In an effort to model and demonstrate one of the very technologies we hope to use over the next few years this proposal is being developed online using WIKI technology. The proposal is broken up into a series of “pages/sections”. The tech department team and a several others involved with developing this plan will add or change sections as the plan evolves and is refined. Changes appear instantly and revision history can be tracked. Most importantly at the bottom of each page/section there is a discussion area where others can make comments or ask questions, essentially allowing collaborative input from those not directly involved with planning but who's input/feedback may be helpful. Viewer comments can then be incorporated into the documents when appropriate.
Technology plays a key role in many areas of District operations: student information management, point of sale, food services, fiscal management, special services documentation, telephony services, video conferencing, email, website, security, library catalog, and basic desktop computer services to name a few. While these services are indeed complex and in many instances “mission critical” they are straight forward and have clear parameters in terms of implementation.
Technology's role in instruction and curriculum is a bit more “fuzzy”. Historically technology was seen as something to be taught with emphasis on learning to use computer applications. Typically this was done via the “computer lab model” where students gathered in a computer lab and learned keyboarding skills and how to use specific applications such as MS Word and MS Powerpoint. Although technology tools such as digital projectors and document cameras are almost the standard in the classroom “how” they are used and the nature of instruction centered around them is still very much the same as it was with the previous generation of classroom tools.
Today, we talk about integrating technology into the curriculum. Here, rather than teach specific applications or pull students out of class for technology instruction, technology tools are used in the classroom as part of everyday instruction and students use technology in various curricular areas to complete projects and assignments.
Technology Literacy: is the ability to responsibly, creatively and effectively use appropriate technology to:
Technology Fluency: is demonstrated when students:
Students use technology within all content areas to collaborate, communicate, generate innovative ideas, investigate and solve problems.
1.1: Innovate: Demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
1.2: Collaborate: Use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
1.3: Investigate and Think Critically: Research, manage and evaluate information and solve problems using digital tools and resources.
Students demonstrate a clear understanding of technology systems and operations and practice safe, legal and ethical behavior.
2.1: Practice Safety: Practice safe, legal and ethical behavior in the use of information and technology.
2.2: Operate Systems: Understand technology systems and use hardware and networks to support learning.
2.3: Select and Use Applications: Use productivity tools and common applications effectively and constructively.
2.4: Adapt to Change (Technology Fluency): Transfer current knowledge to new and emerging technologies. (Grades 6-12 only)
It is a primary focus of this embedded curriculum, that the skills of using technology become the habits of students and teachers - that technology is called upon when needed the same way a dictionary or pencil has been in the past. Search techniques or spreadsheet skills, for example, should be learned when they are needed, not only age appropriately, but also context appropriately.
Provide a flexible and robust computing environment that promotes accessibility and safe computing .
Encourage students to become “content creators” with respect to the use of technology rather than simply consumers of online content.
Promote flexibility in the use of a variety of computing platforms and software applications to accomplish projects or tasks in all subject areas. The District should move from a focus on specific software applications to a generally conceptual approach to what a particular class of software can or should be able to accomplish.
Technology specific curriculum should be sequential and coordinated across the district. As students move through the grades the technology curriculum should be increasingly ambitious and rewarding, just as it is in other academic areas.
Whenever possible, the District should promote and support the use of Free (i.e non proprietary) technologies. These technologies are almost always freely distributable permitting students and staff to more fully bring the classroom experience to the home.
Implement strategies that help “blur” the boundaries between school and home by making more elements of curriculum available online.
Continue efforts to build dynamic and timely school and teacher websites that are not only informational but also contain “value added” content.
Provide learning experiences for administration and staff that expand concepts of how technology can be used to further student learning. VISD understands that teachers who are going to use and teach technology in a new way, must be trained in ways that will support and compliment this goal. The district will ensure the success of all of its Technology goals by supporting and training staff members.
Support small “demo” projects which extend the use of technology beyond current district implementations. VISD will identify areas where emerging or established technologies may be appropriate for introduction into the school district. VISD will support support “early adopters” in the district to test these technologies in an environment that will help evaluate whether they are appropriate for a broader implementation.