Thursday, January 15, 2015

One to World Initiative Program Update

At this week’s Barrington 220 Board of Education meeting (January 13, 2015), I presented a program update on our One to World initiative. This update included a program overview, an explanation of our new District Technology Committee, an overview of our District TPACK Team, a brief look at professional development offerings for teachers in Grades 6-12, a discussion about some of the resources we offer parents for home device use, and a presentation of two short videos featuring Barrington 220 classrooms using One to World devices.

The program overview began with an up-to-date organizational chart that shows how the Technology Department now includes both infrastructure support and instructional technology support. Beginning in the 2014-2015 school year, both our Director of Media Services and our Instructional Technology Coordinator are now part of the technology department, under a new Chief Technology Officer position. This change is significant because it demonstrates how technology in Barrington 220 supports technology functionality, teaching, and learning among staff and students. In addition, the Technology Department works closely with the Curriculum Department, including the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development, and our Curriculum Directors. Finally, a detailed timeline of the One to World program was presented that specifies major planned device implementations until the 2016-17 school year.

The District Technology Committee (DTC), comprised of 40 members, including teachers, administrators, staff, and students, began this year with a full meeting in December 2014. Members of the DTC will represent and communicate to their various building and department constituents, suggest professional development needs, provide input regarding future district technology systems, and lend important feedback regarding the Middle School and Grades PK–5 device pilot programs. All activities of the Barrington 220 DTC can be followed at bit.ly/220dtc.

Next, the District TPACK Team was discussed. TPACK is a structure that asserts that the most effective technology integration activities occur at the point where Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) converge (Koehler & Mishra, 2008). In Barrington 220, each TPACK area is represented by staff members who work together as a team:

  • Technological Knowledge—Technology Support Assistants (TSAs) help teachers better use technology tools; Technology Support Technicians (“Techs”) provide seamless device and network support.
  • Pedagogical Knowledge—Digital Age Learning Coaches (DAL Coaches) help teachers improve practice.
  • Content Knowledge—Library Media Specialists connect rich and varied resources to content.

Professional development program offerings at Barrington High School and the Barrington Middle Schools were then conveyed. At BHS, the building-level TPACK team has adapted the “Get, Keep, Grow” customer retention model (as presented in our Business Incubator classes) to serve as a model for professional development. The model describes how technology integration professional development is offered through a variety of differentiated options, modes, and activities. Notably, BHS has implemented a “Digital Badge” program where teachers can earn badges for completing self-directed technology learning. Similarly, both Barrington Middle Schools deliver technology integration professional development options through a variety of differentiated methods that employ an online portal focused upon teacher choice, challenge-based learning, and content-driven offerings. Specific to the middle schools this year, the iPad pilot is focused upon identifying workflow systems, student creativity apps, long-form writing methods, and effective collaboration tools.

Parents of students in Barrington 220 have shared their issues and concerns regarding the establishment of guidelines for home technology use. The TPACK Team has responded by providing after-school opportunities for parents to discuss family technology issues in part through a partnership with Barrington Youth & Family Services. In addition, a new Parent Information section has been established on the district’s One to World website that is updated with new information as needs arise. Barrington 220 continues to provide free Internet access to low-income families through our Project Horsepower program, a partnership with Comcast, NetGear, and the Barrington Area Development Council.

Finally, School Board members saw two videos that took them into our classrooms in Grades 6-12 to see how some teachers are using One to World devices. Grade 6 teachers and students demonstrated the use of iPads, showing examples of classroom workflow, individual and group activities, and student engagement. Sheila Soss’s Grade 9 Spanish class demonstrated interpersonal writing, interactive dialog, and presentation speaking through a series of innovative online tools accessed by students on their MacBook Air laptops.

The presentation was followed by the School Board engaging several representatives from the District 220 TPACK Team in a “Questions & Discussion” session. Board Members were extremely supportive in their questions and comments regarding the One to World program. Additional updates will be offered this year as the One to World program moves forward.

Download a PDF of the presentation.

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