The practice of creating a National Institute of Health (NIH) brick supported my belief that having clearly outlined goals and plans lead to success. In my own life, I document short- and long-term goals in many areas of my life, such as teaching, health, and finances. The brick model reminded me of this system. I understand how creating a brick can help a district's technology leadership team to clearly articulate the current state and desired future state. By doing this, the team members are able to begin to let go of standards headed to retirement and instead focus on baseline and emerging standards. Also, this will free attention to be directed toward strategic and tactical standards. I am developing a deeper awareness of how best practices in psychology and sociology support education.
As I read the SBAC Device Requirements and Approved Browsers, I noticed that they will present a challenge for many schools. The requirements clearly prevent iPads from being used on the test. IPads do not have 9.5-inch diagonal screens. Additionally, in order to meet the keyboard and pointing device requirement, these items will need to be purchased or districts will need to purchase and share Chromebooks, laptops or desktops. However, this still will not suffice because students who have been issued one-to-one touchscreen iPads are not will most likely not be familiar with a pointing device. Also, headphones will also need to be purchased and distributed, which creates another expense. Examining the SBAC Technology Requirements, helps me to understand the importance of including a needs-analysis and future-planning before making device purchases.
My district recently purchased licenses for Illuminate Education, which is an assessment application. District leadership hopes that Illuminate will become a district-wide gradebook as we transition to standards-based grading. This will eventually replace the use of our SIS, PROMIS, as our report card tool. However, teachers currently use Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and Haiku Learning as our learning management system. With these two tools, teachers are able to create assignments in Haiku that are directly tied to a standards-based gradebook and students are able to assignments work by attaching documents from Google Drive. If the district adopts Illuminate as a district-wide gradebook, this feature will be lost because Illuminate is not GAFE compatible. As a result, students will need to download and upload documents to submit assessments and/or learning will become less transparent to guardians/partner agencies. In order to see challenges such as this district leaders need to step back and examine all major applications in order to better understand how they work--or do not--work together. This approach allows leaders to take a preventative and proactive approach before the licenses are purchased and time has to be spent reacting to unforeseen challenges.
In order to support the students they serve, school districts are responsible for supporting students, teachers, and the entire organization. To efficiently meet these needs, districts divide labor among departments and employee responsibilities. Within the past few decades, technology has led the creation of applications to support these departments. However, some of these applications remain departmentalized, even though current technology--such as single sign-on authentication--has the ability to help transfer information between these systems in a way that can significantly enhance teaching and learning. By evaluating, selecting, and encouraging the development of these types interoperable and common use applications districts harness application architecture to positively disrupt more than just our classrooms.
Arizona Education Learning and Accountability System (AELAS) Business Case