Elementary and Secondary Instructional Technology Advisory Committees met during the first two weeks of February. Here’s a summary of our work.
Secondary ITAC began by exploring the suite of district-approved apps available to secondary students through our mobile device management (MDM). We then categorized the apps according to learning skills outlined in the LTP vision statement:
The St.Vrain Learning Technology Plan (LTP) provides opportunities to help students investigate, communicate, collaborate, create, model, and explore concepts and content in authentic contexts.
During the process, we discovered that many of our apps cross multiple categories of learning behaviors.
We then reviewed the current recommendation to disallow the Messages app on middle school and high school iPads. After discussing the difference between Messages and other available apps that allow for communication and collaboration, the committee came to a consensus to continue disallowing the Messages app.
Elementary ITAC also explored the suite of district-approved apps available to elementary students through our mobile device management (MDM), and then categorized the apps according to learning skills outlined in the LTP vision statement.
The conversation then shifted to a discussion of our Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology. We looked at how Schoology is currently being used in our elementary schools and discussed the values and actions we want to promote between students, teachers, and parents. Characteristics important in an elementary LMS included seamless workflows for sharing work between students and teachers, the ability to create student portfolios and reflections, and the facilitation of collaboration and communication.
Elementary and Secondary Instructional Technology Advisory Committees met during the first week of December. Here’s a summary of our work.
Elementary ITAC began by reviewing feedback from surveys and a meeting with our elementary iPad Readiness schools (Eagle Crest, Erie, Thunder Valley), who are helping us test processes to use next year when we roll out devices to all of our elementary schools. Based on this feedback and discussion, ITAC made the following recommendations:
- Provide class sets of iPads to grade level classrooms based on average district class size.
- Provide access to Specials (PE, Music, Art) and pull-out classes through shared carts of iPads.
- Give the highest priority to purchasing iPads and work with our readiness schools to determine which accessories are essential and how they are being used.
- Communicate with schools and with district leads to determine which pull-outs (SPED, G/T, ELL, Literacy) are active in the elementary schools, how these classes operate, and how they might utilize the technology.
We also looked briefly at apps currently provided to our elementary students through Mobile Device Management (MDM) and the proposed process for requesting and selecting additional iOS apps to add to MDM.
Secondary ITAC began by discussing Apple IDs – both managed Apple IDs and personal Apple IDs (for students over the age of 13) – and the limitations and advantages of both. We then broke into groups to discuss implications for middle school and high school students and came up with the following recommendations:
- In High School, we believe utilizing personal Apple IDs (whether linked to personal or educational email account) is a best practice; therefore, we maintain the current practice that every incoming 9th grader create an Apple ID for their use because we expect high school students to be self-directed, informed, collaborative learners.
- In Middle School, we believe Apple IDs provide the advantage of iCloud backup; therefore we expect 6th and 7th graders to have Managed Apple IDs and 8th graders to create personal Apple IDs (after turning 13) with a recommendation that we educate students about the differences between personal and professional use.
We also reviewed last year’s iMessage recommendations with the intention of reviewing this at our next meeting.
If you’re interested in seeing the agendas and notes from the meetings, you can find them on the ITAC blog under Meeting Documents.
The 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.
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.