The Future Ready Technology Plan, developed in partnership with Curriculum and Instruction, encapsulates areas of need and unique opportunities to advance technology programs. At the same time, the Plan acknowledges the inextricable, and essential, link across curriculum, instruction, technology and the classroom to invest in the development of future-ready students and leaders.
[...Technology] empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn't think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential. The technology, the software, it doesn't do anything – it enables people do things they didn't think they could do. - Steve Ballmer, Microsoft
In a review of Gartner's Hype Cycle for Education research from 2016 and 2018, the District has regularly been seated at the point of innovation. From 3-D printing in our LMCs, digital assessments, to the use of learning analytics and the 1:1 initiative, we are often bringing forward solutions before they implemented by other districts. With the culmination of the Plan resource and our Promise statement, Technology Services is prepared to embark on the next three years of our technology innovation adventure to support all students in achieving their greatest potential.
Gartner is a business leader in insights and research across a variety of industries, including education. From their 2018 analysis, several business trends are directly impacting K-12 education. The following are issues that must come in to focus for K-12 education and technology leaders1, as a result of their impact on student outcomes:
- Increasing awareness among K-12 organization leaders that simply "adding digital" to the environment does not constitute business transformation;
- Recognition of research to review defining approaches to optimize the education environment for student success, including a much broader view of student needs; and
- Advances in technology that are enabling creative instructional models and opportunities for greater insight into data.
In developing the Future Ready Technology plan, Technology Services considered each of these factors to identify a set of guiding principles. The following principles focused our efforts around the opportunity that new technologies, and renewing investment in current technologies, bring to empowering the District to meet its Goals:
- Future Ready 204. With a focus on flexible delivery of instruction and assessment, we will support students to build life and work skills.
- Easy Access to Information. The District will have easy access to information and facilities whenever they need it, whenever and wherever they are, using the tool/feature to deliver best.
- Security-Focused. On-going identification, classification, delivery, and promotion of security and digital protection from unauthorized or inadvertent access, while not creating unnecessary barriers to conduct District business.
Developing the Plan
We completed the following stages in the development of the Future Ready Technology Plan:
Technology Services Annual Update
During the annual update provided in September 2018, Adam Smeets, Chief Technology Officer, introduced the need for the developing a Future Ready Technology Plan which would provide strategic direction and an implementation roadmap for District technology initiatives. With foundations in personalized learning and Future Ready Schools, we formulated a process for developing the Plan with District voices.
Beliefs and Perceptions Survey
November – December 2018
Beginning on November 9th, 2018, Technology Services distributed surveys to students (grades 6 - 12), direct instruction staff, and a random sample of 15% of District families. Over the two-week response period, we received 1,958 responses from students, families, and teachers. Questions focused on a respondent’s beliefs and perceptions on the following topics:
- Prioritization of District technologies
- District 1:1 Issued Devices
- Digital Citizenship
- Classroom Technologies
- Community Education and Development
- Technology and Learning Methodologies
- Online Safety and Internet Responsibility
- Open Feedback on Technology Services
To identify our 15% random sample, Technology Services started by gathering a list of all students from grades 6 - 12 and their parent/guardians (P/G). In cases where students had multiple P/G, our list was filtered to one P/G per student. The list was further limited to an individual P/G per family, even if they have multiple children. This prevented a P/G from potentially receiving multiple surveys. From this list (N=17,213), the RAND() Excel function was assigned to each remaining row to assign a random string of numbers to each P/G. Once sorted by random number, the top 15% were selected for the survey (N=2,582). From this, 444 family responses were received, representing a 17% response rate from the pool.
1:1 Principal Meetings
January – April 2019
The Chief Technology Officer met with each District principal to discuss our Office 365 email migration, upcoming projects, school-specific technology needs and to gather feedback for the Future Ready Technology Plan. These meetings provided a primer for the local context and information about the similarity and difference in technological needs across each of the grade level(s).
In-Person Focus Groups
February – April 2019
Partnering with Kathy Pease, Chief Academic Officer, Adam and Kathy met with a variety of District staff, including teachers, special education, Assistant Principals, Student Service Coordinators, LMC Directors, C & I Directors, Technology Services staff, STEPS and Instructional Technologists, for ten in-person focus groups. These focus groups focused on better understanding of current successes, opportunities, and uses of technology tools. For each group we reviewed each of the following areas:
- Devices and Resources, including classroom technologies
- Coursework, including successes with technology and computational thinking
- Knowledge and Training, including learning and professional development
- Partnerships, including digital citizenship, classroom engagement and showcasing work; and
- Exploration with a focus on “what if” scenarios related to the digital divide, “connectedness” and opportunities to support the District.
Online Focus Groups
November – December 2018
The online focus groups provided an opportunity for District staff, families and their children to explore the opportunities and possibilities for technology. Participants were encouraged to consider "what's possible" rather than "what's available." Through a series of optional questions, participants had the opportunity to provide feedback on the same areas as our in-person focus groups.
As of April 2nd, 400 individuals participated in the online focus group, with 60% completing all ten questions. The focus group pool included 96% self-identified parent/guardian and 18% community member status.
The following are the goals that will guide the projects and efforts in Technology Services from 2019-2022. Our current projects and initiatives in support of these goals are available by clicking here.
Goal 1: Collaboration and Communication
The District is looking for opportunities to collaborate and engage in ways other than e-mail. Shifting to a more agile approach, while ensuring safety, provides opportunities for Technology Services to be more responsive to the needs for engagement. This goal supports the development, implementation, advancement and on-going support of tools that enable holistic District collaboration and communication.
Goal 2: Anytime, Anywhere, Future Ready
Greater than 90% of the District community who responded to our surveys and focus groups identify the value of technology in the preparation of students for future success. In support of Future Ready 204 and Portrait of a Graduate, Technology Services needs to ensure that data and resources are available on-demand, anytime, anywhere. This goal will reinforce and support the innovation, development, and work of our District staff and students for critical thinking and problem-solving skills with “just-in-time” access for learning and engagement.
Goal 3: Rethinking Learning Space Design
Our focus groups identified increasing feedback from teachers and students that wanted a classroom with flexible seating with opportunities to be “untethered from the front of the room.” In addition to C&I’s work with learning space design, Flea Market Flip Your Classroom and flexible seating, Technology Services needs to evaluate adjustments to a traditional model. This goal will support the development and implementation of a set of technology hardware and software options for classrooms, teachers, and students to support teaching and learning.
Goal 4: Community and Global Connections
From our parent and community online focus groups and surveys, we received a clear call to action for providing increased opportunities for families to learn more about technologies like their child’s Chromebook. This goal will bridge technology connections between the District, our Schools and the community using technology to support growing technology literacy in the community.
Goal 5: Online Safety, Security and Responsibility
The largest growing trend for CIO/CTO’s across all industries is cybersecurity. As threats increase for data security, the role of each user is even more critical in protecting the District and the community. This goal will promote, provide and facilitate an innovative and education-focused approach for technology security. This includes administrative procedures, training, and technology implementations.
Goal 6: Unified Self-Service and Support
In partnership with Curriculum and Instruction, Human Resources, Student Services, Business Services, and other units, technology serves as a vital link across data and access to information. This goal will deliver and support a District-wide unified approach for one-stop access to data, information, and support.
Goal 7: Digital Equity and Beyond Access
As referenced in District goals, Technology Services has taken and will continue to take, an intentional lens toward reducing the digital equity gap. This goal will support digital equity and make steps to reduce the homework gap further.