Introducing the 2016 ITAC members

Please give a warm welcome to our newest Instructional Technology Advisory Committee members!

As we move into our 4th year of the Learning Technology Plan, ITAC will continue to serve an advisory role in our technology planning. They are a critical voice in making sure we have representation from all segments of our SVVSD community: teachers, administrators, district staff, and families.

Separate elementary and secondary-level ITAC committees make recommendations which lead to the best possible implementation outcomes.

We rotate one-half of the committee members each year to ensure continuity while also allowing others to add their voice to the group.

This blog will continue to serve as a place for others to join in the conversation and follow their work. Please check in and share your input with our committee representatives.

The 2016 ITAC Committee members:

Elementary

  • Gina Trujillo
  • Mandy Pederson
  • Tanya Sadler
  • Judith Nowlin
  • Shelly Guenther
  • Jason Sturniolo
  • Bernerd George
  • Keri Campbell
  • Shannon Brennan

Secondary

  • Laura Hess
  • Josie Vigil
  • Katelynn Ryan
  • Jennifer Thayler
  • Joann Rosebrock
  • Melissa McGlasson
  • Kyle Manuel
  • CJ Herman
  • Karen Hoppis
  • Jeff Wysoski

ITAC Spring Meeting Summary

On March 30, the Elementary and Secondary Instructional Technology Advisory Committees met for the final conversations of the year. Here’s a summary of their work.

Elementary ITAC

Elementary ITAC reviewed the initial app listing for elementary iPads provided by the LTP. We began reviewing additional apps to be considered, so check back on the list over the next several months to see what additions we make!

We also reviewed the proposed settings and restrictions for classroom iPads to be purchased as part of the elementary LTP iPad program including:

  • App age level settings to be 4+
  • App store, iBooks store and in-app purchases to be disabled. Apps and books will be provided through the in-district LANrev apps store.
  • iMessage, Facetime, and Mail to be disabled. Teachers will be able to use these features on their staff iPad.

Finally, we discussed Classroom (Apple’s new feature set built into iOS 9.3) and decided that they warrant further investigation for adoption in elementary. Our 3 iPad Readiness schools (Eagle Crest, Erie Elementary and Thunder Valley K8) will begin to adopt the new Classroom features next year and report back to the committee on their discoveries.

Secondary ITAC

With the addition of Apple’s new School Manager and Classroom features as part of 9.3, we asked ITAC to explore the benefits as well as the implications of adopting these tools at the secondary level. At this time, the committee determined we should not pursue adoption in grades 6-12, but will watch and learn from the elementary schools who will be exploring.

We also explored apps that are installed on student devices in the district and looked at proposals for additions to our in district app store. DTS and the Curriculum team will be investigating the new app proposals for possible inclusion next year.

If you’re interested in seeing the agendas and notes from the meetings, you can find them on the ITAC blog under Meeting Documents.

Elementary ITAC's November 2015 Update

The Elementary ITAC meeting focused on the following topics:

Here is a link to the meeting notes.

If you have input or feedback for the committee please leave a comment below.

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Fall ITAC Meeting Update

This month’s ITAC meetings focused on the following topics:

  • Elementary ITAC (meeting notes)
    • Recommended Apps and applications suite discussion
    • Elementary LTP piloxxaxaaxAt schools discussion
  • Secondary ITAC (meeting notes)
    • iPad distribution review
    • Social media discussion continued

If you have input or feedback for the committee please feel free to leave a comment below.

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January 27, 2015 Secondary Meeting

IMG_0808The Instructional Technology Advisory Committee (ITAC) serves as the feedback and input mechanism for our implementation of the Learning Technology Plan. This group helps DTS gather information from our administrators, teachers, parents and students and uses that information to form recommendations for how we can best move forward thoughtfully.

The committee uses a consensus building process so that all voices are represented and so that all viewpoints are considered. While this means that discussion and dialogue can take a significant amount of time, it also means that our recommendations are truly our best thinking for all stakeholders.

Recommendations from the committee move on to our CIO and district leadership for final approval and implementation.

This month’s ITAC meeting focused on several topics that are top of mind in our secondary schools including:

  • What app level rating should be implemented at middle and high school levels?
  • How should schools and DTS manage student issued cables?
  • How should parents be involved in our upcoming HS iPad deployments?
  • Should iMessage be available to middle and high school students on district iPads?

If you’d like to view their recommendations, take a look at the January meeting agenda. Have comments or feedback for the committee? Feel free to leave a comment below.

October Meeting overview

Our elementary and secondary ITAC committees met for the at the end of October to begin their work in refining our initial implementation plan for the LTP. Our goal is to use these committees to give us feedback and recommendations as we continue to make our program even better.

The committee began by reviewing our norms and looking through the scope of their work so that we all have a clear understanding of how their contributions fit into the larger work of the district. We also spent time looking back through the original ITAC committee’s Actions and Attributes document to identify a priority that we could work on this year.

Elementary Committee Overview:

The elementary committee determined that their priority would be: Teachers model digital age learning for their students and are engaged in continuous professional growth.

In the elementary committee, we discussed the upcoming application for phase 1 elementary schools that will go out in December. The committee made some great recommendations that we incorporated into our plan.

Secondary Committee Overview:

The middle school members determined that their priority would be: Students and teachers model and engage in innovative learning practices such as dynamic sharing, deep thinking, and project based learning. These practices incorporate an awareness of the need to build digital habits and to assist teachers in learning to manage digitally-enhanced learning environments.

High school determined their focus would be:  Students use technology to support critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to gather, evaluate, and analyze information sources.

The secondary committee reviewed data from our existing implementation at the middle school level and reviewed data to help us make decisions on two important areas:

  • Looking at the data from our existing student app installations, are our student app levels appropriate for middle school? Currently students can install any app that is rated for age 12 or below. With the release of iOS 8, many app manufacturers have updated their age ratings and we want to confirm that 12+ is still the right level for our students.
  • Student care of cables is a concern for our schools, especially as we recycle iPads between students. The committee looked at several proposals for working with students who lose or damage their cables.

Both groups were left with the task of gathering wider feedback from their respective peer groups so we can finalize our recommendations in January. If you’d like to follow along with the work, you can find the agendas linked here along with the resources shared during the meeting. Feel free to leave us comments and feedback here so your voice is part of our conversation.

Final ITAC Recommendations & Next Steps

After four months of thoughtful discussion and dialogue, ITAC is pleased to release their final recommendations to the CIO regarding the future of instructional technology in the St. Vrain Valley Schools.

Our schedule for Joe McBreen, our CIO, to take ITAC recommendations to district leadership was accelerated a bit, as there was much excitement to see the results.

Last week, the CIO presented a slate of recommendations based on your options to leadership.  You can see the final slate in Appendix D of the final recommendations document.  Because of their enthusiastic support and desire to move forward, we have been asked to present that slate of options as well as your work on this process to the Board of Education on June 12th.  I’ll be requesting some additional information from you for the board report in a future email.

In addition, the CIO has supported the continuation of the smaller ITAC subset to begin the implementation process for our technology rollout.  This will be a big project and we are excited to move forward.    Look for more information in the near future on the next steps in this process.

ITAC Student Device Dialogue Guide

In The Adaptive School, Garmston and Wellman write about two types of conversation that groups use in their collaborative work.  The two types are dialogue and discussion.  Discussion is where we are headed – as we work to reach some decisions and recommendations.  But before we decide, we need to understand. To begin to dig deeply into our conversation around student devices, we want to be sure that before we begin to make decisions, we engage in thoughtful dialogue.  Here’s how they describe dialogue:

Dialogue is a reflective learning process in which group members seek to understand one another’s viewpoints and deeply held assumptions.  The word dialogue comes from the Greek dialogos.  Dia means “through” and logos means “word.” In this meaning-making through words, group members inquire into their own and others’ beliefs, values, and mental models to better understand how things work in their world.  In dialogue, listening is as important as speaking.  

Dialogue creates an emotional and cognitive safety zone in which ideas flow for examinations without judgment.  Although many of the capabilities and tools of dialogue and skilled discussion are the same, their core intentions are quite different and require different personal and collective monitoring processes. (p.49)

We have sensed that we have much to unpack before ITAC begins to make recommendations around student devices, and that a focused dialogue would be a good way to accomplish that.  As we prepare to begin our dialogue around student devices, a dialogue that has begun on our listserv, we wanted to provide ITAC Committee members with a framework for helping all of them to come to the meeting on March 20th with some of their best thinking ready to be shared via dialogue with the various sub-committees.

Here’s a link to a Google Docs template with the questions.

(You’ll be prompted to login to St. Vrain Google-land if you’re not when you click this link.  Then click on “Use this Template” to create an editable copy of the document that’s just for you to record your thinking. If you don’t have a St. Vrain Google account, here’s a copy of the document that doesn’t require a password to access.)

Prior to the meeting, we are asking ITAC Committee members to take an opportunity to explore these questions for themselves, and to seek input from others.

If you’re reading this blog post, then we are interested in your thinking around these questions, too.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

PS – Michelle shared this additional article about dialogue if you’d like to know more.  We found it useful in our thinking.  

ITAC Meeting 3: Outfitting Classroom and Lab Spaces

During this third meeting of  the ITAC committee, we began with an opportunity to adopt the final draft our Actions and Attributes document. The document will drive and define what we’ll look for as we make recommendations.

A majority of our meeting gave us an opportunity to begin thinking about learning spaces within our district – specifically classroom and computer lab spaces. Each group had an opportunity to review input from our Building Technology Contacts (BTCs) and from a district-wide survey we sent to all staff at the beginning of the month. You can find the links to that feedback in Activity 3 in the agenda.

The ITAC groups began to form their initial recommendations for classroom and computer lab spaces, but the final set of recommendations will not be made until we also have a chance to discuss three more realms:

  • devices for student use;
  • devices for teacher use; and
  • other learning spaces and resources

For those of you in the district, we hope you’ll provide the group with feedback as the recommendation process progresses. Our goal is to provide a thoughtful set of recommendations that will move our use of digital tools forward in St. Vrain. We’d like your input.