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« So you want to write a book | Main | I shipped in 2011 - you can too »
Wednesday
Dec282011

Project ELF-Tech

Miguel Guhlin in Are Your Ready for BYOD? writes:
If XYZ school district is doing [NAME OF PROGRAM GOES HERE], why can't we? ... The implication is simple--if that organization can implement this successfullywhy aren't you--or your department dependent on your placement in the hierarchy--up to the job?
I had a similar thought (ephiphany is too strong a word), when I heard Tim Wilson* from Osseo Schools speak at our state technology conference on his district's BYOD project earlier this month. While I'd been putting the pieces in place for some time, Tim's words pushed me into making things official. Here is the memo going out to district leadership and then to staff next week about our BYOD project - ELF Tech. 


Project ELF-Tech
(Extending Learning Forever through Technology)
BYOD project in District 77

This a proposal for the Mankato Area Public Schools to officially adopt a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) project throughout the district. The effort will be identified by the title Project ELF-Tech - with elf having the connotation of a small thing that is both helpful and mischievous.

The primary purposes of the project will be
  • to increase motivation and engagement in the classroom
  • to help provide access to a wide variety of resources that support differentiated instruction efforts
  • to help provide increased student access to school provided e-books, e-textbooks, and Moodle units
  • to provide the means for online collaborative work in the classroom
  • to develop workable rules and standards for classroom teachers to help manage student-owned technologies
Project ELF-Tech will help enable teachers to take advantage of personally-owned technologies - laptops, tablets, netbooks, cellphones, etc. - as tools in the classroom learning. Students will be encouraged to bring these devices to school rather than banning or restricting their use.

The district has laid the following groundwork to get ready for Project ELF-Tech:
  1. Assessed the percentage of students with personal technology access.
  2. Defined the capabilities of personally-owned technologies needed for school work for parents.
  3. Built the infrastructure needed to support student access with personal devices, including secure wireless network access and on-line tools such as MAPSApps and Moodle.
  4. Created district policies that do not prohibit the use of student-owned devices, but describe appropriate and inappropriate use (in the ACCEPTABLE USE POLICY).
  5. Encouraged professional BYOD opportunities though paperless in-services and meetings of teachers and administrators.
  6. Supported the current, self-initiated use by teachers of student-owned devices in classrooms..
Building infrastructure and designing policies at the district level can only go so far. The stage is set, but to be truly effective, this project needs to be driven by individual schools and individual teachers to support specific curricular needs.

The technology department is asking for volunteers for pilot ELF-Tech projects at the elementary, middle and high school levels in the district. The purpose of these pilots will be to:
  • provide experiences that will help long-range development of technology policies in the district.
  • provide an assessment of the capacity of the wireless network infrastructure and an upgrade plan based on need
  • provide a cohort of classroom teachers with practical experience with using student-owned technology in the classroom who can serve as guides and mentors to other teachers
If you would like to participate in Project ELF-Tech, please provide the following information: (This will be a GoogleForm when it goes to the district):
  1. Your name, school and position. If you want to participate as part of a group, please provide this information all members of the group.
  2. What are your goals for you or your group and what might be some activities for achieving these goals? (For example, I would like to use student-owned technologies to improve student writing by increasing the frequency of peer editing with GoogleDocs.)
  3. How might you assess whether your goals were met?
  4. What resources would you like the technology department to provide? (Training, supplemental devices, additional wireless bandwidth, assessment help, etc.)
Please let me know if you have questions or concerns. - Doug

Neilson, Lisa. 7 Myths of BYOD Debunked, T.H.E. Journal, November 11, 2011.
* Tim's early adoption of GoogleApps gave a lot of Minnesota Districts the courage to do so as well. Oh, and naming projects is his practice as well.

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Reader Comments (1)

district are trying make them self high tech but here we need proper government support

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