Thanks to those in attendance for reviewing the finalized documents at the Technology Planning Committee meeting yesterday. On the diagram labeled Mobile Computing Device Distribution Flow we discussed the idea that parent night may not be the best venue to orient parents regarding technology since there is not any targeted time during that event to address parents as a group. This was discussed at our ALT Meeting with principals on May 19th. Principals felt we may be able to make parent night work or we may look at a different technology specific or other combination venue to meet with parents. We all agreed we will need an alternative, electronic type orientation as well to ensure parents have other methods of accessing the information. There will be a follow up on this topic at a later ALT Meeting. Since parent completion of the orientation is required for students to use the computers in the class, there was a sense we should focus on requiring 5th-8th grade parents this year and then add in K-4 next year once we have a system in place. Principals agreed that would work as a minimum to get started.
If you have not reviewed the finalized Google Docs for the teacher policy and student/parent policy, please take a look at those asap. Here are the links:
Student Parent Agreement: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1BtfXm-Bmby4d0UPOjs8dmQHGPLhCZ7pmzsiSKsZp8m4&authuser=0
Teacher Classroom Agreement: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1B8TOhU2wiBEaIyYIK3ITRWncFkevKLgiJKgtwpVloho&authuser=0
As per the discussion at the meeting, I was able to talk to one 7th grade class and one 8th grade class regarding the parent/student policy and general ideas regarding computer breakage and loss. The students felt it was fair to pay for deliberate damage. The majority felt parents would attend some type of orientation. They did point out however that the Lenovo model we purchased has some inherent weaknesses. They indicated the keyboards sometimes do pop up on their own. They also said the hinges break easily. They indicated sleeves for the laptops would be helpful. One group liked the idea of a separate bag and the other group felt a separate bag may get easily lost since it is another thing to remember. They thought sleeves would be better. Approximately 1/3 of the students I spoke to indicated the computers to get used at home by other family members to watch videos, look for jobs, play games, and do research. All felt the newest model of Lenovos were too slow. They said labeling the chargers may help with mixing them up and losing them. They also felt that tablet/laptop combos where you could optionally use a keyboard would be the best option. Some liked the detachable keyboard and some liked the fold back version. There was not really a clear majority.
At the Technology Planning Committee Meeting, we also discussed the Criteria for Teacher Software Subscriptions. Please review this and provide any feedback as well: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1EkY8MfGYR_MXUh5ZsbpYhsA-W9UwDbfOPnHnTva4M8I&authuser=0.
The idea is that next year, grade level teams will create a list of 10 software products they would like for their grade level grouping ordered by preference. Then the Technology Department would verify the products for compatibility and pricing. By having the Tech Department do the procurement, there is an opportunity to combine common programs across schools for a better price as well as ensure all of the agreements have a common renewal date. This way it will be easier to create a timeline for yearly product reviews and decisions about renewals.
We also discussed that next year we are going to focus on student technology for grades K-6. This means we are essentially flip flopping years 1 and 2 of the Override Plan. This is necessary to renew student technology sooner for online testing.
Technology Planning Committee Meeting: - An email was sent out inviting all staff to participate in the Technology Planning Committee activities. Those that responded were sent a Doodle request with several meeting dates. Based on their responses a meeting date was chosen. This is an ongoing committee. We would like consistent membership as this improves efficiency and overall effectiveness of the group. However, if you are interested in being a committee member, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Besides reviewing and updating what we do have, here is a sampling of some additional areas that we need to consider:
What can we proactively do to mitigate loss and destruction of technology?
Should parents be more involved in the technology, the use of tech, and the student responsibilities?
Laptop top damage – i.e. intentional: students destroying keyboards i.e. accidental: dropped
Laptop Management – i.e. J.H. laptops don’t get turned back in when a student leaves (steps – who is responsible?)/laptops go missing from class sets
How do we manage chargers? Who is responsible for missing chargers? Is there a budgeted amount per school? Is there a cap?
What is the process when a device is missing?
What is the process if a family leaves and never brings the laptop back? When do we report it stolen or do we report it stolen?
What is the criteria/process for the district to replenish missing laptops? How does this get funded? Is there a cap?
How do we handle student laptop discipline if teachers depend on students having tech?
Does everyone know about the different internet filtering groups for discipline? Does it work?
Background: We held a meeting with the Tech Planning Committee on 9/4 and asked the participants for feedback via a Google form regarding some sample templates and website content. We then pushed that survey out to all District Staff and a few members of the community as well. That feedback indicated people overwhelmingly supported the following template as our new district design: http://www.balsz.org/site/default.aspx
The survey also allowed for feedback on content placement and overall available content. We will be making changes to the new site based on that feedback.
This template will be used district wide and customized with school input for each site. The customization will include school colors, a school logo and of course school content.
Each District Department and School will be responsible for updating their own content. Teacher websites will be available as well. Training information has been forwarded to District and School Administration.
The new website will go live January 17th.
We met on 9/4/13 with the current Technology Planning Committee to begin to develop the process for a new website design. During the meeting we discussed some of the opportunities and challenges with our new website content management system, School Wires. Then, we asked the committee to complete a website evaluation survey. If you would like to partake in this process, any community member or staff member can complete the survey. The link is located here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1fqOux6zlLwU7EDp8t2QFKsrN4a7yGhg6V45Ygohp4bg/viewform.
We need your help to make some decisions regarding the District/School Websites. As you may know School Center is going away and we have chosen a new provider, School Wires. For this transition we get to explore new designs and new ideas for displaying content. The website is an important communication tool for the district and we want to start with your group for this decision making process. We will be meeting twice for this venture. The first meeting is Wednesday Sept. 4th at 3:45.
Preview of different designs - We need to decide on three to send out for district-wide feedback
Prioritization of home page content
Review/Prioritization of Navigation
If you know of additional parents or community members who may like to be a part of this process, please feel free to invite them.
The Technology committee meets yearly to review the Technology Plan progress. The current District plan expires next year so we took the opportunity this year to go through a new technology planning cycle.
The Technology Committee is an advisory committee
The planning progress was posted on this Technology Planning Committee blog site. The site is still open for your comments and feedback.
There was a change noted tonight in the presentation for the Governing Board with regard to the plan dates. During the planning process we indicated this would be a five year plan in anticipation of developing a budget for a potential capital override. However, new requirements from the School and Libraries Division have indicated all technology plans should be three year plans and not five year plans. The Technology Plan is reviewed and modified annually at the very least. We are always seeking out ways to try and future proof the District technology as much as possible with each revision. We don't make extreme shifts from year to year as that would be very expensive. So, we are going to shift this from a five year plan to a three year plan. The Governing Board was asked to take note of this change when it comes time to consider the plan for approval next month. The change will only appear on the plan cover page. The change does not impact the plan contents or direction in the least.
This presentation was meant to share the plan components and progress with the governing board as well as consider any input the Board or other District Stakeholders may have. The plan will be brought back to the Governing Board at the May meeting to be considered for approval.
We have uploaded the full draft of the Technology Plan the Board received prior to the meeting tonight in full as well.
All comments on the blog are moderated.