Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tech Integration Tips from Coachella Valley USD

Coachella Valley USD is presenting on their mobile learning initiative at the National School Boards Association convention (March, 2015).  They have spearheaded one of the largest iPad rollouts in our nation at the  PK-12 level with over 20,000 students receiving iPads.

Key recommendations from the CVUSD team that I heard:

  • Devices don't matter if you don't have the right attitude. Mindset is essential and enthusiasm is vital.
  • There has to be a paradigm shift in schools from "IT" to Ed Tech.
  • T3s are Teachers Training Teachers. Coachella is leveraging the power of peer modeling and teacher expertise to help tech integration become a reality.
  • The tech team must be decentralized. If you want your tech personnel to really impact teaching, they have to be out in buildings, reaching out to teachers.
  • Fixing technology (keeping network up and on and repairing devices) alone will never fulfill technology's promise. Transformational use requires committed tech integration, not just the 'stuff.' 
  • Support teachers with time and training. 
  • Uphold teacher responsibility for tech integration by making it a component of teacher evaluation. 
  • Technology must have a proponent voice at the highest district levels or it will not be heard as a priority. 

Connected-on-the-go - a cool idea: they have a digital divide with many families and homes in poverty and not connected. With many families who have no internet at home, the district wanted to extend learning in the realms they control, so they added routers to their school buses. They now have kids on routes to and from school who are able to use their devices via the mobile wi fi provided in transit.

Coachella has got it going on! They are a large district clearly guided by a commitment to making transformative tech use a means for positive student engagement,