Friday, August 12, 2016

Welcome back to the 16-17 school year!

After a much needed break our teachers and staff will be coming back to systems that have been updated for security and ease of use. New student usernames and passwords will help us educate our younger students on keeping private information confidential, and older students on strong passwords and why they are important.

Teachers and staff can now turn on dual factor authentication within their Google accounts making their account inaccessible by an intruder if their password is ever compromised. This feature is currently mandatory for all IT and Ed Tech employees.

Another change implemented over the summer is the way in which schools will order new technology. This new way of ordering technology tools is just like how schools currently order paper and pencils. No more special process for ordering technology! And most of what you can order is in stock to ensure timely deliveries.

This year I personally plan to spend more time finding ways to eliminate the digital divide in our schools. From continuing our 1:Web programs at Centaurus and Broomfield high schools to providing direct internet to those in need, my focus on this civil rights issue is sure to grow.

Finally, watch for information on new networks, phones, technology funding, and expanding partnerships as the year plays out and IT continues to support the Success Effect in BVSD. I continue to believe IT must innovate and adapt to support our teachers and students with new teaching practices. I will continue help to ensure that the best future-ready learning environments are available for all of our students.

Please log in to chime in below. I appreciate your input - innovative and critical alike. Both make us better at what we do.

Happy 16-17 School Year!

Andrew

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

ConnectMe! (Connect My Education)

The BVSD move to the digital world reflects the way our economy and society operate in general and allows for learning to happen any place and anytime for our students, who have a digital device and an internet connection. When students lack internet access, these learning experiences and opportunities are impacted. My team and I are working to bridge this digital divide to help ensure equitable access for all students.


Although BVSD IT has run internet into one Boulder Housing Partners community as a pilot program, that option is not viable for all of our students. With that in mind, we are starting a new pilot called ConnectME (Connect My Education).

Background

DSC00477.JPGThe BVSD Success Effect speaks to the need for partnerships that help us to achieve our educational goals.


Recently, former Centaurus High School graduate and current CU student Balkarn Shahi approached me with an idea to address the learning gap in east county by partnering with city government, charitable organizations, and BVSD to get families connected who otherwise would not be connected. The key is that Balkarn will lead the effort to go door to door, with help from his CU friends to work through the issues with connecting through Comcast's Internet Essentials or Century Link's Internet Basics which are both $9.95 internet options.

Balkarn described his time at CHS where friends, would come to his house to complete homework, check social media and be connected to the world using his available internet connection. He understands the digital divide that exists for our students first hand and is passionate about working to bring access to all students.

Funding

My department will be working alongside Balkarn to support his efforts to find the funding to provide access to the Internet for families in need. BVSD IT will not be supplying funds for this portion, rather providing the support to build these relationships with the City of Lafayette, Sister Carmen, and others.

Balkarn has even started a GoFundMe campaign to provide startup funds for this project.

Partnerships

This work would not be able to happen without building the partnerships that the Success Effect highlights. The initial reach of this opportunity is for the Sanchez Elementary community to explore how family access can impact an elementary school and the learning of students and families.


Through this partnership between IT and Sanchez, teachers will receive professional development from BVSD’s Ed Tech team to encourage and support the shift in instruction to a balance of the traditional and digitally enriched classroom. With partnering from the school, the team will also lead learning opportunities for parents to experience and learn about the digital tools, much like what is already occurring within the parent community through the 1:Web pilot.

Next Steps

IMG_0082.JPGIT will collaborate with the pilot team to articulate details as well as begin working on the financial partnerships needed to make this happen. We should officially launch the ConnectME Pilot in the 2016-17 school year.

Please chime in with your thoughts below and help me support Balkarn and CU in their efforts to help close the digital divide in BVSD.

Andrew




Monday, February 22, 2016

BVSD Technology Tools Program

IMG_0069.JPGIt is no surprise that changes in technology are happening all around us. My team now supports over 27,000 digital devices which is up almost 300% from just 5 years ago. Chromebooks, which entered the market only a few years ago, are now a classroom technology standard. This is evident by the 12,500+ Chromebooks already deployed in our schools.



In addition, new repair costs for aging projectors and wall-mounted touchpads are now covered in our existing budget. As technology and cost models change, the IT and Ed Tech programs must also adapt to be relevant in the learning environment.


The BVSD Technology Tools Program is the evolution of the long-running “Tech Refresh” program which allocated roughly $1.4M to refresh technology for schools, students, teachers and support staff.


IMG_4960.JPGThe new Technology Tools Program breaks up the funding into three distinct sub programs - Schools, Employees, and Purchases.


School/Student Technology Tools: Allows schools to get new technology on a recurring basis.


Employee Technology Tools: Allows employees to have a digital device not older than 5 years.


Purchase Technology Tools:  Allows schools and departments to purchase supported technology using their own funds.


What has changed?
  • Schools will no longer be allocated points to be used to purchase standard equipment for staff members. Instead employees will be able to replace their digital device every 5 years with the latest preferred technology.
  • Principals can select alternative technology for teachers depending on instructional needs using school/student point allocations.
  • IT will warrantee employee devices for 5 years.
  • Projector, bulb, and touchpad repairs will be maintained by IT at no additional cost to schools.


What has not changed?
Mrs. Litchy's Classroom 10.14.15#19.JPGSchools are still divided into two groups: Odd-Year Schools and Even-Year Schools. Click here to view your school’s group. The only exceptions to this schedule are the 1:Web pilot schools, which are receiving new technology every year for incoming freshman.


For more information, check out the newly redesigned Technology Tools  website here.


Do you have questions or comments about the new BVSD Technology Tools model?  Please sign in to chime in below.

Andrew