It is the last day of August just before the nice 3 day labor day weekend. I have a few minutes before tasks and I thought I would be a good time to reflect on my summer! (with the district) My edtech summer can basically be summed up in 3 words: Infrastructure, Devices, and Development.
This was certainly a year for infrastructure upgrades! In preparation and planning for 1:1 and PLD it was apparent we needed the infrastructure to support these devices.
- Internet Bandwidth – Upgraded from 45MB to 100MB pipe to the Internet. Our plans are that we may have to double every year to support online learning in our classrooms.
- Access Points. We have nearly doubled our coverage in our schools and have upgraded many of our AP’s to the Cisco Aironet 3600i AP’s. More throughput and coverage for more devices at longer distances. Also will be upgradable when the new AC standard comes out!
- Apple Mobile Device Manager Server – With a 1:1 7th grade program we needed to be able to control and monitor the devices remotely. Right now, I think the Apple’s server will do – but I am always looking for other alternatives. I am already planning for “what happens next year” and adding additional iPad 1:1 grade levels.
- More POE switches – We needed to add Power Over Ethernet switches (1GB) in several of our buildings to support the additional APs.
- Wireless Lan Controller #2 – We needed another controller (50 client) to support our additional AP’s.
- Moodle Server – Our district made the jump to the latest version of Moodle. 2.3 from 1.9. The interface is different -but also much improved. We also can easily integrate cloud storage from Google Apps, Dropbox, Box.net – which will be critical for the classroom workflow when using iPads or other PLDs.
- PRI Circuits. We have moved our phone system from many many spendy analog lines to 2 PRI circuits saving us thousands of dollars each year, including no more long distance bills.
- Asset Management – We now have the ability to track our inventory through our helpdesk system. We started the year tracking iPads but plan on putting every device in the system and associate them with users/classrooms. No more spreadsheets – YEAH!
Even though this felt like a year for iPad deployment, we also had quite a few desktop and laptops we deployed. We still have some needs for our curricular programs to have desktops. And as of now – we also have to ensure we have spots available for testing! However, word out on the street is that our State testing program may be creating an APP for the iPad. If/When that happens, I do believe the idea of a “computer lab” will be antiquated and current replacement funding will be studies to support more 1:1.
- 3 Computer labs (Project Lead the Way and 2 Business Labs)
- 360 + iPads
- Approx 12 laptops (new hires/replacement schedule)
We can not forget that people need to not only need to know how to RUN the devices we have given them – but also how to effectively integrate them into their classrooms.
- iPad Training for 1:1 teachers – We have several 1:1 pilots happening in our district. 1 cart in Kindergarten classroom, 1 cart in a 2nd grade classroom, 1 cart in a high school FACS classroom, and a 1:1 in 7th grade – We had Jenn Nelson of Eden Prairie come down 3 days to help faciliate training/discussions in using the iPads in a 1:1 environment. I think the toughest scenario will be utilizing the iPads in a multi-user environment (FACS) They simply are not made to be multi-user devices. At any rate – we needed to prepare our staff for these devices.
- eLearning Certification – I have developed a 6 week certification program for district teachers who want to teach online or develop hybrid courses for our district. We now have a board approved process in which teachers must follow before being allowed to teach hybrid. It starts with the certification. This course is not just about how to do Moodle (even though they will learn how to do Moodle) – it is more about how to facilitate online learning – Developing quality online resources, activities, and assessments according to course objectives while building collaboration among students is the main focus of this course. They have a peer review sample ready to go upon completing the course.
- Bears Professional Growth Academy – Another great academy took place this year! Attendance is between 60- 70% of Byron Teachers that VOLUNTARILY attend. Right now we have accumulated over 1300 hours of PD for our staff as well as others from other districts Check out our PGA archive!
- Digital Learning Coaches – Of all the projects we have accomplished this year – I would have to say I am MOST excited about this one. We have always done a very good job preparing our teachers for technology, but not a good job helping with the implementation. This is our answer to what others call “Tech Integrationalists”. Here is the video “all call” I sent to my staff and we were fortunate to have quite a response from district teachers! We plan on utilizing the FlippedPD idea and were fortunate to have Kristin Daniels and Wayne Feller (StillWater Public Schools) to help kick off the coach training! I have some incredibly eager teachers who are very engaged on helping EVERY classroom (PK-12) effectively integrate technology to support teaching and learning! We started the school year with a visit to every school share the processin developing our own teacher Digital Learning Network. It was AWESOME and one of my PROUDEST moments for the district!
I sincerely hope all of the summer of installs and planning pay off – and this school year is one of my best….EVER~!