Monday, November 25, 2013

Legislative Update

Today I had the opportunity to participate the monthly Legislative Update webinar given by the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA). In today's webinar, Jennifer Bergland highlighted the State Board of Education's graduation requirements, the Instructional Material offerings for Technology Applications courses, and E-Rate.

Below is a link to my notes:

Legislative Update - 11.15.13 - My Notes

A lot of discussion centered around using the IMA funds for technology as well as the lack of offerings for Technology Applications Instructional Materials.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Which Technology is Right for Your School or District?

Notes from Tech Forum Texas 2013 #tltf13

Session Description:
Should you buy laptops, iPads, Chromebooks, Windows tablets or some other device for your teachers and students? Invest in multiple platforms? Go BYO and let them choose? In this session, you will hear several district administrators sharing their own stories about what purchasing choices they made – and more importantly, how and why they made them.

Steve Young (moderator, Judson ISD), Mary Ann Beseda (Spring ISD), Carl Hooker (Eanes ISD), Kevin Schwartz (Clear Creek ISD), Candace Threadgill (Klein ISD)

Question 1: What student device have you deployed in your district?

Klein ISD
·         Did a lot of planning prior to choosing a device
·         Curriculum drives the decision making
·         It has to do with functionality as well
·         Device has to be able to support all four core subject areas
·         Klein uses a PC tablet - this decision was made 6 years ago
·         They continue to use a PC tablet and support this decision
·         They have been successful and it works for them and their students

Eanes ISD
·         Have 1:1 iPads
·         Started in Library at High School
·         Began with 70 of them
·         They reviewed a variety of tablets, everything from HP tablets, Dell tablets
·         They interviewed and surveyed teachers  
·         Went K-12 last year with 1:1 iPad implementation

Spring ISD
·         Software drove hardware decision making process
·         Started with laptops
·         Didn't have bond to replace them
·         School went to BYOD and had laptops available for check out
·         They are a Google Apps for Ed district
·         They now have several thousand Chromebooks
·         A committee was formed and teachers came and make their pitch for the type of device they wanted
·         They got feedback from students as well

Question 2: What are important factors when choosing a device?

Klein ISD
·         Have a list of necessary items and important factors
·         Device has to be mobile; has to have long battery life; has to have touch and pen technology; cost is a factor; has to be durable and lightweight
·         Consider the students opinions
·         Need good warranty
·         Need good AUP to support device roll out
·         Have to be able to last 5 years

Clear Creek ISD
·         It was what the community wanted - that was a major factor
·         Started around increasing wireless capacity in district
·         Did a lot of planning and listened to/surveyed a lot of people
·         Had many vendors come in
·         It was a very transparent process
·         Narrowed decision down to Apple and Dell Latitude and chose the Dell Latitude because that device best met the needs of what they were planning on using the devices for

Eanes ISD
·         Personalization was a factor
·         Long battery life
·         Wanted what community had in homes and what the community was already familiar with

Spring ISD
·         Sustainability and supportability are important  
·         There aren’t a large number of technicians in the district
·         The device has to work well with applications already in use in the district
·         Since they are Google Apps for Ed district, the Chromebook was the most logical choice for them

Question 3: What about access? Wireless connection?

Klein ISD
·         The community helps ; they provide hot spots for the students

Clear Creek ISD
·         They conducted survey and 95% had broadband
·         Digital Wish and other donations help (  
·         Campuses built scholarship; they raise money and the funds go to help other students who don’t have access

Question 4: What do you think a common problem is with 1:1 deployment? What hiccups have you run into?

Spring ISD
·         Teachers were not ready for the devices
·         They didn’t know how to teach with them
·         At the beginning, teachers would tell students to turn off Chromebook while instruction was occurring

Klein ISD
·         Have a plan and work your plan
·         There will always be hiccups with technology
·         Try to foresee these problems in your plan and then deal with them when they arise
·         If need be, change the plan and continue to work it

Spring ISD
·         Tried Lenovo Chromebook in Elementary Schools
·         Tried Dell Latitude in Middle Schools
·         Use HD Nook for High School – mainly for periodicals
·         It depends on how you are going to use the device
·         Use a variety of devices - the ones that works the best and needs the least amount of maintenance

Eanes ISD
·         It’s how you respond to the failure that is key
·         Mistakes will happen

Question 5: Is security a problem? Are the devices filtered? Locked-down?

Klein ISD
·         When at home, they are filtered through Klein
·         They Erate a lot of things

Eanes ISD
·         Some parents have them take off the Eanes filter at home
·         The parent piece is huge
·         Every district needs to have plan in place - Do you want to send the devices home? Do you want to provide a filter?

Question 6: What about teacher training?

Klein ISD
·         Teachers get tablets ahead of time
·         A lot of training occurs
·         Teachers help other teachers
·         You have to have everyone on board with the idea from the Superintendent to the Custodian because everyone plays a role in it

Eanes ISD
·         Have Instructional Tech Specialist at every campus
·         This helps and is key with teacher training
·         The campus administrator is key as well; they push this and set the expectations for the teachers

Spring ISD
·         Have 2 Instructional Techs for the entire district
·         They go above and beyond the call of duty
·         They do a lot by example and model for other teachers

Question 7: What are you doing to assess the impact of the program on teaching and learning?

Spring ISD
·         Teachers come back and do presentations

Clear Creek ISD
·         Depth of learning, breadth of learning, time of learning
·          Learning is three dimensional so this is hard to answer

Klein ISD
·         It’s all about access and being able to provide more access

Thank you to all for sharing your knowledge and experience. I think Carl summed it up best when he said, “When you limit it to one device, then you limit yourself and your students.”