The primary goal of the ICCSD Technology & Innovation department is to provide technology equipment and services that will allow our students to engage with their learning, and our teachers to provide innovative instruction, without presenting technological barriers. We took a big step in that direction this week as the school board approved our device refresh plan, which will:
Replace student 1:1 Chromebooks, while formalizing the permanent extension of our 1:1 initiative to grades K-12
Replace computer lab and other student-accessible computers in our schools and classrooms
Replace staff-assigned and utility devices districtwide
This project represents a major undertaking for our department, but also has a number of benefits. The new Chromebooks will provide students with three oft-demanded features that we’ve never been able to provide before. Specifically, the devices offer:
a convertible form-factor, meaning that they can be used as traditional laptops (like our current Chromebooks), or the screen can fold flat against the back so that the devices can be used as tablets. This provides flexibility of usage that will be of particular benefit to our younger students.
touch screen capability with support for pen input will also be available on these devices. While we have had a small number of touch-capable devices in our fleet, it’s never been enough to provide to all younger students, and none of our existing devices support pen input. While we do not plan to initially provide pens with all devices, we have the ability to offer that in the future for targeted grade levels, programs, or for specific students, as needed to support students’ ability to work and interact with the device.
a rear-facing camera will be available on devices when they are in tablet mode. While this likely sounds like a small feature, it has been our most requested feature for future Chromebooks, as it allows students to take pictures of written work and projects for submission via Seesaw or Canvas, and allows the devices to be used for activities like photo scavenger hunts.
We expect that devices will arrive in late April, and are currently working to firm up deployment plans and timelines. Please read below for more information about this project, including the answers to some of the most common questions we’ve received thus far.
It is important that students and families are able to gain access to educational, news, and communication resources during this challenging time. To this end, Iowa City CSD’s Technology & Innovation staff are preparing to make Chromebooks available to elementary school students who do not have access to computers within the home. Families of elementary students that do not have access to a laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet in the home may complete this request form or call (319) 688-1950, after which you will be contacted with instructions for picking up the device. We do ask that requests be made by families who lack computing resources at home, as we wish to ensure that devices are available to all families in need of service.
While secondary students have been assigned a Chromebook from their school as part of the secondary one-to-one Chromebook program, we recognize that some students may have left their school-issued Chromebook at school prior to leaving for Spring Break. If a secondary student’s Chromebook is still at school at this time, please contact the ICCSD Technology Helpdesk at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (319) 688-1950.
We have also worked with telecommunications providers to identify opportunities to provide for internet access to District families with no existing internet service. If your family does not have internet service at home, please fill out this form or call (319) 688-1950 to arrange for district-provided internet access. Once your form has been submitted, we will contact the telecommunications provider and assist in arranging for the establishment of service during the COVID-19 related school closure. Again, we ask that requests only be submitted in cases where home internet is currently unavailable, as we want to ensure that resources are available for all families in need of service. The ICCSD Technology Helpdesk is expected to remain open throughout the school closure, and will be available to support use of district-provided technology beginning Tuesday, March 24. You can contact the Helpdesk by emailing email@example.com, using the chat option available in the bottom right corner of innovation.iowacityschools.org, or by calling (319) 688-1950.
Five years ago, the Area Education Agencies in Iowa made the decision to provide Iowa school districts with access to the Clarity BrightBytes technology program evaluation survey. Administered to teachers and students annually by the Iowa City Community School District, the data collected provides each district with a technology program evaluation tool that provides an overview of the whole educational technology environment. This includes device and infrastructure quality, support, instructional technology, technology integration, and digital literacy, among other areas.
This year, I believe that our results are worthy of celebration, and are reflective of the outstanding work done by our IT team, innovation coaches, principals, teachers, students, and board members in pushing for and actively utilizing technologies in the district. Continue reading Celebrating Tech Program Evaluation Results→
The district recently distributed a survey regarding educational technologies to parents district-wide, and one parent reached out with questions regarding where they could get more information about our technology programs. This, combined with the fact that we recently published our 100th article and have been going strong for just over one year, leads me to conclude that it’s about time to reintroduce the Iowa City Schools’ Technology & Innovation blog!
We have over a thousand subscribers to the Technology & Innovation blog, but that obviously represents a very small slice of our larger school community, including parents, students, and other community stakeholders. It’s my goal that awareness of and access to this resource be spread to as many people as possible. With that in mind, I’m posting this reintroduction, including links to some of our highlights below. I’d encourage you to share this post via Twitter, Facebook, and email with anyone who might be interested.
Each year, I provide a report to the board that provides a high-level view of our technology program, through the lens of particular projects completed, underway, or planned. This will certainly not be the most riveting content I’ve posted to the blog, but for those of you who are interested, I’m posting a summary of that report here.
The 2016-17 school year was one of transition in the Iowa City Community School District’s Office of Technology & Innovation. As we move into winter of 2017-18, we have completed a number of major projects and still have significant initiatives underway or in planning stages. Our departmental performance metrics have generally improved slightly, though I’m excited to see how our work in terms of specific initiatives and in targeted locations will manifest itself in the coming year’s technology program evaluation. Continue reading Technology Annual Report→