levels.

“We have a lot to discuss about how technology will help us. OCPS had a mission and then a vision, and we did it a little backwards by letting each school pick their device. That might not have been the best fit,” Hermanus Langhorst, Meppel Schools Superintendent, said. “We are seeing how picking one device might be better than another. We want all of our teacher’s input, but one system might be best.”

To see students and teachers use digital devices, the visiting group toured Millennia Gardens and Shingle Creek elementary schools on Monday, Feb. 26. They wanted to see first-hand how the students interacted with the available technology, while still allowing for traditional teaching methods, like learning centers and paper and pencil assignments. Each classroom showcased a variety of instruction that utilized laptops, iPads, SMART Boards and handwriting lessons.

“This showed us how we can use technology to help children learn. The children are enthusiastic and I see they want to learn. I see enthusiastic teachers and a principal who gives her teachers space to do what they feel is best. This helps make them enthusiastic to do a good job. It’s what I try to do too,” Langhorst said. “Like you all, we know that just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s right. The data has to prove the tool improves student learning.”

In addition to seeing the classroom instruction, they enjoyed seeing the students in physical education classes playing ou
tside. While their students have recess every day and PE classes multiple times a week, the weather does not permit outside play (it was negative 11 degrees when they left Holland to come to Florida).

During their time in Orlando, the group of educators visited Walt Disney World because “that’s what you have to do when you come to Florida,” and Daytona Beach to enjoy the summer-like weather.

The group will visit University of Central Florida on Tuesday and then Royal Palm Beach Elementary in West Palm Beach on Wednesday. They return to Holland on Thursday.