District Administration May 2018 - 52

DISTRICT CIO

SMARTER EDTECH SPEND

erment for students and staff. Every
technology purchase goes through this
process and must be approved by Hawari
and Benham.
"Principals and teachers now have to
take a step back and say how this purchase
aligns to the larger goals that we set for
ourselves each year," Benham says.
Initially the process was not popular because principals felt it slowed them
down, she admits. "They do recognize,
however, that they are better able to implement things, and are guided toward better
purchasing decisions."
So, who's using the technology?
Administrators now strive to align strong
technology plans with district strategic
goals. Avoca School District 37 just north
of Chicago wants to support high-performing professional learning communities. As a first step, one school is using a
Google+ Community to share tech implementation ideas teachers are trying, Superintendent Kevin Jauch says.
Meanwhile, the district is implementing a technology innovation plan with
several teams to monitor investments and
deployments. For example, the district has
been assigning Macbook Airs to students
in grades 6 through 8. Now, a Research
and Device team assesses the refresh strat-

egy. "We are evaluating if we need such a
robust machine or whether we can continue to excel with a less-expensive device
such as a Chromebook or a tablet," Jauch
says. "If we can realize savings by refreshing with a less-expensive device, can we
reinvest some of that savings into devices
at our lower grades or into peripherals?"
A newly created Technology Innovation Leadership Team will develop a system for identifying innovative initiatives.
The team will conduct pilot programs to
evaluate whether new ideas and products
can be scaled across schools.
Members of the technology teams have
been heavily involved in recent curriculum
adoptions, including identifying appropriate online resources for mathematics and
differentiation.
"The curriculum development team
identifies the need and perhaps the
resource, and the technology team checks
to see how the proposed resource fits
within our technology environment,"
Jauch says.
In 2017, West Morris Regional High
School District in New Jersey turned to
a technology solution to measure ROI. A
software product called Paperbasket tracks
active usage of applications on student
devices and gives administrators dashboard views of the results. The software

Edtech purchasing tool
Dysart USD's Technology Innovation Plan asks teachers and principals some
open-ended questions to get them thinking about their technology purchase
requests, including:
* How do you plan to use technology in support of the strategic plan and your
continuous improvement plan?
* Please describe the professional development required to implement
this plan.
* How will technology resources be secured, inventoried and managed?
* How will technology resources be distributed to ensure equity and access
for learning and assessment?
* How will you evaluate the implementation of your technology plan and
design next steps?

52 May 2018

revealed, for instance, that students were
not regularly using the plethora of research
databases the district had made available.
"We can go back and look at whether
we should be subscribed to eight different
databases, or narrow that down," says Sean
Beavers, district technology coordinator.
"We have implemented a lot of technology tools, and while we have a clear picture about usage for some of those tools,
we don't for others."
The district can also set usage parameters when, for example, teachers are offered
three tools for formative assessment and
three more for media creation. "We can
say we are paying $27,000 for this application, we have this many licenses, and here
is how much usage we would like to see on
a weekly, monthly or yearly basis," he says.
Getting more specific data
The Toms River Regional School District, also in New Jersey, has sought grant
programs that have a data analysis component, Assistant Superintendent Marc
Natanagara says.
"We don't often have an incentive to
create and analyze data we are not already
collecting," Natanagara says. "The data
collected tends to be the high-stakes tests
and grades, but never about a particular
learning practice, piece of technology or
initiative. That is what we are trying to do
more of."
In one grant project, furniture vendor
Steelcase sponsored a literacy makerspace,
paying to equip a room with furniture,
technology and lighting. It is a flexible
space that students can rearrange. "For
the next few years, we have two teachers committed to gathering data on how
student practices-both qualitative and
quantitative-are changing based on
the arrangement and use of this room,"
Natanagara says.
Toms River also won a $100,000 state
grant to reduce summer learning loss in
its Title 1 middle schools. It developed a
maker camp, with a different theme each
week and a lot of integrated technology. Its
stated goal was to identify a baseline of stu-

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration May 2018

District Administration May 2018 - Cover1
District Administration May 2018 - Cover2
District Administration May 2018 - 1
District Administration May 2018 - 2
District Administration May 2018 - 3
District Administration May 2018 - 4
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