The first step in creating a District-wide Strategic Technology Plan for Garnet Valley was admitting that while technology was prevalent in some classrooms, it was inconsistently distributed at best, and at worst it was not supported with the proper level of professional development to ensure success. Having inconsistent access to technology, for both teachers and students, impacts not only the quality of education but according to the US Department of Education, impacts our students’ ability to engage in digital resources outside the classroom.
Our Strategic Technology Planning Committee knew that in order to achieve our long term goals of preparing our students for a future yet to be written, we first needed to bring our staff into the modern era in terms of their access to technology. Garnet Valley has a great faculty and many innovative and progressive classroom teachers, yet we were the only district in the area that did not provide a laptop to every teacher on their first day of work.
Getting to 1:1 for all faculty and staff was an essential component of our technology plan but proved more difficult than initially thought. Providing a laptop to every faculty and staff member was mission critical but the cost, not just in terms of the financial commitment to the district, but also in terms of change management and training, proved to be a massive undertaking.
The hard work and dedication of our entire Technology Department [especially our Tech Support and Tech Specialists] tirelessly worked to meet every teacher’s unique needs. We spent a year providing differentiated professional development on many topics but always kept an eye on teachers who were not as comfortable using a new device. A year and a half later, we are already starting to plan for the next generation of faculty devices. What are the results of every teacher having access to technology?
- Teachers are delivering their instruction in new and exciting ways
- Teachers are not tied to the front of their classroom using a SMARTBoard to just advance PPT slides
- Teachers are more easily differentiating their lessons and activities and allowing technology to work for them, not against them
- Teachers are bringing in outside resources and experts into the classroom via web conferences
- Teachers are better meeting the needs of every student no matter the learning style or ability level of the student
- Teachers have become models of digital age learning for their students