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The Learning Technology Plan

In previous months, the ITAC committee has shared the documents that frame the “Why” behind our upcoming Learning Technology Plan rollout. With input from others in the district, they framed an Actions and Attributes list to describe how technology should enhance teaching and learning in SVVSD. They also took into consideration the ways in which technology and curriculum are interconnected by looking at the district unit plans and the related technology vertical alignment.

With much input and guidance from the ITAC committee, we’re exited to share the SVVSD Learning Technology Plan and the timeline for rollout. You can see a copy of the plan by following this link.

You’ll notice that this year will include a focus on two middle school “readiness sites” who will assist us in determining the processes, procedures, and needs as we move forward with the remaining schools. All middle schools were invited to apply to become a readiness site, and the two selected sites will be announced soon.

In the meantime, if you’d like a synopsis of  the “when” and “what” of the Learning Technology Plan by level, use the links below

Elementary Learning Technology Plan

Middle School Learning Technology Plan

High School Learning Technology Plan

There’s much more to share about the plan including the options for professional learning as well as guidelines for parents, students, and teachers. We’ll be discussing these with the ITAC committee and will publish our progress and meeting information here.

We hope you’ll continue to share your input and feedback as we move forward.


Continuing the work

During the 2013-2014 school year, a subset of the ITAC committee will continue the work begun by the larger group. Now that recommendations have been approved and rollout plans are coming together, this smaller committee will help guide the implementation of technology across the district.

In order to ensure that we hear from a representative population within St. Vrain Valley schools, we selected representation from a wide variety of roles within the district. Our committee consists of the following members:

  • 1 elementary administrator – Amanda Sauer, Erie ES

  • 1 secondary administrator – Jeremy Lacrosse, Westview MS

  • 1 elementary teacher – Sarah Bloms, Centennial ES

  • 1 middle teacher – Adam Wellington, Coal Ridge MS

  • 1 high teacher Paul Stecina, Erie HS

  • 1 Library representative Sherri Platt, Mead MS

  • 1 curriculum representative Greg George, Math Coordinator

  • 1 OPD representative David Baker, Office of Professional Development

  • 1 student services representative Sally Burch, Student Services

  • 3 DTS representatives Erik Black, Dan Magyar, Mark Stilwell

In May, we held a meeting with this smaller group to begin conversations about possible rollout scenarios and considerations for professional learning and implementation. You can see the agendas for this and past meetings in the ITAC Meeting documents folder to the left.

We hope you will continue to follow this work and participate in our conversations. Send us your wonderings. Ask for clarification when something isn’t clear. Share your ideas for how we can make this program a success.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Final ITAC Recommendations & Next Steps

After four months of thoughtful discussion and dialogue, ITAC is pleased to release their final recommendations to the CIO regarding the future of instructional technology in the St. Vrain Valley Schools.

Our schedule for Joe McBreen, our CIO, to take ITAC recommendations to district leadership was accelerated a bit, as there was much excitement to see the results.

Last week, the CIO presented a slate of recommendations based on your options to leadership.  You can see the final slate in Appendix D of the final recommendations document.  Because of their enthusiastic support and desire to move forward, we have been asked to present that slate of options as well as your work on this process to the Board of Education on June 12th.  I’ll be requesting some additional information from you for the board report in a future email.

In addition, the CIO has supported the continuation of the smaller ITAC subset to begin the implementation process for our technology rollout.  This will be a big project and we are excited to move forward.    Look for more information in the near future on the next steps in this process.

ITAC Meeting 8: Finalizing recommendations

On April 24, the ITAC committee wrapped up four months of exploration and conversation to provide a vision for instructional technology in St. Vrain Valley Schools. We are excited to share the results of their work with you and to invite your comments.

To gain a perspective on the frame for learning they used as a basis for their recommendations, browse the Guidelines for Instructional Technology Considerations which list the actions and attributes we want our learning spaces to support as well as the Technology-Curriculum Alignment document which highlights the explicit evidence outcomes in our district curriculum where technology is a necessary part of instruction.

The Instructional Technology Advisory Committee Final Report to the Chief Information Officer is an overview of the recommendations for technology implementation across the district. While still a draft and undergoing revision by the committee, this will give you a sense of their final thoughts and recommendations. If you have feedback or comments, we’d love to have you share them with us.

Our sincere thanks go to the 33 members of the ITAC committee for all their work. Their collective voice, spanning multiple grade levels, subject areas, departments, and schools, gave a truly representative voice for this process. It is through their incredible efforts that we have such a powerful vision of the future of learning in the St. Vrain Valley Schools. Additional thanks go to CIO Joe McBreen and our district leadership for entrusting our group with this task.

ITAC Meeting 7

During the seventh meeting of the Instructional Technology Advisory Committee, teams worked to refine their recommendations in four areas:

  • Classrooms
  • Computer labs
  • Student devices
  • Teacher devices

We referred back to our our actions and attributes as defined in the Guidelines for Instructional Technology Considerations document as we did so, and also considered the realities of the budget and equipment costs. For many of the recommendations, teams defined three states to bring forward

  • An Ideal State, which would exceed the needs of our actions and attributes and would allow us to greatly expand the use of technology for teaching and learning.
  • An Acceptable State, which would still meet the expectations set out in our actions and attributes, but might not fully realize the ideal state we hope to build for our students.
  • A Minimal State, which would satisfy many of our actions and attributes, but might require some compromises on how those expectations are met.

Teams also began to build a rationale for their recommendations by listing the pros, cons, and implications of these three states. These will be used to build a final set of recommendations that will be presented to Joe McBreen and ultimately to district leadership.

You can see the recommendations as they exist in draft form by using these links. We hope you’ll leave comments, questions and feedback below to help us refine the work we’ve done.

ITAC Meeting 6 – Making Student Device Recommendations

At today’s sixth ITAC meeting, the teams will be working to hammer out their first draft recommendations for student devices in St. Vrain.  All members have been engaging their students, colleagues, and interested others in exploring possibilities of several devices, keeping in mind our desired actions and attributes.

The agenda for today’s meeting is here.  If you’d like to take a swing at your own recommendation, here’s a blank copy of the recommendation worksheet that the teams will be working with.  Please share your thinking in the comments.

ITAC Student Device Dialogue Guide

In The Adaptive School, Garmston and Wellman write about two types of conversation that groups use in their collaborative work.  The two types are dialogue and discussion.  Discussion is where we are headed – as we work to reach some decisions and recommendations.  But before we decide, we need to understand. To begin to dig deeply into our conversation around student devices, we want to be sure that before we begin to make decisions, we engage in thoughtful dialogue.  Here’s how they describe dialogue:

Dialogue is a reflective learning process in which group members seek to understand one another’s viewpoints and deeply held assumptions.  The word dialogue comes from the Greek dialogos.  Dia means “through” and logos means “word.” In this meaning-making through words, group members inquire into their own and others’ beliefs, values, and mental models to better understand how things work in their world.  In dialogue, listening is as important as speaking.  

Dialogue creates an emotional and cognitive safety zone in which ideas flow for examinations without judgment.  Although many of the capabilities and tools of dialogue and skilled discussion are the same, their core intentions are quite different and require different personal and collective monitoring processes. (p.49)

We have sensed that we have much to unpack before ITAC begins to make recommendations around student devices, and that a focused dialogue would be a good way to accomplish that.  As we prepare to begin our dialogue around student devices, a dialogue that has begun on our listserv, we wanted to provide ITAC Committee members with a framework for helping all of them to come to the meeting on March 20th with some of their best thinking ready to be shared via dialogue with the various sub-committees.

Here’s a link to a Google Docs template with the questions.

(You’ll be prompted to login to St. Vrain Google-land if you’re not when you click this link.  Then click on “Use this Template” to create an editable copy of the document that’s just for you to record your thinking. If you don’t have a St. Vrain Google account, here’s a copy of the document that doesn’t require a password to access.)

Prior to the meeting, we are asking ITAC Committee members to take an opportunity to explore these questions for themselves, and to seek input from others.

If you’re reading this blog post, then we are interested in your thinking around these questions, too.  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

PS – Michelle shared this additional article about dialogue if you’d like to know more.  We found it useful in our thinking.  

ITAC Meeting 4 – Field Trip!

At the last ITAC meeting, as we’re beginning to consider proposals for student and teacher devices, we sent the ITAC team on a couple of field trips to sites using two different platforms in an attempt to provide devices to students.  Conrad Ball Middle School in Loveland is exploring an iPad 1:1, while Flagstaff Academy here in Longmont is using lots of Chromebooks to support instruction.  Here is the agenda from that meeting.  You can see, in Activity 3 of that document, some of the notes from the team when they returned to discuss their observations.

You might also want to take a peek at some of the resources about Chromebooks and iPads we shared with the team prior to their experience.  Our next task is to begin to explore possibilities and recommendations for student devices in the classroom.  What advice or suggestions would you offer to the ITAC group as they move towards their recommendations?

ITAC Meeting 3: Outfitting Classroom and Lab Spaces

During this third meeting of  the ITAC committee, we began with an opportunity to adopt the final draft our Actions and Attributes document. The document will drive and define what we’ll look for as we make recommendations.

A majority of our meeting gave us an opportunity to begin thinking about learning spaces within our district – specifically classroom and computer lab spaces. Each group had an opportunity to review input from our Building Technology Contacts (BTCs) and from a district-wide survey we sent to all staff at the beginning of the month. You can find the links to that feedback in Activity 3 in the agenda.

The ITAC groups began to form their initial recommendations for classroom and computer lab spaces, but the final set of recommendations will not be made until we also have a chance to discuss three more realms:

  • devices for student use;
  • devices for teacher use; and
  • other learning spaces and resources

For those of you in the district, we hope you’ll provide the group with feedback as the recommendation process progresses. Our goal is to provide a thoughtful set of recommendations that will move our use of digital tools forward in St. Vrain. We’d like your input.

Guidelines for Instructional Technology Consideration – 1st Draft

Yesterday, we posted some of our early thinking on the Actions and Attributes work.  We are now ready to share with you the first draft of our collective thinking regarding instructional technology considerations that will guide our future work.  
In this draft, for ITAC committee input and suggestions, we are providing a summary of the committee’s original comments.  We want to make sure that we heard each group separately before moving forward with further synthesis.  Please mark up this document using document comments.  (Highlight the text you’d like to comment on, and go to the Insert Menu and select “Comment.”)

Specifically, we are seeking your input regarding the accuracy of our summary of your work, as well as, after further reflection, you’ve noticed that additional language needs to be present. 

Please add your comments, questions, ideas, and input to this document by noon Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 so that we can provide an additional revision for comment before our next ITAC meeting.  

(And, yes, if you’re not on the ITAC Committee, we are still seeking your input.  So get in there and get commenting.)