Happenings from Educational Technology: November 2015

Ed TechThis school year, the Educational Technology department has been able to complete two large projects in order to provide a standard model of instructional technology hardware resources for students and teachers in grades JK-12 across the district.

First, this year marks the completion of the 6-year instructional technology refresh cycle that systematically analyzed the teaching and learning needs at each grade span to identify the most appropriate hardware solution to match the curricular and developmental needs. Students in grades JK-2 have access to a class set of 5 iPads that allow them to interact with content through a touch screen, graphical interface best aligned to their fine motor skills and language development. Beginning in 3rd grade, students utilize Chromebooks as their primary resource to both access and evaluate information online, as well as, create and share original work through the Google Apps for Education suite and other online applications. The use of Chromebooks continues into the Upper Schools with the addition of Macs and Windows-based Thinkpads to supplement specialized curricular needs in the areas of VPA and Science. As students enter CRLS, they have familiarity with a variety of operating systems and online applications, which is expanded as they access computer labs with Windows-based desktops, specialty labs for VPA and World Languages, and carts of class sets of Chromebooks that are brought into the classrooms. With the completion of this first refresh cycle, this year will return focus to CRLS to identify current and future needs for technology.

Ed TechThe second project entailed installing interactive projectors in all remaining JK-5 core classrooms to ensure that all core classrooms across the district have access to interactive board technology to support enhance content delivery and integration. This project spanned several years, so there are a variety of models of interactive technology in classrooms, ranging from the earliest version of a SmartBoard to the latest technology of Epson Brightlink projectors. Although the hardware is different, the functionality and possibilities for interactive teaching and learning are similar, and complemented by a district level license for SMART Notebook software. This software allows teachers and students to create engaging lessons that capitalize on tools that enhance, expand, and allow for new ways to deliver and interact with content.

In addition to the completion of these two projects, the Educational Technology department is offering choice courses that provide professional development for teachers on how to effectively use this hardware to transform their classrooms. For additional information or support, please reach out to your school-based Instructional Technology Specialist or Library Technology Specialist.
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