Supporting instructional technology use in our district is often a complicated task. We know that teachers and principals are overwhelmed by all of the requirements that now seem to be a regular part of our profession. Whether it’s state assessments (K-PREP, ACT, ACCESS,…), a new evaluation system (PGES), finding ways to close achievement gaps (RTI), learning new curriculum (KCAS), or any of the other million things that seem to be piled on our plates, we know that simply finding time to plan and deliver good instruction can be difficult. And when tasked with thinking about how technology can play a role in instruction, many teachers and principals will admit they would love to have more “technology” in their buildings, but they simply don’t have the time to figure it out, or know where to start. But we also know how much technology is a part of our world, and we simply can’t afford not to prepare our students and give them opportunities to use technology in the classroom.
From a district perspective it can also be very difficult to determine how we can best help schools and where we should focus our efforts across the district to make the biggest impact. That’s why I am very excited about a new opportunity we have to participate in a 3-year project to collect technology needs assessment data. I know the down side to this news is that this means yet another survey to give to students and teachers. But I’m so excited about the information schools and the district will gain, along with recommendations for next steps, that I hope you find the benefits outweigh this negative.
The survey that all 3rd – 12th grade students and certified staff will be taking online is called Clarity by BrightBytes and it is based on the CASE Technology Framework (Classroom, Access, Skills, Environment.) It’s not meant to evaluate schools, but rather will provide information on how well students and teachers (and optionally parents) feel like technology is being used as part of the learning experience. It will provide the district an overview of technology needs and allow us to plan for the future. It will also provide schools and the district with concrete suggestions on ways to improve in any areas we may feel are lagging. Data collection is anonymous and surveys only take about 10 minutes to complete.
I know many of you may feel like this is just one more thing, but I hope each of you will take the time to complete a survey during the window of January 26th – February 6th and allow your students to do so as well. This is the first district-wide technology assessment we’ve had in many years, and considering how much has changed in the last decade, having real feedback on your school’s needs that will help us better serve you is a big win in my eyes. I hope you will see it the same way!
Thanks again for all you do, and for your help in collecting this vitally important information. You will be getting more information from your STC soon or you can contact me if you have questions.