Week 11: What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

Our district has an Acceptable Use and Internet Access Policy, and a new Technology Plan. The Acceptable Use Policy describes in some detail seven expectations of using the school network, and eight activities that are prohibited.  Here is the link to the PDF file.  The 2016 Technology Plan (draft) describes “Continual Technology Planning”, which is comprised of a Strategic component and an Operational component.  The Strategic component lists two areas of focus, Equitable Access and Learning Opportunities.  Equitable Access contains three goals.

  • Access to Technology Resources for Students
  • Access to Adequate Staff Technology Infrastructure
  • Access to Broadband

Learning Opportunities contains three goals as well.

  • Current Curriculum and Instructional Practices
  • Blended and Distance Learning
  • Personalized Learning

The Operational component of the Technology Plan describes four goals for this coming school year.  The first describes the transition from Mac hardware to Chromebooks for students (goal of 1:1).  The second describes the reconfiguration of tech staff to support school needs.  The third goal describes the district’s support of personalized, blended, and online learning.  This includes support of competency based mastery and project based learning, as well as establishing dual credit options with post-secondary institutions. The last goal describes how to implement ongoing professional development to support technology use.

This is the current state of affairs, so to speak.  To be honest, if I didn’t have open communication with our IT Director, I would not know any of this!  But this is the upcoming plan in our district concerning technology.  I hope I am not speaking out of line in describing this plan.  It had been reviewed, but not been approved, by our school board.

As you can see, it describes quite an array of goals, but how does it stack with national policy recommendations?  According to K-12 Blueprint, policies should be written in the context of the following. (2016)

Screen Shot 2016-07-26 at 7.56.57 AM.png

I would have to venture and say that most of these considerations have been taken into account.  It was interesting to read that our district plans to incorporate three learning strategies via technology:  personalized learning, blended learning, and online learning.  Although these are not strictly emerging technologies, they do utilize technology.

How will our district prepare for current and emerging technology use?  I believe the network infrastructure is in place, teachers need to explore the many emerging technologies available currently.  Want a list?  Here goes… from NMC Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition Wiki. (2016)

Consumer Technologies

3D Video, Drones, Electronic Publishing, Quantified Self, Robotics, Telepresence, Wearable Technology

Digital Strategies

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), Flipped Classroom, Location Intelligence, Makerspaces, Preservation & Conservation Technologies

Internet Technologies

Cloud Computing, Bibliometrics and Citation Technologies, Networked Objects, Semantic Web and Linked Data, Syndication Tools

Learning Technologies

Adaptive Learning Technologies, Digital Badges, Learning Analytics, Mobile Learning, Online Learning, Open Licensing, Virtual and Remote Laboratories

Social Media Technologies

Crowdsourcing, Online Identity, Social Networks, Virtual Worlds

Visualization Technologies

3D Printing, Augmented Reality, Information Visualization, Virtual Reality, Visual Data Analysis, Volumetric and Holographic Displays

Enabling Technologies

Affective Computing, Electrovibration, Flexible Displays, Machine Learning, Mesh Networks, Mobile Broadband, Natural User Interfaces, Near Field Communication, Next-Generation Batteries, Open Hardware, Speech-to-Speech Translation, Virtual Assistants, Wireless Power

Limiting factors to exploring any of these emerging technologies are cost, and time available to engage in learning any of these areas, along with your current teaching duties!  But you can use most of these in any learning environment.  It’s always great to use some new technology to spice up a lesson, or project.

Another area that needs consideration is digital content.  The State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) has written a report on the emergence of digital content for learning and lists its recommendations for shifting from traditional print-based materials.  I makes sense to review digital content with different “eyes” than print material.  With available digital content rising each year, educators need to have policy in place to review these as well.  SETDA lists five recommendations for states and districts to follow concerning digital content, especially to ensure quality of digital materials.  I believe the era of print-based materials are waning, and we need solid policy on approving, and being able to use digital materials.

As with any new technology, it’s very important to start small and build from there.  There are truly too many technologies to explore for one individual, and some of them are very expensive indeed.  With the support of the district, one could suggest an emerging technology that will support student learning and the mission of the schools.  Another aspect, and probably the most important, as with any new endeavor, it starts with a motivated teacher!

References

Policy and Leadership. (2016) K-12 Blueprint. Retrieved from https://www.k12blueprint.com/toolkits/policy

Ensuring the Quality of Digital Content for Learning Recommendations for K12 Education. (2015).[PDF]  SETDA. Retrieved from http://www.setda.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Digital_brief_3.10.15c.pdf

NMC Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition Wiki. (2016). NMC Horizon Project. Retrieved from http://k12.wiki.nmc.org/

ACCEPTABLE USE AND INTERNET ACCESS PERMISSION LETTER TO PARENTS AND STUDENTS. (2016) KGBSD [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.kgbsd.org/Page/3002

 

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5 thoughts on “Week 11: What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

  1. Wow, really good information! I love how you grounded your discussion in your experience with your own district’s tech policy. Your discussion of the policy by categories was also really helpful for my understanding of the components, since when all is said and done, it is a huge document! I too wonder how districts can disseminate the information from these documents so that all stakeholders are aware of them- they really don’t do us a lot of good if no one knows they’re there, right?!

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  2. Gerald,
    Great minds think alike, we used the same graphic images. Although I am a big mac fan, I think that move from mac products to Chromebooks to ensure your students have a one-to-one ratio is a great move. I am sure the decision was thought of in all aspects as you have mentioned. Although the laptops come at a cheaper price, the functionality of the devices will be sufficient for the students. I do think that laptops will open more opportunities for learning.

    Josie

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  3. Gerald,

    Equitable access to broadband is so important. In our school, it seems to me the best way for this is to improve our wifi access in the classrooms and to continue to increase to higher speed access, especially for high demand times. Student resources in my mind includes not only devices to use, but human resources for using computers and iPads in ways never before considered in our school (arduino and electronic coding training, as well as creative and artistic applications).

    Blended distance learning in our school needs a designated person to oversee student progress. When this is added to classroom teachers in middle through high school, it is like teaching two classes at one time. The problem with this for our secondary teachers is that they are already teaching multiple subject areas throughout their day. Until we reach the point of interdisciplinary instruction, adding to the plate of our upper level teachers is too much to ask. Maybe I will be the designated person; who knows. Each year is a bit different for me.

    Aleta

    Like

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