Call to Order and Roll Call
Thethird meeting of the Task Force on Student Access to Technology was held on Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Katie Stine, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members Present:Representative Carl Rollins II, Presiding Chair; Senator Katie Stine, Co-Chair; Senators Jared Carpenter, Dennis Parrett, and Mike Wilson; Representatives John "Bam" Carney and Derrick Graham.
Guests: Tim Maggard, Director of Technology, Hardin County Schools.
Approval of the August 27th, 2012 Minutes
Senator Parrett moved to approve the minutes of the August 27, 2012, meeting and Representative Graham seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Kentucky Digital Textbook Project
Tim Maggard, Director of Technology, Hardin County Schools, said that 21 of his 29 years in the education system have been spent in the classroom. Mr. Maggard expressed his concern over the students that were harder to connect with in regards to learning. The Kentucky Digital Textbook Project is an effort to bridge the gap for those students to ensure a better educational experience.
Mr. Maggard showed the committee an example of the digital textbook. With the digital textbook, students can see the lesson and icons to represent what activities are included in the lesson. Some of the lessons include a Google translator so that the students who are struggling with the English language are still able to participate effectively in the lesson. There are also several websites that Hardin County schools use that will read the lesson content to the student. Mr. Maggard said that there are many students who are very bright and can comprehend the lesson; however, they cannot read on grade level.
Mr. Maggard said that the idea of the digital textbook is to keep the students engaged and hands-on in the lesson. All the information and other resources are readily available so there is no interruption in the learning process. The digital textbook allows the students to learn, regardless of the level they are on. It individualizes the lessons for each studentís learning process.
Mr. Maggard provided an example to the committee in regards to digital test taking. The digital textbook has been designed so that when a student answers a question incorrectly, the program explains why the question was wrong and provides further detail about the correct answer to enhance the learning process.
Mr. Maggard said that because funding and budgeting is a concern to the schools and the state, the program and the information used is free. Hardin County is using a product called Moodle to provide the textbook project. It is an open source, meaning that no one owns it and anyone can contribute information to it. Hardin County schools have approximately 40 teachers developing information for this program.
Mr. Maggard explained that the teachers can personalize each lesson so that it may specifically teach the students about the environment or history in their state or even their area. The teachers can create each lesson to reach each student, and it allows the students to apply each lesson to their area and surroundings.
Mr. Maggard said that using the digital textbook costs about one-fourth of using traditional methods such as using printers, ink, and buying equipment.
Responding to a question from Senator Parrett, Mr. Maggard said that the intent is to reach K-12 students. Mr. Maggard said that he feels that teachers who are actually in the classroom and creating the lessons are better at reaching students than the people who create the textbooks. Mr. Maggard also explained that the district is working together to get more Wi-Fi access points for the students to use while they are out of the classroom.
Mr. Maggard responded to Senator Stineís question in regards to validating the information that is submitted by explaining that a committee of a teacherís peers must review the content before it is submitted and accepted. This committee must include people that teach the same subject and are from the teacherís state or district. Regarding Senator Stineís question about using Moodle, Mr. Maggard explained that his district is considering a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, and the main reason they chose Moodle for the textbook project is because it will work on any device. One of the main concerns of BYOD is how to extend the battery life of each studentís device.
In regards to Senator Stineís concerns related to students struggling with reading issues, Mr. Maggard said that the digital textbook is also serving as a tutoring mentor for those students.
Mr. Maggard responded to Representative Carney by stating that the district has put the digital textbook idea out in the community so they may see the concept at hand and understand exactly how it will work.
Discussion of Possible Task Force Recommendations
Representative Rollins explained that there were two different versions of the draft task force recommendations included in the committee folders. The only difference between the two was the second bullet point.
Senator Stine explained that she sees the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) as a resource or a centralized entity that can help resolve legal issues or be a clearing house for educational suggestions. The recommendation change will allow more flexibility for the schools to share ideas and practices. She wants the schools to feel like there is room for innovations and changes.
Senator Stine also suggested that the committee think about how to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of what each school does so that the legislature can use that information to ensure that the schools are getting good results from digital learning efforts and programs.
Representative Graham added that how the schools are performing in yearly evaluations should be reviewed as well.
Senator Parrett commented that the content in regards to the digital learning should be reviewed so that all the standards of the curriculum are addressed.
The next meeting is scheduled for October 22nd at 1:00 p.m.
With no further business to come before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 11:15 a.m.