Page 15 - THE Journal, October/November 2018
P. 15

Classroom observations, not just for technology alone, but how technology is being used in instruction and learning;
Assessments, progress in student data on external assessments, interim assess- ments, classroom assessments—indicators that students are learning;
Student perception data, how students feel their learning needs are being met all around in general and then specifically with technology; and
Monitoring online activity, how much time is spent in different programs and/or tools.
Then we’re going to be looking for cor- relations between those four metrics to indi- cate how technology is supporting learning.
Nancy Battaglia: We are staggering our device purchases so I can make it a sustain- able budget line. We are starting our fourth year of 1-to-1 iPads, first through eighth grade. I’ve re-allocated tech funds by reduc- ing purchases in other areas. For example, we no longer have computer labs. I no longer have that as a budget item to refresh. I’ve taken those funds and moved them into my device refresh. Then I also sell back my devices at the end of our lifecycle of using them [to a third-party company], which now gives me almost a third of the cost
of the replacement units. That provides another area of funding. What’s helped as well is that Apple has come out with more competitive pricing over the last couple of years, which has reduced our overall costs as well. We’re looking at the perspective that we’re providing our students with the skills that will prepare them for college and careers by using technology and fostering those skills that students need in the work- place such as communication, collabora- tion, problem solving and creativity.
Pete Just: In terms of being financially sustainable, the answer is yes, because we planned for it to be. Anyone that got into this with a grant and thought, “Well, we’ll see how it goes; we’re not allocating dol- lars,” then it’s not financially sustainable. We’re a Google Chrome district, and what we’ve found is that the cost of devices has
come down from our budgeted amount substantially. What we’ve been able to do
is reduce the total cost all as we’ve moved through the process of rolling them out. It’s very financially sustainable to us, especially when you consider the heavy value. We’ve seen the teachers that have done the deep- est adoptions have the deepest testimonies of value. Even as a second-grade teacher, if you do reading in class and you want every- one to reflect and share what they thought about the reading, then you want them to respond to other students’ responses, if you do that live in class it’s a wonderful thing, but it’s going to take an hour. If you do
it virtually, it’s going to take 15 minutes. There’s a huge efficacy in that. If you’re trying to personalize instruction and trying to get student agency, you have to have op- tions for that. Devices provide options.
As states and districts grapple to implement accountability systems as part of ESSA, is the district CTO in a position to guide their thought process or decision-making?
Pete Just: When you look at ESSA, there certainly is an opportunity for chief technology officers to be a part of that conversation. I actually went to the hill this year to meet with our [Congressional] representatives about this. We’re getting a rare opportunity right now to create what [ESSA] will be. A lot of that does lie in the hands of our departments of education at the state level. But in the state of Indiana they’re asking us. They’re looking for input. They’re hoping to understand what our needs are. Certainly, some additional allocations we’ve seen in Title IV are go- ing to be very positive for technology. So
I do think that although it is very much
at the state level, there are opportunities for CTOs to be able to help with some of that thought process. The problem is that many times people don’t think of us as a good resource for those types of things. They’re looking just to the academic side of the house. There needs to an increased awareness of the contributions the CTO can make.
Ellen Dorr: There are ways we can help school teams look at their data and figure out how to act on it and then look back on the data to see if those actions have had impact.
Daniel Smith: In North Carolina we have Session Law 2013-11 House Bill 23,
a mandate that says districts need to do a better job of making sure their teachers are digitally competent. They’ve introduced a metric to measure digital competency in teachers. That’s going to be a challenge. Even if I’ve got some type of test or some type of course I can take you through to help you be a digitally competent person, how do I continue to show that over time? I can appreciate that someone in a govern- ment agency is asking school districts to make some effort and show some docu- mentation that people are growing around this particular area, but it’s hard. It’s like a floating dartboard. The darts don’t change but my targets are changing.
Does the growth of Google, Micro- soft and Amazon in education and all of their free tools that collect tons of student data concern you?
Nancy Battaglia: Yes. Student privacy and protecting student data is a topic that’s on most tech directors’ minds these days. Pro- tecting our students—especially our students under 13, which is the requirement under COPPA—we need to look at that. Not only
is it Google, Microsoft and Amazon, but it’s really any service that requires us to keep an account with identifiable information—with the student’s full name or their email address. The biggest thing that we’re working on is educating our teachers about what services they can use, looking at the privacy policies around those services, and then educating our families. Right now, we’re reviewing the Education Framework, [which helps with on- line student data privacy management]. We’re also looking at it from the larger perspective— what education technology organizations can do at the state and national levels to protect our students’ data and privacy through involvement in policy-making.

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