At the end of every school year, it is natural to reflect on what transpired. Was it what you had expected? Pleasant and unpleasant surprises?
As a school district, we had one of the most transformational years that I have ever had the joy to be a part of. As detailed in August, we have been slowing transitioning to technology in the classroom, starting with iPads nearly 4 years ago. This fall, we bought a few classroom sets of chromebooks (Acer C740 specifically) for all the buildings in our district. We also implemented the Google Apps for Education district-wide, from the Superintendent’s office to the lunch lady.
Something that we did as a district that seemed to go over extremely well was the implementation of two different professional development days: A summer Google Apps Conference (held and administered in house) and a Google Play Date on one of our PD days during the school year. These two PD events not only exposed teachers to Google Apps, but gave them the resource of local teachers to be a sounding board for their tech adventures. It was amazing to see how various staff members developed their own uses for Google Apps, including: School Calendar by the Central Office, Spreadsheets by coaches for practice plans, Google Classroom as a Learning Management System (LMS), just to name a few.
Also as a district, we set a goal of all the staff getting Google Educator Level 1 Certified by the end of the year and ultimately about 80% of our staff got the level 1 certification (Two other staff members beside myself got level 2 certification – Kelly Blankenship and Lindsey Buckley)! Despite some of the aforementioned successes, we did have our share of failures. We implemented many of the tech advancements without first updating our infrastructure. Our wifi was spotty and awful which discouraged and frustrated staff and students (That was fixed though by 2nd semester due to E-Rate Funding and wifi upgrades by the district). Also, we didn’t have an easy way to monitor student use of the chromebooks, but once we discovered GoGuardian that problem was alleviated.
With all these successes and failures, we are now looking ahead to next year and the possibility of being in a 1:1 environment for the coming school year. Not only that, but we are putting on a technology conference on August 3rd, 2016 TechCampAG. This is a free tech conference for schools of all sizes or stages of tech implementation are welcomed. Also any and all to are encouraged to attend or present. If you are interested in presenting, feel free to fill out the following Presenter Form.
What has been your school’s adventure? How can we work together to impact this world as fellow educators and schools? We’d love to hear your story and ultimately let’s collaborate!