Technology Decisions in your school

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Bevans1, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Bevans1

    Bevans1 New Member

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    Jun 11, 2015

    Hello everyone!

    I am a big proponent of technology incorporated into the learning process. I believe that one day every kid in America will have a laptop, tablet, or phone that they learn off of. I think it's the best way for kids to learn at their own place, and there is great software available for curriculum, productivity and teacher control. This is a trend that has really been catching on in recent years and I can't wait to see how quickly it takes off.

    But with this trend, it can often be tough for school districts to approve and can take a lot of time and agreement on a lot of different levels in a district. I am wondering how changes take place in your school or district. How many people have a say in the decision making process? Have any of you seen or tried to make a change in the technology available to your students and if so, how difficult was it? Was price a huge factor, and was the CFO of the district involved?

    I am just asking questions that are popping in my mind, but I am really just trying to get a conversation going about adopting digital learning in school.
    Thanks guys!
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jun 11, 2015

    We have a computer lab, but no in-class technology. I have a couple of tablets because I applied for and received a grant. I'd LOVE to have more tech in my classroom. It is something teachers have been given no chance to provide input on. Decisions are made higher up, and I don't know who has the final say.
     
  4. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Jun 11, 2015

    I can make requests for items in my classroom. It goes to a committee who votes on what each teacher will get, then it has to be approved by administration as well as others above him. This is specific to special education, general education is not likely to have a similar system.

    I work for a great school with a 1:1 iPad program. To get to this point, the principal had to write a grant and get the board of education to approve it.
     
  5. SleekTeach

    SleekTeach Comrade

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    Jun 11, 2015

    Every student at my school has an iPad and grades 3-5 all have laptops as well...I guess it's a blessing, but to be honest, sometimes I feel like it's a cop out for days when I really just don't feel like teaching. I don't use them often. Also, the kids are so tech savvy and know how to get on to any apps they like that may or may not have anything to do with learning, even my first graders.
     
  6. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Jun 11, 2015

    I was told at the beginning of this year that our department was getting a class set of Chromebooks. Two other departments got them, but ours never came. In August I was told "September" and in September I was told "December" and then I just got a shrug and "Haven't heard anything" after that. Not sure what happened there.
    I'm inheriting 22 rather old and abused laptops when I move to a different classroom next year. They have large chunks of missing keys, so there are 22 separate keyboards to plug in and use with them. It's not the best, but it's something! Our computer labs have been taken over by online college classes, and the media center lab is always booked solid a month in advance, so I'm excited to have the beat up old laptops!
    We do have Smart Boards in just about every classroom now.
    I think every classroom should BE a "computer lab" at this point. It's time.
     
  7. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I don't think technology is the best method for all students. Even when the day comes that we are all plugged in, I will still have to have small group instruction.

    We generally are given two choices and we pick one. At least we are given that much consideration.
     
  8. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jun 11, 2015

    ICAM!
     
  9. lucygray

    lucygray New Member

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    Jun 12, 2015

    In my school we have a computer lab but we don't have class room lab. Me and my team suggest that there must be a smart whiteboard and a computer in the class room, so that we can save our time and can engage the students.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Jun 12, 2015

    I'm in a technology-rich school. Every HS student has a laptop. Several of our younger grades have 1:1 tablets, but I'm not sure which grades.

    Those of us who use the technology a lot are consulted about tech decisions, but our opinions don't weigh as much as our tech facilitators or admin. I guess I'm okay with that. It's nice to be asked, and sometimes they agree.

    I wish there was a push from admin to get more teachers to use the technology. That's probably not a popular idea, though.
     
  11. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    Jun 12, 2015

    We are our state's technology pilot school. Actually, we pilot every new program, technology or not, the state and district buy. We even have spectacular programs to assist students in learning. Here's the problem: there can be too much technology, and they are a tool. That's it.

    A computer, a program, or any other type of technology cannot take the place of a quality teacher. They are tools to assist in long term learning goals, but when we try to replace quality educators with learning tools, we find out fast and furiously that it fails.

    Being in such a technology rich environment and the school that gets to decide which technologies make it out of the starting gate and which don't, means that I have seen firsthand the spectacular fail it is when programs replace people.
     
  12. Bevans1

    Bevans1 New Member

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    @ku_alum That's awesome! every HS student has a laptop? Your school is very ahead of the curve.

    How did your school get this program? Did it come out the district or from your IT department at your school? Did it need superintendent or board approval? How long did it take to implement this plan?
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jun 12, 2015

    Technology can be good, but it shouldn't ever replace instruction. I've seen people attempt to use it to replace instruction and it never works. You can't just plop a kid in front of Khan academy or other programs (even the ones that match up to a kids level) and expect them to learn the entire curriculum.

    I have also seen teachers who expect technology to somehow naturally engage students. It may be engaging for a moment, but that wears off as soon as kids realize that work on a computer is still work.

    I am a tech leader at our school. I get consulted frequently about what tech to purchase, and how to train teachers to become more tech savvy. (sometimes they take my advice, sometimes they don't)

    One thing that's important to remember is that sometimes the best tech tool to teach a lesson is to not use technology at all. If it doesn't make a lesson better, don't use it. However that's not an excuse teachers who are adamant against using any technology in the classroom, simply because they don't want to have to learn how to use it. Technology can greatly improve instruction in certain ways. Me personally, I prefer a mixed approach. Most of what we do is on paper, but we will break out Chromebooks to use simulators, design presentations, or videos, or do research.
     
  14. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Jun 12, 2015

    At my school each student has a chrome book. I use them daily in my middle school classes.
     
  15. ktdclark

    ktdclark Comrade

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    Jun 13, 2015

    My district (k-8) went 1:1 this past December.
    Grades 3-8 have chromebooks.
    Grades k-2 have HP Slates.

    They also offered an optional course for teachers (for a stipend) to complete 8 modules where we had to create lessons around a tech feature/app. Learned a lot!

    I had my second graders on their slates a few times a week. We used them for learning games during center time, and then research projects.

    Our biggest barrier was bandwidth. The District rewired all the schools and it created a huge mess--we had tech black out blocks which was frustrating teachers and kids alike. But I am hoping next year all the kinks will be figured out and we will be ready to go in August!
     
  16. shoebottom

    shoebottom Companion

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    Jun 14, 2015

    I am the only teacher in my school to have any type of technology in the classroom, besides a Mimio. I have 4 Chromebooks and 2 more that I will get when school starts. I also have a Samsung Galaxy Pro. I received all of those from Donors Choose. Our school district is having major budget problems, so I went looking for money to supply my classroom. I have tried to get other teachers on board, so far no one have wanted to.
     
  17. adeeb

    adeeb Rookie

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    Jun 15, 2015

    One district that I recently talked to has a technical committee comprising the Technical Director, the Superintendent, and several teachers representing all grades K - 12. I would guess that there are 8 - 12 members of this committee. The committee made technical decisions for the district, so I believe that is how they decided which devices and software to use. I'm not sure what influence they had, if any, in budgeting. This district is probably out of the norm, though, because it's tiny (340 total students, K - 12).

    I've talked to quite a few teachers who use Google Apps (Docs, Drive, etc.) for submitting papers. Do you also use your Chromebooks for submissions such as lab reports?
     
  18. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I do not. I've used it for one essay project we wrote this year, and I actually created a pretty good workflow for that, but otherwise I like to use paper for a number of reasons. (I do collect everything digitally in my elective class though so I have experience with both)

    1. It's MUCH easier to grade and return. I personally hate staring at the computer to grade things.
    2. Kids don't usually log back in to see the comments on their work, but they will probably at least check their grade on a piece of paper.
    3. It's easier for kids to organize their papers in a physical binder, and actually use them for review. I don't find kids reviewing their digital work as much.
    4. Certain kids will just not get how to turn in a digital assignment. After explaining it multiple times.
    5. It's tough for me to collect and organize things online.
    6. Our lab reports involve drawing things, and creating data tables. I feel it's much more intuitive for them to draw them by hand. Maybe when they get older, doing it on the computer would be helpful. I'd probably require it of them if they were in High School.

    I've searched for many different apps and things that might make a paperless classroom work better. There's just not much out there that's really good, and works with the stuff we have.
     
  19. Horper

    Horper New Member

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    Aug 13, 2015

    I am at a school that has changed to classroom software (LanSchool from Stoneware) because it fit our goals perfectly of really engaging students in the learning space. The school board was great in getting funding for the transition and it was pretty seamless. It is important that the software chosen matches your goals as a school and school district but if it does match then it can be approved pretty quickly.
     
  20. Mami1Maestra2

    Mami1Maestra2 Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2015

    The more technology there is, the less inclined I am to be on board. The thought of students staring into screens the majority of the time and not interacting makes me uneasy. It could just be that my district is pushing technology, but doesn't make it a requirement that technology teachers are hired to meet the demands. General ed teachers in my school are the technology teachers. While that may be nice for some, I'm disinterested in adding yet another non-negotiable to my already mandate-burdened plate.
     
  21. Mami1Maestra2

    Mami1Maestra2 Rookie

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    Aug 13, 2015

    Absolutely love this! I like the balance and the autonomy to use technology as a resource. I use quite a bit of technology in my classroom, but I always teach the students the concepts and use technology as practice or review...never in place of instruction! I'm a proponent of less screen time, more social interactions.
     
  22. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Aug 13, 2015

    Technology has its place, but it needs to enhance, not take over. Kids get enough "screen time" as it is. There is definitely such a thing as too much technology.

    With that said, I have a cart of netbooks that sits in my classroom, for my grade level. Officially, they are only meant for testing. But yeah... I'm not going to have 32 computers sit in my room that only get used for tests. I'd say that at least a few of them get used daily, and on average, once a week they get used by my whole class.
     

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