A Tech Proposal

Newsflash!…And this is TRUE!
According to the local news last week, our district’s 700 high school students will be receiving Chromebooks, which will be leased, and cost the district $57,000 for the first year. All students will have the same technology in their hands. This will be an advantage for the many economically disadvantaged students who might not have personal computers at their fingertips. Professional development for teachers will be held weekly during the upcoming year to discuss best practices in the classroom.

My thoughts:
I’m glad that our district is moving in the right direction. This means that all of the old computers from the high school will filter into the middle and elementary schools. I really don’t know what will float into my elementary building. At the end of last year our assistant superintendent spoke of a grant for a Hybrid Learning program for elementary teachers who were interested. My hand was up!

So…

What if I had to write a proposal for purchasing new technology in my elementary building:
Where would I begin? Actually this would be a huge job that I would never want to put on my shoulders! But, here is a short version of what I would propose considering there is “wireless internet”  available now. Let’s take it from here.

My First Advise:

Back up a second!

The district should form a Technology Committee that would include parents, teachers, current technology staff, administrators and school board members.
The committee would meet monthly to discuss the goals of the school district in regards to 21st century skills that will be needed by students, and how students will reach these goals. They will look at other schools who have increased their use of technology. They will create a plan and policy concerning any technology bought, based on the community’s needs and desires for their students.

Why Purchase new technology?

  • Long Term Goal:  To develop students’ skills in the 4C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical thinking and to prepare them for their futures locally, nationally, and globally in the 21st Century.
  • Short Term Goal: To increase reading and writing achievement scores through integration with science and social studies content.

Devices To Be Purchased:

  • 4 Chromebook Carts with each holding 36 Chromebooks with Google Apps for Education
  • 1 Cart of 20 iPads
  • 8 Digital Cameras
  • 2 Printers

Personnel Hired:

  • Elementary Technology Integration Coach
  • Google Apps Certified Trainer for professional development

Who would use this newly purchased technology?

  • 2 carts of Chromebooks for 4th grade level to share among 4 classrooms
  • 2 carts of Chromebooks for 5th grade level to share among 4 classrooms
  • 1 cart of iPads for 4th or 5th grade level to share, especially for learning support students
  • 1 Digital Camera per room
  • 2 Printers, one for each grade level

My Rational:

  • 9 Chromebooks per classroom for the Hybrid Learning environment, which involves small groups rotating throughout the day.
  • Extra Chromebooks would be available for collaborative projects if a whole classroom wanted to work on projects.
  • Most likely there will be extra Chromebooks (because there might only be 3 classrooms of the one grade level). So, other classrooms in the school could volunteer or be assigned to use them.
  • Physical keyboards would be more useful for writing projects.
  • Chromebooks have 6 – 8 hours of battery life and readily start-up.
  • The web is available and Google Apps for Education can support communication between teachers and students.

Professional Development :…….VERY IMPORTANT!!!

  • All grade levels would receive bi-monthly professional develop on new trends in teaching using project -based learning, student-led learning, passion-based learning and inquiry-based learning, in conjunction with PA Common Core Standards/Common Core.
  • 4th and 5th grade teachers and administrators would have monthly half-day inservice trainings with a Google Apps Certified Trainer to share their tech use in their classrooms, and be instructed on new tools/apps that they could use.

Implementation Plan for Teachers:

  • The use of the technology would not begin until teachers have a better understanding of the purposes of its use (See the goals and first bullet of Professional Development. This might not be until the second quarter of the school year)
  • A Tech Coach would guide the 4th and 5th grade teachers on how to use the web for lessons and work with them directly on lessons plans using the new technology to integrate reading and writing with science and social studies. If any other grades use any of the technology, the coach would work with those teachers and classes.
  • The Tech coach would go into the classrooms to assist with lessons using the technology.

Implementation Plan for Students and Their Parents:

  • Students would receive lessons on safety on the internet, the computer/internet policy and the use of Google Apps and the web. This would happen during computer class weekly.
  • Students would not use the Chromebooks until internet safety lessons were completed.
  • Parents would be invited to a meeting to inform them of the use of the new technology and their roles. Letters would be sent home to anyone who has more questions or did not attend.
  • Forms will be sent home to be signed by parents and students regarding knowledge of the computer/internet policy.

Anticipated Outcomes for Success:

  • Reading and writing achievement scores would show improvement.
  • Students would be able to demonstrate to 2nd and 3rd graders some of their projects and how they used the tech tools to create them.
  • Students would journal digitally on how they have learned to collaborate and communicate with teams of students when completing projects.
  • Teachers would feel confident that this type of teaching can continue next year with little assistance from a Tech Coach. In this way, the hope would be that this flow of tech implementation would continue into the lower grades.
  • Increased media literacy by teachers, administrators and students.
  • Increased motivation to learn by disadvantaged students.

Possible Problems:

  • The normal ones: Chromebooks fail to work and the tech team cannot readily fix the problem.
  • Teachers would feel untrustworthy of this type of learning and unsure if the results will jeopardize their evaluations.
  • Wireless system does not work.

Remember: This is most likely in my dream world!

Friendly Resources for implementation of Chromebooks and iPads by those in elementary using them:

The principal of Waterville Elementary School created a doc of the implementation of Chromebooks in their school @ Chromebooks in Our Classrooms by Kate Torrey.

5 tips for rolling out Chromebooks in your elementary classroom posted by Majid Manzarpour, a Blogger of Synergyse on February 23, 2014.

Posted by Majid Manzarpour
5 tips for rolling out Chromebooks in your elementary school – See more at: http://blog.synergyse.com/2014/02/5-tips-for-rolling-out-chromebooks-in.html#sthash.LOjoGlHK.dpuf

LSR7 Chromebook Classroom a Google doc of Elementary Resources for Chromebooks published by Lee’s Summit School District.

And, I love Techno Rookie, who has been a 4th and 5th grade teacher who is blogging about his Chromebook experiences and uses. There are many resources here!

by How 2 Tech Videos, published on May 7, 2013

There are many helpful iPad ideas for beginner teachers, tips, recommended apps, Special Education, IT, Real Stories @ How Amy Heimerl Teaches with iPad. by iPads in Education by Apple, Inc. (US). 2014.

by zollotech, published on Mar 26, 2012

Let’s Get Started!

Did I miss anything?

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5 thoughts on “A Tech Proposal

  1. Nicely done Debra. I’d love to hear your thoughts on a couple of choices. It looks like devices will not be assigned to students and in many cases shared. Was that intentional? What are your thoughts on a device per child vs sharing? Also I don’t think these will be taken home. Any thoughts on this?

    • The hybrid environment provides enough for 1/3 of the class. However, I ordered enough so that a whole class would have a set if needed. I didn’t want to make a decision on assigning students computers because I’m anxious to find out what the policy will be for the high school. I think that should be a decision of the Tech Committee. I have mixed emotions on whether our elementary students should be able to take them home. Many students do not have computers at home. Yet, I see the responsibility of being able to take them home and back being a problem. If we could have 1:1, I would like time after school provided for students to work on homework or projects on them.

  2. Debra,
    Great post; I really enjoyed reading your proposal! I understand what you are saying about having sets of Chromebooks for classrooms to use rather than a 1:1 program. If many of the students do not have computers at home, they may not be very comfortable with the technology so it may be best to have them used in a supervised environment. Then, when the students are older and have had more technology exposure, understanding, and experience they will get to the 1:1 program at the high school and be able to take them home. I particularly liked your plan because it involved purchasing multiple types of technology: Chromebooks, iPads, digital cameras, and printers. This approach will ensure a variety of options for teachers and students!
    ~Alison

    • Hi, again, Alison,
      Are you a teacher? I appreciate your positive comments about the proposal. Have you assisted in the development of a technology implementation plan in a school? Any feedback on choosing one tool over another one would be helpful…chromebooks, netbooks, tablets, iPads

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