West Wind receives New Communications Award

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West Wind Education Policy Inc. is pleased to announce that it is the recipient of a 2012 Commendation of Excellence in the Government division in the External Communications & Communities category of the Society for New Communications Research Excellence in New Communications Awards program. The prestigious awards program honors individuals and organizations pioneering the use of social media and Internet communications technologies.

The Commendation recognizes West Wind’s design and development of the Iowa Forum on Competency-based Education online collaboration site. The site was initially developed to provide information and materials for an event in December of 2011, which was sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education and the Regional Educational Laboratory Midwest at American Institutes for Research. Enthusiastic response to the event and use of the site spurred the decision to further develop the site into an online community of practice.

The site, now managed by the Iowa Department of Education, provides a cost-effective format where educators, policymakers, and all interested community members can share best practices and discuss what they are learning as Iowans explore competency-based education. Competency-based education is a way of organizing education that allows students to advance or earn credit based on mastery of skill and knowledge and what they can demonstrate they know. It is often discussed in comparison to more traditional schooling practices such as restricting learning for credit to classrooms rather than community-based learning; defined amounts of time, often called “seat time” required to earn credits; and organizing learning isolated content areas (math, science, reading).

Award nominations were submitted as case studies, and reviewed by a panel of SNCR Fellows. In its seven-year history, SNCR has honored nearly 200 organizations and individuals through this prestigious awards program and all the winning case studies will be published on http://sncr.org.



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