The Instructional Technology Department supports a curriculum in which students are self-directed, collaborative, and caring. We expect our students to flourish in the digital knowledge world of their future.
Members of the Instructional Technology Department encourage, support, and train teachers to integrate technology to improve student learning.
An essential step in a digital conversion is providing equipment and software. However, it is even more important to build capacity and support teachers while they develop the knowledge and skills necessary to impact student learning. This requires a major collaborative effort from all departments, administrators, the Technology Interdisciplinary Committee (TIC), Technology Integration Specialists (TIS), Technology User Group (TUG), and site-based technicians. The whole organization must operate as team.
Our digital conversion began in 2002 when we began to plan for the conversion of our classrooms to 21st century learning environments. We put the plan into action in 2004 using funds from a bond referendum to install projectors, smartboards/wireless tablets, audio reinforcement, and teacher laptops in every classroom. We also installed our initial wireless overlay in all district buildings.
In 2006, we began developing a plan to incorporate our students into the digital conversion. Funded through another bond referendum in 2008, our plan called for an expanded wireless infrastructure and one-to-one devices at the high school and middle school levels. Elementary schools would get devices based on a ratio of students to device.
In 2010, we piloted our personal mobile computing initiative in one high school and over the following years, encompassed all high schools and middle schools and focused on much more than just devices and software. The collaborative efforts of all those involved have focused on the supports necessary for using technology in a way that positively impacts student learning personalized learning and preparing the 21st Century graduate.
We continuously monitor our implementation in several ways:
At the heart of our digital conversion is the idea that technology will not help us accomplish our goals if we simply use it to replace traditional practices and procedures. We must use technology to create new and exciting opportunities for teaching and learning.
Our digital conversion is guided by a technology integration model that establishes a spectrum of practices ranging from early adoption to transformative educational experiences. Our model incorporates Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura’s SAMR model and the work done by the University of South Florida in their Technology Integration Matrix (TIM), which has been adopted as the technology integration model for the Arizona State Department of Education. You can learn more about TIM and what it looks like in the classroom here. As our digital conversion progresses, our teachers are adopting new practices that reflect a shift from teacher-centered instruction to student self-directed learning.
While technology is important, the role of the Digital Learning Coach is primarily one of supporting good curriculum in all subject areas. Not only do digital learning coach assist teachers with planning and implementing technology activities that support best practices, they also provide training for district technology applications such as Schoology, Edgenuity, Power Teacher, and Google Apps. The DLC works with staff in all departments and grade levels. Their purpose, improving student achievement, is interwoven with providing students with 21st century skills that will prepare them to be leaders and global citizens. The DLC does this directly and indirectly by teaming with teachers to implement 21st Century Learning expectations – creating self-directed learners who are critical thinkers, creative problem solvers, and proficient in using technology for research, collaboration, and communication.
The suggested lessons use the curriculum provided by Common Sense Media (www.commonsensemedia.org). By using these lessons as a starting point, it is our intention to begin to empower our students to be safe, responsible, and savvy as they navigate this fast-paced digital world. Teachers are not limited to using only the three suggested lessons. The Common Sense Media site has a wealth of lessons available for use. As the year progresses, teachers are encouraged to make use of these lessons as they pertain to their own curriculum and standards.