Wednesday, May 16, 2012

May Technology Update from the director

Technology Update from the director 

Technology planning is shifting into high gear within the DMTS department. As we wrap up this year, we have shifted much of our efforts to summer and 2012-2013 projects. Here is a quick update.

Technology refresh and renew:

Since January we have been having great discussions at the building about what technology isneeded in order to achieve our mission. Specifically, the discussion has been focused on what is our building standard level of classroom technology. This has been defined as your classroom digital(Login to Edina Apps required) standard. In the last month an inventory has been completed that identified rooms that currently meet thisstandard and beginning this summer we will be begin addressing any identified gaps.

In addition tothis foundation is a recognition that there is a need for instructional technology that enables our educators to unleash a passion in learning or empower great teaching. To address this need, DMTS has created the iSquared initiative. iSquared application process ends May 18th, so please get your applications in soon.

I understand that even with the development of the digital standards and the opportunities ofiSquared, there is a feeling that we still do not have enough student centric technology. Indeed, content areas are increasingly identifying digital content and instructional delivery that is digital.

Unfortunately,even with the increased resources the technology levy is bringing to the district, the reality is we are constrained on our ability to provide everystudent a digital device. On top of that, our experience has proven that student technology initiatives that promote personal responsibility, choice, and anytime learning have a greater level of success and lower cost of ownership. For these reasons, Edina Public Schools has adopted Bring Your Own Device(BYOD )in order to address student used digital devices. Recently the district has been highlighted in national press for our work in promoting the use of personal digital devices in the classroom. The theory behind Bring Your OwnDevice is that within the next couple of years, content will be delivered in a digital format, and that more and more of our students will have a digital device that they use not only for personal interaction but also for information access. Though this world does not currently exist, we are beginning to lay the foundation for this world today. Specifically, DMTS is working on the following issues in preparation for this eventuality:
?         Developing a web based platform for delivery of our content
?         Ensuring our curriculum material is in a digital format
?         Empowering our teachers by providing professional development and time to develop instruction and content for a digital world
?         Creating the infrastructure and support models to sustain this digital world
We are not there yet, but in the coming year the district will begin to aggressively address these needs.

Our digitalpresence and communicating with our families and student:

Communication is vital to the success of our students. As a district we have decided to standardize digital communication between families and schools.
We have created this document(login to Edina Apps Required) to articulate these standards. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with these changes.

What does thismean for teachers?

All Teachers
Communication expectations. Teachers should inform families and post their communication expectations as it relates to responding to calls and emails. The recommended time to respond to a parent is within 24 hours.

Secondary teachers:
Are asked to post and update once a year or changes for the following info:
?         How to contact you: Your name, email and phone number on your web page
?         What you teach: Your syllabus and any homework/class policies on your web page
From time to time you may need to provide your parents and students with timely information such as:
?         Announcements
?         Important dates via the iCue Gradebook or using a Google calendar
Most important is the desire for your parents and students to know how they are doing academically, so twice a month you are asked to:
?         Update your TIES i-Cue gradebook.
Elementary teachers:

Are asked to post and update once a year the following info:
?         How to contact you; Your name, email and phone number on your web page
?         What you teach: Your classroom schedule and any homework/class policies on your web page
From time to time you may need to provide your parents and students with timely information such as:
?         Announcements
?         Important dates via a Google calendar
?         Newsletters. These should be posted on your website and emailed to your parents.
To help facilitate the creation and maintenance of teacher digital and communication expectations there are these tools:
?         Main website: Starting July 1, 2012, in addition to hosting district and school web pages, there will be added ability for staff to create and maintain their own web presence.
?         Edina Apps Website. Some teachers currently are using Edina Apps to host their website. They can continue to do so but must link this website to their schools main website.
?         i-Cue/SchoolView. The iCue grade book is the official grade book and is required use in the secondary schools. Grade reporting should be updated on a bi-weekly basis. In addition to grade reporting, iCue is to be used by the secondary teachers to display in a calendar view all homework, testing, and important class dates.
?         Moodle: Moodle is our online learning environment and can be used as an online venue for continued instruction.
?         Email: Teachers are encouraged to use the advanced features within outlook such as the “Out of Office Assistant” to notify parents of response commitment.
?         Phone: Teachers are encouraged to use the advanced features within the phone system such as the standard voicemail greeting to notify parents of response commitment.
Not familiar with these options? Don’t worry, we will be conducting drop in work sessions in your building next fall during the back to school week. Keep an eye for the dates and time for your building.

Bits and Bytes:

Email is going social! We want to give you a heads up on a new socialization feature of Outlook 2010. Within Outlook 2010 is the ability to associate staff pictures with their email sent and received emails. This feature displays the picture of a staff member who sends or receives an email within district Outlook. Though, on face value, this does not seem like a big deal, it helps foster a sense of connection between email and the real person who sent it. Don’t worry the pictures only show up in our email system and do not show on emails sent outside the district. Also, don’t like your photo? The HR department will be offering a couple of opportunities for staff to stop by and get their picture updated.

Spring cleaning on your computer files! Again all computers will be re-imaged to Windows 7 thissummer so I wanted to remind you that all of your files need to be removed from your computer before the end of the school year. Also, any software above and beyond the standard software will need to be reinstalled on your computer. Contact your tech para for assistance.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any comments or concerns.

Steve Buettner
Director of Media and Technology

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