District Administration December2017 - 52

DISTRICT CIO

By Ariana Fine

TECHNOLOGY FROM THE CIO PERSPECTIVE

Tech on the go
A custom-made mobile tech lab brings tech and internet
access to the neighborhoods of low-income students in La
Joya ISD (7,000 students) on Texas' Mexican border.
"In our predominantly low socioeconomic level area, parents don't have access to basic educational support at home,"
says Clemencia Garza, the district's instructional resources
and technology director. "They don't necessarily have the
means to get their children to local businesses and resources
that have free internet."
The lab, which cost more than $364,000 to build over
six months, offers 12 laptops, 12 iPads and virtual reality
headsets at 16 work stations. It also features two makerspace
tables with Legos, bots, small drones and 3D printers. Students can also stay connected at displays in a covered space
outside the lab.
The tech lab cycles between the neighborhoods surrounding three middle schools, four elementary schools and one
comprehensive high school where 99 percent of students

MOBILE PLATFORM-La Joya ISD's new mobile tech lab
brings ed tech and internet access to low-income students
in rural areas.

qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. It parks after school in
neighborhood hubs such as grocery store parking lots.
Teachers can reserve time in the vehicle for hands-on
STEM activities. Parents have been invited to read free e-book
tutorials with school librarians.

Surveying classroom tech

Training in virtual classrooms

As the internet and social media become entrenched in classrooms, more schools teach students how to behave responsibly
online and how to gauge the credibility of the web's resources,
says Pamela Roggeman, academic dean for University of Phoenix's College of Education.
Still, a 2017 University of Phoenix survey of 1,000 teachers
found 84 percent had not integrated social media into their
classrooms. A large majority worried that connecting with
students and parents could create conflict. And about one-third
of the respondents reported their professional and personal lives
had been monitored by parents.
As for devices, laptops and computers were used in class by
86 percent of the teachers, interactive whiteboards and tablets
by over 60 percent, and handheld technology by 38 percent.
Google for Education, social media, assessment applications,
cloud storage access, e-books, and digital games and simulations topped the list of technology platforms utilized in their
schools. However, over one-third said their school or district
did not have funding to provide the technology they wanted.
Nearly two-thirds of the teachers allowed students to use the
internet to do research and about the same proportion reported
using technology every day. One quarter of teachers felt intimidated by their students' knowledge of technology.
Only 25 percent of respondents felt they received significant
training to integrate technology into the classroom, 69 percent
felt PD was "adequate," and 5 percent received no training.

Imagine a student teacher gaining virtual on-the-job training through augmented reality. This University of Wyoming
project allows college students to fine-tune their teaching skills
with a roomful of virtual students animated by an actor, says
Rebecca Watts, executive director of the university's Trustees
Education Initiative.
The 2D augmented reality teaching interface, which went
into operation in fall 2017, is open to approximately 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students in UW's teaching programs.
The teacher-in-training faces a camera and teaches the class
of digital students projected onto a screen. The number of
simulated students is limited because an off-site actor impersonates students with voices and puppeteering. The goal is to
embed the program in a range of teaching courses to correct
mistakes before they become habit.
For example, when the undergraduate leads a discussion
on a poem, the actor will portray the students as indifferent,
staring out the window or misbehaving. The students' body
language can also change based on the undergraduate's words
and actions. A faculty member can stop the scenario to make
observations and give guidance.
Watts says a long-term goal is to also make the interface
available free of charge to school districts that want to provide
peer coaching or to help teachers struggling with specific skills.
The initiative received an initial $5 million grant from Daniels
Fund, a private foundation focused on K12 education reform.

52 December 2017

District Administration



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration December2017

District Administration December2017 - Cover1
District Administration December2017 - Cover2
District Administration December2017 - 1
District Administration December2017 - 2
District Administration December2017 - 3
District Administration December2017 - 4
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District Administration December2017 - Cover3
District Administration December2017 - Cover4
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