Showing posts from January, 2010

Technology Leadership and a Framework

I remember the days when we all talked about creating or updating our technology plans.  Those in K12 will remember carefully taking stock and calculating student to computer ratios.  We’d strive to meet targets like 3:1 at the secondary level and 6:1 for elementary and compare and contrast our respective Districts accordingly.  Essentially technology use in schools was mostly focused on computers, mainly in labs, and software, often of the edutainment and “drill and kill” variety.  Such was the way of tech in schools for 20 years… Around 2004-5 our School District started to look more critically at the use of technology.  We observed, especially in elementary schools, use of technology that seemed to be more about entertain or rewarding kids rather than being connected to classroom learning.  I worked with a colleague of mine, @gary_kern who facilitated elementary and middle school educators in a process to develop a technology for learning plan.  We came up with a framework that r

Technology Powered Learning Environments

“ my43 is a virtual community that transforms the learning and work in our School District to prepare students for the future. ”  In 2004 we began a journey in my School District to define, design, and develop a learning portal.  In 2007 we launched my43!  Now this isn’t really a technology initiative, rather it is an organizational change effort that we expect will take until 2017 to really call complete.  It takes a lot of work to change an organization (people)systemically.  Anyway, my43 (a private and secure technology powered learning environment)  is a number of things: District Intranet to support the business of education for staff only (includes human resources, payroll, financial functions and news, announcements, blogs, documents, presentations, contacts, information bulletins, …) School Intranet for each school to collaborate with staff and students (calendars, announcements, pictures, blogs, documents, forms, …) Virtual Classrooms for teachers to use with s

21st Century Skills – how can technology help?

I just finished reading 21st Century Skills – Learning for Life in our Times by Bernie Trilling & Charles Fadel.  “The premise of this book is that the world has changed so fundamentally in the last few decades that the roles of learning and education in day-to-day living have also changed forever.” p. xxiii Okay, think about that for a minute.  Now think about “school”.  Has it changed significantly in the last few decades?  Hmm, probably not hey.  But, we have been using computers and progressively more technology since the early 80’s of the 20th century.  Why hasn’t school fundamentally changed, yet? “One of education’s chief roles is to prepare future workers and citizens to deal with the challenges of their times.  Knowledge work – the kind of work that most people will need in the coming decades – can be done anywhere by anyone who has the expertise, a cell phone, a laptop, and an Internet connection.  But to have expert knowledge workers, every country needs an education

Schools of the Future

Our School District has a School Conceptual Design Group.  Membership includes superintendents, secretary treasurers, principals,  facilities managers, teachers, parents, architects, and myself.  Our purpose is to conceive new school designs that will serve us for tomorrow and the next 50 years.  No small undertaking for sure. Back in the fall of 2005, we were struggling to find our way with technology.  We were also looking for new ideas for building schools fit for tomorrow.  I was asked to find “someone” that could talk to us about school design that leverages technology for learning.  I found Alan November .  Alan spoke to two groups in November ‘05…  one with facilities planners, architects, some principals, senior administration, and I and an afternoon group of several hundred teachers, principals, and IT staff.  One principal a while later said something like “that was our November awakening”.  It did start a flurry of conversations, in-service sessions, conversations, and ide

Future of IT Services – Part 2

I left off Part 1 of this series with a promise to talk about what I believe a School District’s approach to creating and supporting IT infrastructure should be and specifically servers, cloud computing, and online services. So, where to begin.  IT groups create and support wired and wireless networks – access, security, and bandwidth are key!  IT provides servers to support a smorgasbord of services including file sharing, printer sharing, web sites, portals, library systems, student info systems, financial systems, database systems, phone / unified messaging systems, e-mail / calendar / contact management systems, and the list goes on.  There is a ton of work for a large number of technical folk involved in purchasing, installing, securing, maintaining, and changing this infrastructure. In recent years, a lot of free and for fee services have arose on the web from Google, Microsoft, Flickr, and 100’s of others whereby an organization can use enterprise class free services.  The

Future of IT Services - Part 1

Seeing as I lead an IT Services group in our school district, I've been thinking a lot about this topic - what might an IT Services group's value proposition evolve into over the next 5-10 years?  Rather than overwhelm you with one massive post, I've chosen to break this into two or more.  I will share my beliefs about the future of IT Services based on trends in technology, price (read free), and school system's ability to leverage digital devices for productive learning.  This first post in the series will focus on digital user devices and software. I remember early (mid 1980's) in my career planning (at a research facility in the Canadian Dept. of Fisheries & Oceans) for three months to upgrade a Fortran compiler on a VAX mini-computer before actually executing the project.  Isn't that crazy?!!?  I worked on programming projects for months to do simple (in today's terms) analytical work.  Now, the speed of change with technology is mind-numbingly fa