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State of the District: Technology
tech wordle.gif

Did You Know? (2007 version)

Implementation of Key Initiatives


Click here to view the "Annual Technology Update" (a Prezi presented to the Governing Board in January, 2012)

 


  • TECHNOLOGY PLANNING:
    We wrote, implemented and revised our three-year District Tech Plan (2010-2013) and Site Tech Plans (2011- 2014).
    • The District Technology Plan defines our vision and objectives in the areas of Curriculum, Digital Citizenship, Professional Development, and Infrastructure/Equipment, as required by the State.
    • Each Site Technology Plan outlines specific focus areas, which support the District vision, but address the unique character of the site. Burton Valley (Intro | Objectives), Lafayette (Intro | Objectives), and Stanley (Intro | Objectives) are implementing their original plan, written in 2010-11. Happy Valley (Intro | Objectives) and Springhill (Intro | Objectives) made revisions in the 2011-12 school year.
       
  • INFRASTRUCTURE & EQUIPMENT REFRESH:
    We provide and maintain equitable access to hardware and software for the purpose of supporting curriculum:
    • Updated district-wide network in 2007
    • Updated K-5 network in 2011
    • Collaborated with LPIE to establish a multi-year budget and maintain our refresh cycle for computer labs and standard classroom equipment (teacher laptops, LCD projectors, document cameras, and networkable laser printers)
    • Currently transitioning from server-based programs to cloud services, such as reading programs (Lexia), Library collection management (Destiny), computer lab file management (Drop Box), and productivity tools (GoogleApps for Education)
       
  • INTEGRATION of 21st CENTURY SKILLS:
    • Administrators, teachers, and staff are increasing their capacity in implementing the ISTE standards (Creativity, Communication, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking), 21st Century skills (Media Literacy, Life/Career Skills) and implications for instructional design
    • We committed to providing Common Technology Experiences, with a focus on equitable opportunities to weave 21st Century skills into all subject areas
    • We defined District Library Goals, with a focus on connecting Information Literacy Standards to Common Core Standards across the curriculum
    • Stanley revamped Media Bootcamp 2.0, providing students with an equitable foundation in media literacy skills.
    • We began piloting and adopting new strategies and tools, which support differentiated learning in the context of building 21st Century skills (examples: video conferencing, pencasts, blogging, iPads, and netbooks).
    • Continued collaboration with the Special Education department to ensure all students have access to the necessary assistive technology.
       
  • DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP:
    • We are developing a program for students to systematically explore policy-related issues that involve the ethical and legal use of media (CyberSafety, CyberBullying, Digital Footprint)
    • Administrators received training in key areas of CyberSafety.
    • All middle school students are exposed to fundamental skills through Media Bootcamp and targeted programs facilitated by the counseling staff; elementary sites facilitate instruction about these topics through library and lab sessions

  • HOME-SCHOOL COMMUNICATION:
    • We are increasingly providing efficient systems for sharing school/classroom information (websites and parent newsletters), student progress (grading), instructional support (learning resources), emergency notification (phone/email), and online registration (online database)
    • We adopted SchoolLoop as our district-wide web hosting and development tool. At Stanley, every student and parent is provided with a web-based account portal through which they can directly communicate with each of their child’s teachers, see grades in real time, and submit assignments. Staff can track student progress and post multimedia files that support student learning. The elementary sites primarily use SchoolLoop for creating classroom web pages, but usage is expanding.
    • Site administrators and parent organizations collaboratively use Constant Contact for parent e-mail news
    • Some teachers are experimenting with the “Flipped Classroom” model. In its simplest form, this model provides students and parents with relevant learning resources outside of school walls and beyond the school day, so that classroom instructional time can be even more productive and differentiated.

 

  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
    • We strive to provide a variety of ways to support teacher learning about the use of technology in the classroom. Teacher leaders have emerged, providing just-in-time (easily accessible and relevant) support to colleagues during grade-level meetings or staff meetings; however, our capacity to formalize this process and more deeply develop teacher leadership was impacted due to budget-cuts
    • Stanley established regular “Menu Days” during collaboration time. These teacher-led sessions have had a significant or complete focus on technology topics in the past couple of years. This structure provides rich opportunities for colleagues to mentor others during and after the Menu Day, and the short but relevant trainings are highly effective in moving the staff forward in using a variety of applicable tools across campus
    • Stanley’s collaboration time has also been a valuable space for providing teams with focused support on Information Literacy topics and training

How do we measure success?

  • Tech Support (technical and classroom integration):
    It is critical to maintain adequate support in order to achieve our goals for professional efficiency and student learning. Users want technical problems fixed as close to immediately as possible. We monitor our ability to do this by informally reviewing the frequency and types of requests for tech support over time.
  • Implementation of our vision:
    Examining our implementation of 21st Century skills is more challenging. We use district survey data to collect feedback from staff and community/students. The concept of “A 21st Century School” is complex and requires “out of the box” thinking, shifting the way we use technology and also shifting the way we design classroom instruction. Overall, we are growing in important areas, but this is a new arena for schools. We have much more work to do to educate our community (staff and parents) about our collective vision, implementation plans, challenges, and needs. 

What are the challenges?

  • Assessing 21st Century Skills: To better understand progress, we need data; the purpose of technology integration is to be a means to an end – the end product is a result of the use of the technology but the should be reflection of the content learning, not solely about the skills for using the technology tool. Our Common Tech Experiences and Library Goals will help guide us in collecting evidence of our technology-based instruction in labs, libraries, and classrooms.
  • The science and art of balancing technology integration in a rapidly changing world: We are continually reflecting on the appropriate use of new tools and ensuring they support core content curriculum, while also maintaining equity and encouraging innovation.
  • Staffing: Our technology department has been deeply impacted by budget reductions. Maintaining equipment and also the desired momentum for shifting instruction requires more support than we currently have. If we fully commit to a mission for providing 21st Century instruction, we will need to provide a high level of technology support to be able to effectively impact students and successfully manage all of the moving parts of technology planning.
     
  • Traditional policies in a digital world:We may need to revisit some practices and policies due to the changing nature of our digital world and its potential impact on the classroom environment (i.e. smart phones).

What are the next steps?

  • Continuing investment in infrastructure: By committing to set monies aside each year, we will be ready to meet our inevitable need to refresh the network - we are only going to become more reliant on cloud access as time goes on. The health of our network critical to our success.
  • Reinstate technology staff and grow the department: The technology department was greatly impacted by the budget reduction process. Less support means more downtime, increased frustration, and/or a diminished interest in using the tools we have invested in. Besides reinstating our technology staff, we should also consider adding a position dedicated solely to database-management so that this function is centralized and other team members can re-align and re-prioritize responsibilities that have grown exponentially.
  • Continue to educate community and staff: By striving for a stronger collective understanding about 21st Century instruction, its complexities, and how it is funded, we can more effectively support students.
  • Build capacity in teacher leaders and also in technology learners: Technology changes too fast for any one person or department to be the sole source of expertise. We will develop a plan for professional development that supports all levels of teacher learners in moving forward with their practice so that we can foster a learning community with a variety of leveled support.
  • Continue to migrate to the cloud: This includes subscribing to web-based reading programs, changing district mail hosting practices, and significantly investing in the health of our network.
  • Common Tech Experiences and Library Goals: We will use these guidelines to design professional development that supports our grade-level needs, and we can begin to purposefully shift some of the technology-rich activities into classrooms, where students spend most of their time. Common Tech Experiences for grades 6 – 8 will be completed by June, 2012.
  • Digital Citizenship: This topic is broad, deep, and changing everyday. There is too much to cover in the lab/library program in its existing structure. We are working towards establishing a comprehensive program. As more teachers and staff are trained, we expect to see a stronger focus on this, and more connection with CharacterCounts!
  • Research and implement a variety of 1:1 models: With the “right” and “necessary” support systems in place, 1:1 environments can maximize the impact of transformative 21st Century learning experiences.
  • Research and implement an updated attendance/emergency phone system: We want to offer a high level of reliability in helping staff communicate during an emergency. A new system can provide more efficient, streamlined methods for managing attendance issues and general announcements.
  • Upgrade to SchoolLoop “Unification” for higher efficiencies within the district and more consistent usage of websites for communication