Professional development in the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Unified School District just got mobile, and we do not mean tablets. In May, the district rolled out a one-of-its-kind school bus that serves as a professional development site for teachers to become acquainted with new technology before it is introduced in the classroom. The purpose of the bus, which was dubbed eCoach, is to create an innovative environment for professional development and to deliver this technology seamlessly across all 31 schools in the district. The district partnered with Shore Tel, Discovery Education, Aruba Networks, and CCS Presentations, to name a few, to supply the bus with Internet service, a communications infrastructure, interactive whiteboards, document cameras and other technology.
“We want to introduce this to the teachers before doing a large-scale implementation,” says Tom Clark, chief technology officer at SUSD. According to Clark, eCoach’s exterior is hard to miss, and the bus serves as a great marketing tool for the district as it travels across the district’s 105-square-mile territory. Parents and students were invited on the bus during school open houses to see what kind of training teachers are now receiving and to give them an idea of what students can soon expect to see inside their own classrooms.