Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tech Refresh Gets a New Look

New technology is coming to many schools this summer as part of the BVSD Tech Refresh program. I’m excited to see the technology landscape evolving at BVSD, with Chromebooks now accounting for almost half of the devices in schools. Through this program we can continue to get even more technology into the hands of students. Please read on to get an overview of the Tech Refresh program.

What is Tech Refresh?
Tech Refresh is the program that allows schools to purchase new technology on a recurring basis. Currently there is approximately $1.3M in a technology fund that is shared across the district.

What has it looked like in the past?
Previously, Tech Refresh happened in a four-year cycle. IT replaced elementary and middle school computers once every four years and replaced one quarter of high schools computers annually. In some Tech Refresh cycles, a fifth year was set aside for bigger projects like installing projectors.   

What is the new schedule?
In the new model, BVSD schools* will receive points every other year to purchase new technology. Schools have been 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 getting new technology every year for incoming freshman.

Central administration (i.e., Ed Center staff) will continue to receive new computers every four years.

Also as part of the new model, schools will no longer return their existing gear when their new gear is deployed. IT will support this older technology until there is a hardware failure such as a bad hard drive or power supply.

*Boulder Prep and Justice High currently do not participate in the BVSD Tech Refresh program.

What are the new tools?
Over the years this menu has evolved from a narrow selection of desktops and laptops to a broad array that includes Windows laptops and desktops, Android tablets, Chromebooks, Chrome accessories, and Apple products.

Schools can find out how many points they have and which technology they can purchase by using the Tech Refresh Calculator found on the BVSD Tech Refresh website. Points are calculated based on the previous October Count and may fluctuate from year to year depending on enrollment.

The new selection of tools might spark discussions within your building about which ones are right for your school. Contact an Ed Tech team member to help you find the best tools for your educational objectives.

What do schools need to do?
Since schools will be making purchasing decisions every other year, we recommend that each school reinvigorate their tech committee. This group can provide valuable input about the technology needs of their students and staff.

Mike Goodyear (Director of Service Delivery & Client Technologies) and his team have already started visiting Odd-Year schools to discuss their Tech Refresh decisions. Principals will need to submit their final orders by April 17, 2015.

Do you have questions or comments about the new Tech Refresh model? Please sign in to chime in below.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Schoology Selected as BVSD Learning Management System

The Board of Education recently approved the purchase of Schoology as the district’s Learning Management System (LMS). Schoology was awarded the contract after a vetting process to determine the best fit for BVSD.


Schoology is a cloud-based learning management system that makes it easier to create and share academic content. It combines several functions, including:
  • personalizing instruction
  • delivering instructional content
  • sharing curriculum and resources
  • assessing learning goals and standards
  • collecting data to inform instruction

Eventually Schoology will be integrated with Infinite Campus to create an even more seamless environment, but at this point we are still determining a feasible timeline for connecting these two complex systems.  

Diana Gamboa, Director of Online Learning, is the business/education owner of Schoology; her team will lead the rollout and implementation of the new system, which will include training to support teachers. The projected go-live date is August 1, 2015. The Office of Online Learning will be releasing more information soon about the implementation timeline and training offerings.

Of course, the real question on everyone’s mind is, “How do I pronounce Schoology? Is it three syllables or four?” The official word from the company is that it’s pronounced Skool'uhjee. Mystery solved!

Please chime in with your thoughts about Schoology below. Don't forget to login.