Credit: Credit: Albemarle County Public Schools

New Community Speaker Series on Education Debuts April 16 at Albemarle High School With a Focus on the Digital Age

The inaugural event in a new Community Speaker Series, bringing national experts in the field of education to Albemarle County, will be next Monday, April 16, at 6 p.m. in Albemarle High School’s media center.

Dr. Jon Becker, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the School of Education at Virginia Commonwealth University, will be talking about significant legal issues that impact such policies as those that govern freedom of speech, special education, and data privacy.

“Dr. Becker is one of the most thought-provoking and inventive speakers in our country today. He’s a leading authority on how to modernize student learning to fit today’s dynamic economic and idea marketplaces,” said Debora Collins, the school division’s assistant superintendent for student learning. “Our goal with this new series is to regularly offer our parents and all community members new insight into how to support the contemporary learning needs of their children,” she said.

Becker holds both a Ph.D. in Politics and Education from Columbia University’s prestigious Teachers College and a law degree from Boston College. He is a prolific writer and contributor to the national debate over such transformational issues as the role and impact of technology in how students should be taught and learn in the digital age.

Describing himself as “living at the intersections of education, technology, leadership, and policy,” Becker has written about Building Social Capital Through Social Media; Mind the Gaps: Exploring the Use of Technology to Facilitate Parental Involvement; and Thinking Outside the (Bricks-and-Mortar) Box(es).

An April 7 front-page headline in the Washington Post captured the challenges that technology can present in the classroom: The new lesson plan for elementary school: Surviving the Internet. The article described a nationwide effort toward “preparing kids and parents for some of the core tensions of modern childhood: what limits to set around technologies whose long-term effects are unknown—and for whom young users are a prime audience.”

“It often seems like legal issues increasingly dominate the discourse and practice around education, and there are seemingly endless issues that school teachers and education stakeholders need to understand,” Becker says. “This will be a fast-paced overview with plenty of time for questions, answers and conversation. My goal is to have parents and other members of the community leave with a fresh understanding as well as practical strategies around the most pressing legal issues in education,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Dr. Becker will meet with school principals as part of the division’s professional development program.

Admission to the conversation on April 16 is free and open to all members of the community.