INFRASTRUCTURE

USING THE ROADMAP
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A clear vision for teaching and learning drives infrastructure planning. As school districts focus on making resources available to support newly aligned teaching and learning goals and methodologies, they must also include funding for appropriate professional learning and educational technologies. Investigate how consideration of all components of the “Building Your Roadmap” model can be an efficient, strategic approach to building a great infrastructure.

CONNECTIONS

  • Technology and infrastructure are not the driving forces. Rather, they are the supports that enable other changes in teaching, learning and assessment. Your infrastructure plans will be heavily influenced by the goals of every other part of a strategic plan.

STAGES

TRANSFORMING

Ample bandwidth and Wi-Fi connections to ensure full access to all kinds of content and connections to others, no matter how bandwidth-intensive it is, to optimize learning.

PRINCIPLES

CAPACITY

Infrastructure ensures connections—Provides broadband for the school district, which includes connections among buildings, and copper and fiber infrastructure and Wi-Fi within buildings.

HARDWARE

Infrastructure accommodates devices—Embraces any device that allows students to create content, consume content and/or connect and collaborate with others in the community or across the world.

SUPPORT

Infrastructure provides technical support—Encompasses fixing broken devices and connections, maintaining all technology, planning for future problems and asset management.

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING

Infrastructure attends to professional learning—Recognizes that the infrastructure will only be successful when those who use it are appropriately skilled, and therefore ensures adequate training and preparation.

SECURITY

Infrastructure protects privacy and data security—Addresses (1) the technical side, where filters, approaches to secure networks, logically dividing devices for kids from core business and other approaches to technical security of the infrastructure are considered, and (2) the human side, where policies around safety, what data can be used by whom for what purposes, and general digital citizenship are crucial.

ENVIRONMENTAL

Infrastructure attends to the environmental and physical needs—Coordinates and confirms the efficacy of the underlying infrastructure of schools, from the physical buildings to the electrical system.

KEY QUESTIONS

  • How can technology support your teaching and learning?

  • Consider that schools, like learners, are different, with varying kinds of leadership, facility engagement and curricular expectations. One set of goals or approaches will work for every school in a district, or all districts in a state.

  • Consider asking all stakeholders – including leadership, faculty and students – to assess and comment on the technology infrastructure available in each school.

  • Honestly evaluate the current and desired stage of technology engagement at each school.

  • Do you have capable, on-site tech support to facilitate a large scale computing environment?

  • Do you have enough bandwidth to support a massive influx of devices?

  • Do your parents understand the value of a technology rich school environment?

  • How will the safety of the students be ensured both technologically and educationally?

  • Have you developed solutions with sustainability in mind?

ACTION STEPS

Develop a comprehensive, integrated plan for infrastructure driven by the learning, teaching, professional learning, assessment, accountability, leadership and community needs and desires of your school/system.

Specific aspects of the infrastructure plan, especially connections and tech support, should be monitored frequently (at least bi-weekly), while others can be monitored less frequently.

Invest in and provide substantial professional learning to all users, especially tech support staff, prior to implementation of any device, learning application, administrative application or other technology

POLICY CONSIDERATIONS

  • Acceptable/Responsible Use Policies

  • Policies for security and data privacy that address, and go beyond:

  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

  • Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

  • Policies for technology use out of school, including technical support

  • Harassment, intimidation and bullying

  • Social media

  • Electronic communication between students, staff and parents

EXEMPLARS

  • Kingsport City Schools (KCS), Kingsport, Tennessee
    At Infrastructure and professional learning are two key areas where Kingsport City Schools (KCS), has focused its attention. To support its district-wide BYOD initiative and burgeoning one-to-one program (through which laptop devices will be deployed to every KCS student in grades six through twelve by the fall of 2015, with elementary grades to follow), the system installed a wireless network covering the entire district. KCS also installed a new web filter to provide content filtering on all student devices, and it upgraded its Internet access to an impressive one gigabyte. Additionally, KCS deployed Wi-Fi on five of its school buses, providing additional learning opportunities to its students who have longer bus routes.

    KCS also places great emphasis on professional learning. Designated teacher leaders work collaboratively to develop and share online lesson content and curriculum maps, common assessments, and coordinate professional learning workshops. Technical support for the district’s technology vision is provided through personnel at the district and school level, as well as via students who are trained and capable of providing such support.
    School Website

  • Baldwin County School District, Baldwin, Alabama
    In 2011, Baldwin County School District launched the Digital Renaissance 1-to-1 program, an ambitious journey to provide students with the skills and tools necessary required to be college and career ready. As part of this project, the district completed an infrastructure overhaul to boost broadband access throughout the district. The district’s upgrade provided 2.5 gigabits (GBs) of Internet pipe into the broadband system and connected the main office and the schools. It also included 1-gigabit switches that provide 1 gigabit to each wireless access point in every classroom. This new broadband backbone permits the seamless download of multimedia content into the classroom and students to create and share content via web 2.0 tools.
    District Website

  • Hawaii 1:1 Deployment & Change Management Guide, HI
    This guide provides technology coordinators with a step-by-step approach to deploying, maintaining, and supporting a vibrant and safe 1:1 learning environment. While most guides focus on the technical side of 1:1 deployments, this guide attempts to provide local administrators and faculty with best practices geared towards developing stakeholder buy-in, student accountability, and faculty awareness.
    Program Website

  • Hawaii: 1:1 Access Program, HI
    The Hawaii State Department of Education’s (HIDOE) Access Learning pilot project focuses on providing schools with support and resources to use technology as a tool to transform teaching and learning beyond the four walls of the classroom. Schools applied and were selected based on their network capacity, readiness to implement large scale school-wide change, ability to participate in professional development, identification of a school level project team, sufficient on-site technology coordinator support, and capacity to participate in the project evaluation. Schools received one device per student and teacher, and a spare pool of equipment equivalent to six percent of their total device count.
    Program Website

  • Lamoille Union Middle/High School, Lamoille, VT
    The goals of the Lancer One Project; Universal Access, Spontaneous Learning, Equity, and Personalized Learning, were established to help meet the needs of students in rural Vermont where 48% of the population qualifies for free and reduced lunch and changes in teaching and learning were needed to increase student success. The district upgraded the school’s broadband infrastructure and provided each student with a tablet to help meet these goals.The students played an important role in the development and implementation of the Lancer One project, advocating for the project to the school board, guiding the decision-making, logistics and support of the devices. In the classroom and at home, students describe their opportunities as transformative. Students have increased access to teacher and classroom materials, they have taken ownership over learning, data and grades are shared more frequently and students find easier access to opportunities and connections outside their school community. In the February 2014 survey, 85.4% of students responded that they could, “find information, and learn new skills anytime, anywhere”. Only 40% of our students responded that they could do this prior to the Lancer One program.
    School Website