Call to Order and Roll Call
Thesecond meeting of the Task Force on Student Access to Technology was held on Monday, August 27, 2012, at 1:00 p.m., in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Katie Stine, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members: Senator Katie Stine, Presiding Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Jared Carpenter, David Givens, Dennis Parrett, and Mike Wilson; Representatives John "Bam" Carney, Derrick Graham, and Ruth Ann Palumbo.
Guests: Gene Kirchner, Superintendent, Ft. Thomas Independent Schools; Ginger Webb, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, Ft. Thomas Independent Schools; Diana McGhee, Director of Technology and Information, Ft. Thomas Independent Schools; Matthew Constant, Assistant Superintendent of Technology and Federal Programs, Owensboro Independent Schools; and Jim Jackson, District Technology Coordinator and Chief Information Officer, Bullitt County Schools.
Approval of the August 27th, 2012 Minutes
Representative Rollins moved to approve the minutes of the August 27, 2012, meeting and Senator Givens seconded the motion. Motion carried.
1:1 Mobile Computing Device Programs in Kentucky Schools
Gene Kirchner, Superintendent, Ft. Thomas Independent Schools, provided the committee with background information regarding Ft. Thomas’ ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) initiative. Ft. Thomas is a suburban school district that is part of the greater Cincinnati metropolitan area with a population of nearly 1.7 million. The student population of Ft. Thomas Independent Schools for the 2012-2013 school year is 2,822 students. Of the 2,822 students, 16 percent of students are on free or reduced lunch, 7 percent are minority, and 200 are tuition students.
Although Ft. Thomas is well-known for its high school football record, Mr. Kirchner stated that Ft. Thomas has also ranked first in Kentucky in state assessment for 17 consecutive years. Ft. Thomas is also ranked first in Kentucky for college and career readiness. The fall 2011 test scores proved that Ft. Thomas is well above the state and national averages. Mr. Kirchner stated that any technology the school implements will need to support this level of performance.
Mr. Kirchner said that Ft. Thomas Schools began an initiative called “Vision 2020,” in which the school made a commitment to students that by the year 2020 they will have been exposed to the skills and competency necessary to compete in a global, knowledge-based economy. The model of Vision 2020 is critical and creative teaching and learning. Ft. Thomas wants to give students exposure to all the necessary 21st century skills including:
· Energetic classrooms;
· Creating, performing, and designing;
· Real world applications;
· Problem solving;
· Global citizenship;
· Digital literacy; and
· Transformative uses of technology.
Mr. Kirchner said that Ft. Thomas is not where it would like to be in the technology area. The district goal for 2012-13 is to clearly define and articulate the vision for technology going forward. He said that it has been difficult because many technology initiatives are based on a one-to-one mobile device plan. Mr. Kirchner explained that the problem is by the time you buy each student their own mobile device with software, a newer, better version is out and you have to buy the equipment and software again. With the BYOD program, students are able to stay up-to-date on their own with the latest software and programs. The BYOD also allows students to choose the device they are more comfortable working with.
Ginger Webb, Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning, stated that this is Ft. Thomas’s first full year of having the capability for students to bring their own device. Teachers are using this technology creatively to enhance student engagement. Ms. Webb said BYOD is being utilized by Ft. Thomas teachers with Quick Response codes (QR codes), Edmodo, and Poll Everywhere.
By using the QR codes in a lesson or textbook, students can scan the code with their device and have a more interactive demonstration of the lesson. Teachers are putting these QR codes on posters and items around the school to share more information with students. Ms. Webb said that this process is enhancing student engagement by allowing a more hands-on approach with lessons.
Ms. Webb discussed Edmodo, which is similar to the social networking site Facebook, but is designed specifically for teachers and students. It is a secure place to connect, and the teachers and students are given a code to use to ensure that no outside users may join a specific group. Teachers are able to share content and educational applications with their students. Students, teachers, and parents may access homework, grades, review class discussions, and receive notifications.
Poll Everywhere is another useful application that teachers are using with their students. Ms. Webb explained that Poll Everywhere is a web application that can be used to gather live responses in any venue. It replaces the expensive clicker systems to provide quick formative assessments by polling students. It works internationally on the web, texts, and Twitter and can provide up-to-the-minute poll results. Students can text questions to a teacher or presenter and can download the results and save them into a PowerPoint presentation.
Diana McGhee, Director of Technology and Information, explained why they have implemented BYOD and not 1:1. As a district, it was problematic to buy equipment for all students and then have to continue buying as newer technology becomes available. It is more beneficial for the district to allow BYOD rather than providing 1:1 devices. The recent results of the district’s Technology Readiness Survey showed that:
· Over 307 personally owned devices were reported;
· 96 percent students have a home computer;
· 93 percent have internet access at home; and
· 96 percent have internet access – either broadband, DSL, or satellite.
Ms. McGhee explained how Ft. Thomas prepared for BYOD. The district partnered with the vendor Enterasys to begin their network. Ft. Thomas invested over $25,000 to get the technology ready and ensure Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) compliance. The district did not advertise the new network to the students and within the first week they had over 500 devices connect to their network. The district’s network has over 1,724 devices connected.
Ms. McGhee said that Ft. Thomas has two types of wireless networks:
· District-owned devices,
· Personally-owned devices (PODNET)
-PODNET has four layers of speed adjustment:
-Normal (Students with ID key code),
-Guest (Parent), and
Mr. Kirchner said that the reason the district did not advertise the new network to the students was because it did not want it to be a separate program but rather have it become seamless with the educational process. Ms. McGhee said that in keeping with the seamless integration, the district has not implemented a special BYOD policy other than the Annual Use Policy (AUP). The AUP was updated last summer and covers both personal and district-owned devices. Every student in the district has signed the new AUP agreement this school year.
Responding to Senator Stine, Ms. McGhee stated that since implementing this program, the teachers are able to accomplish more in the classroom, and the students are becoming more engaged in the lessons. The teachers are able to incorporate more into their lessons.
Responding to Senator Parrett, Mr. Kirchner stated that the small percentage of students who do not have access to technology are encouraged to use the school’s resources during school hours. The school allows extended hours in the library, and the students who do not have internet at home can take advantage of that resource.
Responding to Representative Carney’s statement about his district utilizing Performance Based Education, where if a student excels he or she can move to a higher level class, Mr. Kirchner said that Ft. Thomas has the same policy.
Responding to Representative Carney in regards to support for the staff with the technology, Ms. McGhee said that she offers technology training and support classes at least one day a week. The teachers are able to fill out an assessment and get specific training on the areas they need. Ms. McGhee said that numerous teachers go to training on their own during the summer to stay on top of the latest technology developments. Ms. Webb added that the majority of the newer teachers are already experienced in utilizing technology.
Responding to Senator Wilson, Mr. Kirchner said that even in the districts where the percentages of free and reduced lunches are higher, more than likely those students will have a smart phone or some other device.
Representative Graham commented that his district provided the devices but asked parents to pay the insurance fee, and his district has a high number of students that are receiving free or reduced lunches. Although they may not have internet at home, they usually have smart phones that enables them to participate with the lessons.
Responding to Representative Collins, Ms. McGhee stated that a student may only have two devices connected under their username on the district network. Leadership may have up to five connected on the network. This helps reduce bandwidth use.
Mr. Kirchner also added that the teachers are being sent to training workshops that will show teachers how to create their own apps to reach a more specific student audience.
Owensboro Independent Schools
Matthew Constant, Assistant Superintendent of Technology and Federal Programs, gave the committee an overview of Owensboro Independent Schools. The district enrollment is approximately 4,500 P-12 students, which is up 650 students since 2007. The district deployed the 1:1 laptop program for grades 5-12, which includes about 2,400 students. Seventy-five percent of the students participate in the free or reduced lunch program.
Mr. Constant said that the students are able to have access to the laptops 24/7, which are collected at the end of the school year. Mr. Constant stated that the district wants to cultivate the students’ 21st century skills. The district wants students to create new knowledge and wants every child to be proficient and prepared for success. The results will be strategic and operational engagement.
Mr. Constant stated that Owensboro has created levels of excellence that include cognitive complexity, real world preparedness, technology integration, and student/teacher engagement. The district feels that using technology is an integrated and essential part for promoting student collaboration among students. Students are able to partner with the teacher to define the content and process. The district wants teachers to initiate integrated learning resources and wants students to have access to the information.
Mr. Constant said that the mission of digital innovation involves challenging their team to design and model innovative digital instruction, which empower teachers to facilitate differentiated student learning. Students are challenged to take responsibility to become lifelong learners, creatively utilizing technology to reach full potential. Teachers are challenged to collaborate and create innovative, individualized digital instruction that empowers and engages all students.
Mr. Constant explained that the district wanted to make sure they planned the implementation effectively. In the fall 2010-spring 2011, they began by piloting laptop carts. In 2010-2011, digital curriculum developers were hired. The district began intensive professional development and wrote over 400 digital lessons written for the school district. The district had full-scale deployment in 2011-2012 and will have the second year of full-scale deployment in 2012-2013.
In regards to funding, Mr. Constant explained that in the future they may look at BYOD as an option. He said the technology has a four year life expectancy, and the projected costs for the entire process is approximately $5 million.
Mr. Constant said the reason behind Owensboro’s success is its strong and visionary leadership. The digital curriculum developers intensely worked on comprehensive learning, and the district put an emphasis on the technical and instructional mesh.
Mr. Constant discussed a few of the barriers that Owensboro faced while implementing the 1:1 program. When the program was first deployed, the district completely maxed out its bandwidth; however, that was resolved by Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) within the first two months of deployment. The district has constant communication with the technical team to make sure that the district ensures success for the students and teachers. The district is struggling with funding and resources, and wants more advanced technical programs with less funding.
Responding to a question from Senator Givens regarding improved learning, Mr. Constant explained that with 21st century learning, they are getting students ready for the world and environment they are encountering. The by-product of this will be increased academic achievement. Mr. Kirchner added that, if students are using the technology to create, perform, and design in real world ways that will better enable them to compete in the global economy, they have achieved success.
Responding to Senator Givens regarding what motivates the districts to move forward technologically, Mr. Kirchner stated that it is using technology as a tool to promote success and performance.
Bullitt County Schools
Jim Jackson, District Technology Coordinator and Chief Information Officer, began by saying that Bullitt County added wireless access points for every four classrooms, as well as in large gathering areas such as the gym, cafeteria, and other offices. That began the first phase of mobile device implementation.
Mr. Jackson said that after Apple released the iPad, new devices were constantly being released. Suddenly, laptops dropped significantly in price after the release of the smaller tablets. Students have been using smart phones, iPods, Nooks, Kindles, and many other mobile devices.
Bullitt County Schools have decided to embrace the internet-capable device as a learning tool. After looking at the pros and cons of 1:1 versus BYOD, Mr. Jackson said they have decided to use the BYOD approach as it is much more affordable for the district. This was implemented in January 2011. There is no cost to the district for devices or support staff. Each student is responsible for securing and protecting their own device.
Mr. Jackson said that in the current phase, the district is working on installation of needed network and wireless infrastructure to support an access point in every classroom. This will include the access points, switches, and wiring so students can connect to the internet. In addition, Bullitt County will be managing over 1,000 access points once this stage is complete. The district was able to work with KDE to be granted more bandwidth, which has helped significantly. Some of the costs and challenges for the district include charging stations, repairs, and digital content.
Representative Carney requested that an email version of all three presenters’ PowerPoints be sent to him so that he may forward them to the district he represents.
Representative Graham stated that as a legislative body they need to take up the matter of budgetary concerns in order to help the school districts prepare for implementing this technology.
Responding to Senator Stine in regards to whether a statewide or state-sponsored digital course is available, Mr. Kirchner said that currently there are some programs available but not many. The districts would like to see more free resources for students and teachers.
Responding to Senator Carpenter regarding the cost of textbooks in relation to the cost of mobile devices, Mr. Kirchner said that although the cost of a textbook is spread over a five year life span, you are able to keep the mobile devices more current on content for a lot less. The cost of technology is continuing to go down, and eventually we will be in a paperless environment.
The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 25th at 10:00 a.m.
With no further business to come before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.