Monday, February 13, 2017

District Technology Advisory Committee Update (Feb 2017)


Educational technology resources and the opportunities afforded through these tools are forever expanding and changing. In the last five years, BVSD has seen an increase in access, digital devices, and resources that provide an engaging and modern learning environment for students.

With that in mind, I understand and value the varying perspectives of our stakeholders with the implementation of these tools, including views from our students, teachers, administrators, district leaders, parents and community members. Due to the accelerated rates of change, these stakeholders often times have both collaborative and conflicting views of technology in our schools.

Because of these rapid changes, varying perspectives, and continued shifts, I felt it to be the right time to develop a sustainable organization that could provide guidance on how technology and resources are decided, deployed, and utilized in our schools and classrooms. This includes the business side of education with regards to infrastructure and security. You can read about the background in my post from December.

I sent out an email in December of 2016 to gather interest for this committee only to find that we had over 230 stakeholders interested! I worked with my team to select a representative balance of community members, parents, business leaders, BVSD teachers, administrators, and most importantly, students (view the DTAC Roster). We also formed an online forum for those not selected to continue to provide feedback and insight to the work of the committee.

The District Advisory Technology Committee (DTAC) launched on January 23rd with an overview of current and future IT services, infrastructures, programs and projects. These included updates on IT Network upgrades, expansion of 1:Web in our high schools, student data security and privacy updates, and budget information. Members were then provided an opportunity to discuss their ideas of the most critical conversations for this committee to consider in future meetings. You can review their responses here.

I will continue to share agendas and notes from each DTAC meeting on our website to maintain transparency of the work that this committee will complete and the guidance they will provide.

If you have thoughts, ideas or suggestions, please chime in below.

Andrew



4 comments:

  1. Having worked in three buildings with three different device policies, I have gotten a chance to test out a few of the scenarios that our district might be considering. At one school, iPad mini's were given to all students. This was nice for the Apple interface and apps, but the space for typing was very limited, as well as the space for seeing what you were typing once the keyboard was on the screen. They were light-weight, but were likely more expensive than PC products. At another school, they gave the incoming Freshman new Chromebooks for $25 dollars, and students would be able to keep them after graduation. They had a good size screen, nice keyboards, and there was no equity issue on who had a device (once the senior class graduates this year, who were not grandfathered in to the program). The issues I have with Chromebooks are that they cannot have any Office programs on them because it uses all Drive programs instead, and we could not print from them, we needed to access our documents on a PC and print from there. The third system is a bring-your-own-device program, which is great at a school in an affluent area, but not very equitable. The teachers have Dell computers which I really like, but I am worried that we will transition to Chromebooks, and the formatting of our already created resources will not transfer over to the Chromebooks (an issue I've already experienced). I would like to see more departments going to online textbooks and resources, but also having professional development made available to teachers that provides training in how to balance the amount of time students sit in front of a screen with how much time they actually interact with one another and the teacher.

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    1. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate the input. There have been updates made this year that allow for printing from Chromebooks. You can also access Windows programs from our "Windows on Demand" feature which can be found in our knowledge base or you can use the web version of Office. I agree with the need for professional development expansion as the technology is only as good as the knowledge on how best to use it in the classroom.

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  2. As per the above response: BYOD programs can increase equity if those students who don't have access are given access to computers and cheap Internet conncections. Chromebooks can access a server to use microsoft applications.

    I think a key issue is how to create equity between schools, and how to also allow for differentiation of resources based on needs of individual schools (and keep that all within a rigid budget). A second key issue is professional development. How do you provide robust PD on best practices with limited resources? How can we expand what we are currently doing in Ed. Tech?

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    1. Great question Kristin. Part of the outcome of the proposed 1:Web fee would be a freeing up limited resources to increase the Ed Tech team to increase professional development opportunities. We recognize that if we expand the devices, we need to expand the training opportunities.

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