As we look forward to an exciting new year of technology-enabled learning, District CIO reached out to superintendents to find out what their chief technology priority is for 2013. From hardware rollouts to more training on how to use technology, districts countrywide are putting heavy emphasis on adding or upgrading technology for the purpose of creating a better student experience. Here’s a sampling of what school districts are focusing on this year.
Michele Hancock, superintendent, Kenosha (Wis.) Unified School District No. 1
“Our number-one technology-related initiative for 2013 is to begin the migration toward the proposed statewide student information system, including the ever-growing amount of student data for promoting personalized learning. Moving from the data silo landscape to a comprehensive learner profile tool should greatly enhance awareness and intervention strategies, empowering the staff, students, and parents. This major transformation will entail a mind-shift for many educators as curriculum assets become more prevalent and varied, and additional resources will need to be allocated for utilizing these diagnostic tools.
Sarah Jerome, superintendent, Arlington Heights (Ill.) Elementary District 25
“This year, we’re focusing on helping teachers gain a deep understanding of the relationships between technology pedagogy and content knowledge and what designing student-driven projects looks like, through our TPaCK (Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge) framework. The TPaCK framework drives teaching and learning decisions. Our next steps include designing the projects, reflecting on them, and then refining them. This is an iterative process. We’re also increasing the variety of delivery methods for professional development to meet staff needs, including online options, video tutorials, one-to-one sessions, and action research groups.
Steven Murley, superintendent, Iowa City (Iowa) Community District
The Iowa City Community District will be spending 2013 getting all its buildings on its fiber network, increasing bandwidth to 1 gigabyte and getting all classrooms outfitted with a standard technology package, which includes a smartboard, projector, and document camera.
Donna Van Horn, Chief School Administrator, Weymouth Township School, Dorothy, (NJ)
The Weymouth Township School’s number one technology-related initiative for 2013 is a complete upgrade of all student-use computers (classroom and lab), along with a shift from purchase to lease. Our current computer lab has four-year-old refurbished desktops that do not meet the PARCC Assessment standards. We intend to upgrade the lab and push the current units out to the classrooms. We are exploring lease options to provide us with a better way of financing technology upgrades. A lease would spread the cost out equally over four years as opposed to one large purchase every four years. We continue to struggle with limited and unreliable cable/cell access here in Weymouth. For that reason, we cannot move forward with a tablet program at this time.
Martha Liddell, superintendent, Columbus (Miss.) Municipal School District
“Presently, we do not have 1:1 student computing at Columbus Middle School or Columbus High School. My goal for 2013-2014 is to have 1:1 computing in all nine of my district schools through a partnership with Google in Education where we are distributing Google Chromebooks and accessories. I have also been in communication with Capstone Digital about establishing a digital literacy partnership for our “Read Across Columbus” summer literacy initiative, designed to increase reading and raise literacy test scores, with public schools, private schools, and home schoolers reading together online through the Capstone program. By successfully raising our literacy test scores this next school year, I am certain other Mississippi school districts will follow our lead.