Instructional Technology. Strategic Plan

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1 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan Durham District School Board

2 Acknowledgements The process of developing a strategic plan for instructional technology requires input from a significant number of stakeholder groups and individuals. Because of the technical nature of the discussion, the process also requires a significant amount of technical learning on the part of participants. The discussion and contributions from the Instructional Technology Ad Hoc Committee as well as from members of the Programs Services Department Computer Facilitator Team have been instrumental in the creation of this document. The following individuals are recognized and thanked for their leadership, contribution and participation in the Instructional Ad Hoc Committee: Joe Allin, Ad Hoc Committee Chair Trustee, Townships of Brock and Uxbridge Michael Barrett, Trustee City of Oshawa Paul Crawford, Trustee City of Pickering Donna Edwards, Trustee Town of Ajax Yvonne Forbes, Trustee Town of Ajax Larry Jacula, Trustee City of Oshawa Christine Winters, Trustee Town of Whitby Kim Zeppieri, Trustee Town of Whitby Martyn Beckett, Director of Education Luigia Ayotte, Superintendent of Education Programs Services John Beatty, Superintendent of Education Brock, Uxbridge and Scugog Schools Doug Crichton, Superintendent of Education Special Education Edward Hodgins, Superintendent of Education Business Jeannine Joubert, Superintendent of Education Oshawa Schools Lisa Millar, Superintendent of Education Pickering Schools Richard Kennelly, Secondary Principal Tim Ralph, Program Services Department Education Officer for Technology Gert Rosenau, Elementary Principal Wilson Chan, Manager of Technical Services Shirley Yourkevich, Manager of Application Development and Support Copyright Information: ISTE Nets for Administrators: National Educational Technology Standards for Administrators 2009, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), All rights reserved. ISTE NETS FOR STUDENTS: National Educational Technology Standards for Students, Second Edition 2007, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), All rights reserved. ISTE NETS FOR TEACHERS: National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers, Second Edition 2008, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education), All rights reserved.

3 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan Executive Summary 1. Instructional Technology in Durham The Present a. District Goal Setting and Visioning for the use of Instructional Technology b. Centrally Provisioned Hardware c. Software for Instructional Purposes 2. Pilots and Consultation 3. Broad Technology Considerations a. Network Infrastructure b. Hardware Considerations c. Software Considerations d. Human Resources/Departmental Responsibilities 4. The Five Cogs of Instructional Technology: An Organizational Framework a. Digital Citizenship b. Doorway to Information c. Technology at the Point of Instruction d. Technology at the Point of Learning e. Technology in Professional Practice 5. Summary of Major Recommendations and Projected Target Dates 6. Supporting Documentation a. ISTE NETS for Administrators b. ISTE NETS for Students c. ISTE NETS for Teachers Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

4 Executive Summary The Instructional Technology Plan is intended to stimulate and support best practice in both teacher and student use of today s technology for the purpose of improving student achievement. In 2010, a Trustee Ad Hoc Committee was created to discuss technology initiatives in the district, review current technology provisioning, explore the use of new technologies and analyze current instructional technology use and training. The committee met from 2010 to 2012, providing input into the creation of this plan. The committee has approved the plan that accompanies this summary. The Instructional Technology Ad Hoc Committee believes that: all students can benefit from a learning environment in which technology is used to provide instruction, where students use technology to reach outside their classrooms to access meaningful information and where technology is used by students to create, analyze, collaborate and communicate technology must be meaningfully integrated into classroom environments technology must be implemented in ways which are equitable and inclusive The current plan provides technology to schools, teachers and students in various ways for instructional purposes. Students and teachers in elementary school programs receive hardware based on a formula which allocates computer technology by classroom. Students and teachers in secondary schools are funded centrally to provide computer hardware at a ratio of 1 computer for every 7 students. Many students with Special Education needs receive hardware to directly support their learning needs by way of Special Equipment Allocation funding. Software in schools is provided through a variety of local, district and provincial sources. A high speed, fibre-optic, wide-area network is currently in use in the district to provide network and internet access to schools. Ubiquitous wireless access will be installed in all DDSB schools by June of In order to learn more about the effective use of new educational technologies in schools, the Durham Board regularly makes use of information gathered during pilot projects, broad-based and targeted surveys and from focus groups. To inform this plan, information was used from initiatives such as the Primary Laptop, Special Education ipad, Primary ipod, Discovery Education etext, and Instructional Laptop pilots. In the school year, staff, students and community members were surveyed on their perceptions and use of technology for learning. In addition, the Director held separate consultations with a number of staff and student groups across the DDSB. In order to meet the needs of 21 st Century Learning, a plan has been developed that incorporates broad-based recommendations in the areas of network infrastructure, instructional hardware, instruction of software and human resource allocation with respect to instructional technology. Network considerations include the need for a more flexible learning environment which makes use of wireless technologies as well as access to high speed resources both on internal networks and through the internet. The increasing use of personal devices by both staff and students has necessitated the development of a network that can provide safe and controlled internet access. 4 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

5 The flexibility offered by wireless technology allows classroom teachers to move students away from computers which are hard-wired to the walls, to a more efficient and appropriate use of integrated and technology enhanced learning. This plan recommends a fundamental shift in the way that teachers and students currently use technology in schools and recommends the use of more flexible mobile lab environments over traditional hard-wired labs. Also fundamental is a recommended shift to targeted and comprehensive training for teachers on how to best use technology in their direct instruction of students using laptops and digital projectors. The plan recommends that the Instructional Laptop program continue to provide laptops and projectors to teachers who are trained to use them and further recommends that the board plan for the installation of projectors in all classrooms where budget considerations allow. This plan confirms the need for a standardized approach to use industry-standard productivity software tools for all staff and students. It further recommends a process for an efficient and controlled web 2.0 application training and use. Online collaboration, learning, and career planning tool software for students as well as data collection and resource sharing applications for teachers must be incorporated into a teacher s technology repertoire. The ongoing investigation of the use of cloud-based productivity software and for students will allow for a more seamless method of student use of technology both at home and at school. The coordination of instructional technology initiatives occurs at many levels in the DDSB. The plan recommends that the existing reporting structures such as the Programs/IT committee remain, but that interdepartmental communication be promoted and increased in the area of technology. It further recommends a renewed focus on the role of the school site administrator where an emphasis on pedagogical use of technology in the classroom replaces the more traditional technical requirements of the position. The plan highlights the need for continued staffing for technology training facilitators and an e-learning contact at the board. An Organizational Framework for 21 st Century Tools in the Classroom: The Five Cogs Key to this plan is the fact that broad infrastructure, hardware, software and technical requirements are investments that will allow for a needed and desired change of practice in the way that technology is used in classrooms by teachers. This plan recommends a framework be used to direct teachers in best practices for using technology in the classroom, guide principals in their planning, budgeting and supervision and assist parents and students in understanding how to best use technology to improve learning. This framework rests on the work done by the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) and is broken into five distinct areas or Cogs. The plan recommends that the Cogs and underlying ISTE look-fors be the foundation for what technology enabled education and planning look like in the DDSB. Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

6 The DDSB 5 Cogs of Instructional Technology will be used to organize technology integration in our classrooms. The Cogs emphasize: Digital Citizenship as a method to assist all education community members to understand their rights and responsibilities when using technology as well as to assist schools in making the connection that Character Education exists both online and offline; Technology as a Doorway to Information to teach information literacy skills in a context which will transform our school libraries to a flexible Learning Commons space where students engage in an inquiry model that allows for both traditional text resources as well as a range of digital resources; Technology at the Point of Instruction in order to engage our students in real-world, current and authentic learning exercises which are provided in a variety of up-to-date media formats; Technology at the Point of Learning in order to engage our students to solve authentic problems using digital tools and resources and to use these tools to further reveal and clarify their understanding and thinking; Technology in Professional Practice as a method for our teachers to communicate and collaborate with all education community members, evaluate and reflect on current research and practice and to use digital resources to record, analyze and report on student learning and achievement. Each Cog contains a grouping of ISTE standard practices. The plan recommends that these Cogs and their underlying ISTE look-fors be used when designing instructional technology training for teachers and that these organizational Cogs be used by teachers and administrators when reflecting on best practices for classroom use of technology. Technology integration in the classroom engages and advances our students learning. It allows schools to reach out to our broader community in order to engage them in the everyday practices of our classrooms. Effective technology integration equitably balances the differentiated needs of all of our students. This plan supports and addresses the potential of technology in DDSB classrooms. 6 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

7 Instructional Technology in Durham: The Present For the purposes of this document, the term Instructional Technology encompasses the use of computer technologies by students and teachers to improve student achievement. Teachers use Instructional Technology as a tool to teach students through direct instruction, to communicate, to monitor student achievement, to evaluate and report on student achievement and to provide curriculum resources to students in digital form. Students use Instructional Technology to explore, analyze, organize and report on their learning. They use it to collaborate with one another and their teachers. Instructional Technology allows students with Special Needs to more seamlessly be accommodated in the classroom and to access the Ontario Curriculum. A. District Goal Setting for the Use of Instructional Technology The allotment and use of Instructional Technology in the Durham District School Board is managed by Senior Administration. More specifically, the responsibility for Instructional Technologies rests with the Superintendent of Program Services and Superintendent of Special Education in coordination with the Superintendent of Business/Technical and Information Services. Through the Programs Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

8 Technology and Special Education officers, goals for Instructional Technology Professional Development are established through the district s planning process. These goals align with Ministry of Education objectives and the Board Improvement Cycle. I often allow students to use their devices to take notes, log important dates and research their information. Grade 2 teacher In 2010, a Trustee Ad Hoc Committee was created to discuss technology initiatives in the district, inform staff of the wishes of various stakeholder groups and confirm the direction of Instructional Technology in the DDSB. The Instructional Technology Ad Hoc Committee was comprised of Trustees, the Director of Education, superintendents, elementary and secondary principal representatives and Technical and Information Services (TIS) managers. The objectives of the Instructional Technology Ad Hoc Committee: Review current technology hardware provisioning and make recommendations for future provisioning. Review and make recommendations on the use of new technologies in DDSB schools. Make recommendations to address issues of inclusivity and equity across the district with respect to technology use. Review current Instructional Technology training foci to ensure they are aligned with current educational needs and refine them if necessary. The Instructional Technology Ad Hoc Committee believes that: All students can benefit from a learning environment in which technology is used to provide instruction, where students use technology to reach outside their classrooms to access meaningful information and where technology is used by students to create, analyze, collaborate and communicate. Technology must be meaningfully integrated into classroom environments. Technology must be implemented in ways which are equitable and inclusive. It is recommended that a similar committee meet to review the Instructional Technology Strategic Plan to update and monitor the implementation of Instructional Technologies on a periodic basis. B. Centrally Provisioned Hardware Hardware is provided to schools in the DDSB in several ways. 8 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

9 Students with Special Needs receive technology to access the curriculum through Special Education Allotment (SEA) funding. This hardware may include tablets, desktops or laptops depending on student needs. Through a referral process, central office personnel provide hardware to students. Technology used for educational purposes in Durham elementary and secondary schools has largely been based on models which favour a blend of group and individualized technology use by students. This blend has favoured student use over teacher use. Most technology has been located in small lab settings such as in elementary libraries with 12 desktops, classroom pods of 3 or 4 or secondary cross curricular lab installations. Technology set aside specifically for teacher instructional purposes has occurred in select schools, but infrequently and only on a pilot or an ad hoc basis. DDSB schools have been allotted technology in a model based on the number of classes in any given school. Elementary schools are provisioned hardware through a base model: 3 computers per classroom (Grades 1 8) 3 computers per classroom (Special Education) 2 computers per SERT (1 for teacher use, 1 for student use) 2 computers per classroom (Kindergarten) 12 computers per library + 2 computers for library administration Printers are allotted on a 1 per 3 classroom model + 1 for library and 1 for SERT Currently, secondary school allotment of technology is based on a formula which provides schools with funding to meet a ratio of 1 computer to every 7 students. Secondary schools lower their ratios by purchasing further technology devices depending on their needs. In both elementary and secondary models, Board-standard equipment is provided from a selected vendor(s) through the Purchasing Department. By standardizing purchases of desktop and laptop hardware, the district realizes a lower total cost of ownership over time. Software for Instructional Purposes: Software licenses at the DDSB are purchased and licensed by the Province, individual schools, the Board, Board departments and Board geographic areas. Examples of Software Acquisition Licensing Arrangements: Provincial Based Software: OSAPAC licensed software such as Comic Life, Geometer s Sketchpad, WordQ or Dragon Naturally Speaking. Board Based Software: Microsoft Office, Windows Operating Systems, Virus Protection. Area Based Software: Licences for survey software such as Reality Check Departmental Based: Special Education Department purchase of specific Assistive software such as The Academy of Reading, Successmaker or Boardmaker. School Based: RAZ Reading software, Math software, specialized music software. Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

10 The process for the purchase of software for schools is restricted through the installation of the software itself. Board procedure prohibits the use of software purchases for instructional use unless it has been vetted by Program Services Department and the Technical and Information Services Department through a formalized Software Approval Process set out in the Procedure. C. Network Infrastructure All DDSB schools currently are wired with High Speed access through a fibre optic wide area network. Most secondary classrooms are connected with at least one hardwired drop while in elementary up to five individual cabled drops may exist. Labs and libraries are connected with multiple hard-wired drops. Elementary portables are wired in the same manner. As well, all DDSB schools are being equipped in 2011/2012 with ubiquitous wireless access points which will allow Board provided wireless devices to connect to the Board s main network, and which will allow users with a DDSB computer login account to connect personal devices through guest access to the internet. The completion of this project will allow corporate access to wireless devices owned through the board and restricted access to personally owned devices. Guest access is tracked and filtered using District hardware, and requires authentication with the user s DDSB computer ID. All DDSB student computers are provided with one image or suite of software that is identical, but which can be enhanced based on the school s needs. Secondary and elementary images exist to allow for a consistent deployment of capabilities on computers. Student and Staff network accounts are managed through a software system called Desktop Management Software which assigns the user rights to printers, access to the network and software as chosen by the District and by their teacher. Currently students with a laptop provided through the Special Education Department do not receive a standard image, but instead receive an individualized Special Education image. Investigation of enhanced desktop management software is necessary in order to take advantage recent advances such as the integration of learning management systems (e.g. Moodle or D2L). The continued use of desktop management software is recommended as it provides valuable tools to teachers and site administrators such as Lanschool capabilities, class folder organization and teacher software assignment to students. Growth of internet and network resources will require that the DDSB monitor and upgrade WAN and Internet Access as necessary to support instructional needs. 10 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

11 Pilots and Consultation A. In order to learn more about effective use of new educational applications and the impact of these new technologies in a school setting, the DDSB has been involved in a variety of projects which have informed current practice. Pilots most relevant to this document include: a. Primary Teacher Laptop Pilot b. Special Education ipad Pilot c. ipod Project to study use of mobile devices with primary students in Literacy d. Discovery Education etext Pilot e Instructional Teacher Laptop Pilot (ILP) B. In 2010, the Durham District School Board undertook several broad based consultations on the use of technology and student learning: a. A web based community survey open to the public b. A stratified sampling survey of all DDSB students in grades 4 12 c. A teacher survey d. Surveys of both elementary and secondary administrators Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

12 The Director held separate personal consultations during the spring of 2011 with staff and with students at selected schools across the DDSB. The consultations focussed on the needs of staff and of students with respect to the use of instructional technology, both on the current allocation and use of technology and on the future of technology use as seen by the respective focus groups. One of the sessions with school staff was also attended by the Chair of the ad hoc committee examining the future of instructional technology in the board. Feedback from these consultations was considered in conjunction with survey results to inform the creation of the instructional technology strategic plan. In 2011, the Special Education Department began collecting data with regards to Student Use of Assistive Technology and is considering the addition of questions with regard to assistive technology in biennial SEAC surveys. In 2012, the Programs Services Department began the process of collecting data from all teachers who successfully completed the Instructional Laptop Pilot. 12 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

13 Broad Technology Considerations In order to meet the needs of the technology instruction in Durham, several fundamental technology considerations must be taken into account. These fundamental considerations create the foundation for technology enabled student and teacher interaction. a. Network Infrastructure b. Hardware Considerations c. Software Considerations d. Human Resources/Departmental Responsibilities e. Role of the School-based Educational Technology Lead (site administrators) A. Network Infrastructure The emergence of smart phones, tablets, mini-laptops, mobile devices and an ever growing wealth of resources across the internet have placed immense pressures on the Board s internal network and external internet network connection. Students and staff must have access to a high speed network which allows them to interact and collaborate with others, access video, audio and text resources both inside the district and via the internet. Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

14 This infrastructure must include access for Board staff and students to their own digital learning resources in a safe and secure manner and to Board materials in a safe and secure manner. The network must allow users to use their own mobile devices where teachers and principals permit the practice. As students and staff move more and more of their work onto personal devices, a secure method of using these devices within the Board firewall must be maintained. Further investigation into differentiated access at the guest level to the internet (e.g. administrator versus teacher versus student use) should be investigated in order to facilitate teacher access to resources such as YouTube or administrator access to staffing software. The use of mobile devices in the learning environment continues to be controlled by the classroom teacher, school principal and through Board policy and procedure. Though a central file memo exists to set boundaries for student use of cell phones and personal handheld devices, a specific procedure regarding the use of personal devices will be required in the near future to better address issues such as equity of access and Board liability. Currently a staff portal exists in order to facilitate the sharing of staff related documentation and provide access to network resources. In the future, a student portal which allows students to view their own progress, achievement and to provide access to lessons and resources needs to be developed and maintained centrally. Currently, teachers may choose to create a class or course on the DDSB Moodle which allows students to access and interact with classroom resources and collaborate online. This is also accomplished through the Provincial Learning Platform D2L. Though these platforms allow for an online classroom experience they do not provide the functionality of viewing student achievement, grades and attendance. B. Hardware The wide variety of hardware devices now present on the market, places great demands on both Technical and Information Services Department and Program Services Department staff. In both cases, without a controlled rollout of technology devices, IT technicians and those developing training models can be quickly overwhelmed by the various ways that individual devices function and integrate into systems. The DDSB has restricted purchases to specific types of computers that allow for a standardized computer image and simplified and consistent approach to training materials. This model has been successful in minimizing technical staff resource time and the time required to create documentation and train teachers. As newer devices enter the learning environment, (ebooks, netbooks, tablets, smart phones, etc.), a formalized process through which the Business, Program Services and Special Education Departments can respond to school needs with recommendations must continue to evolve to ensure that the district is responding in a timely manner to the instructional needs of schools. Students with special education needs often require more specific equipment. Recently the Special Education Department has aligned with the TIS department to formalize their approach to technical purchases and needs. Through continued communication and interaction between the Program 14 Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

15 Services Department, Technical and Information Services Department and Special Education Departments, a consistent approach to technology use can be maintained. It is recommended that a more formalized process by which hardware items are vetted and added to the approved technology lists be investigated to address individual student and school needs. Consistently teachers have voiced their desire to use computers for instruction which they have the ability to personalize and configure. The laptop pilots highlighted the necessity of teachers having a dedicated projector to accompany these devices. In the spring of 2011, an Instructional Laptop Pilot was initiated for more than 350 teachers. This pilot supplied teachers with a mini-laptop, wireless keyboard and mouse, speakers and a data projector. Teachers were required to complete 16 hours of training which focussed on integrating these tools into their instructional program and professional practices. In order to keep the budgeted classroom dollars neutral, elementary schools turned in two desktop units for every laptop and projector given out. Teachers were required to complete eight credits of courses in Digital Citizenship, Assistive Technology, Technology and Professional Practice, Technology at the Point of Learning & Instruction and Technology as a Doorway to Information. This hardware provisioning model emphasizes Professional Development as a necessity in using the technology. Initial feedback from participants in the pilot indicates that the training is necessary and extremely helpful. Teachers report feeling more confident in their use of technology and that they more readily integrate technology into their teaching repertoire. As the number of teachers requiring training grows, alternate means of training (virtual, web based, etc.) must be explored to balance the resource load. It is recommended that a new model emphasizing mobility and flexibility over hard wired labs be instituted in elementary schools. In this model, the total number of hard wired desktop classroom computers will decline and be replaced by a teacher laptop and projector, wireless mouse and keyboard, speakers and a classroom computer. The traditional library lab will be replaced with a floating lab consisting of a cart of wireless mini-laptops with additional laptops for the school proportionate to its size (1 per classroom, with a minimum of 15). The library should maintain desktop computers for student research purposes in a Learning Commons model. Schools may wish to supplement some classrooms with additional mini-laptops or desktops when special requirements prevail. Traditionally, the elementary model has been based on one library lab per school, however larger schools (more than 15 classrooms) should have more than one floating lab in order to best meet the needs of their larger populations. In both elementary and secondary panels, the ideal technology instructional classroom model would be to provide a mounted digital projector in every classroom and a mini-laptop computer for each.5 or greater FTE teacher. It is recommended the board, within budget constraints, initiate the mounting of digital projectors in each classroom to support instruction. The classroom should also be provided one desktop computer for incidental student use, wireless access for personal hardware use and opportunities to use school provisioned wireless mini-laptops when required. Though some suggest full sized laptops offer greater opportunities for use to the teacher, surveys completed through the ILP do not appear to indicate that these benefits outweigh the increased cost. At this time the recommended deployment for teacher Instructional Technology Strategic Plan

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