Published in the July 22, 2015 edition
By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — Schools Technology Director Jeff Winer attended last week’s school board meeting and laid out for members areas of focus for the 2015-2016 academic year.
• Exploring new information system options for beginning transition in early 2016
• Consolidating the district library system to a single connected system
• Deploying Chromebooks to all grade 3 classrooms
• Developing the technology strategic plan for years 2016 through 2018
• Enhancing the technology connection (student help desk) program at the high school and middle school to make it a more cohesive program going from one grade level to another.
Member Anne Danehy asked about the schools “going paperless” and Winer said that content is being stored online but more tools are needed to move this effort forward.
According to a teacher survey taken this past school year, 46 percent of teachers are making strides toward a paperless classroom.
Winer said over the past school year, this technology survey was distributed to teachers and results were shared at the meeting.
One question concerned response time for technical support. Ninety-one percent of teachers said that response to a problem usually happens within 48 hours, while another 98 percent said that the IT Department typically helped solve problems.
In addition, survey results showed that 76.1 percent of teachers have a projector available and are able to use it to their full potential. Fifty-two percent have collaborated with another team or department member to integrate technology with existing curriculum and 69 percent have sought additional assistance from a colleague following a professional development session.
Another 61 percent agree that there is adequate support and professional development to integrate technology and 64 percent say that professional development opportunities offered have been valuable. (School board member Gregory Liakos commented that the percentage in this category should be much higher and would like more feedback from teachers on this.)
Winer said that there has been a “big jump” on getting technology into classrooms, and the survey results indicate that 93 percent of teachers have adequate access to a device, 91 percent have adequate access to the Internet but only 31 percent said they had applications to support curriculum.
Improvements to this issue are underway and will continue this coming academic year.
“We have already started the process for the 2015-2016 school year,” said Winer.
The surveys were held to determine areas of technology needs throughout the district. The first survey was done in November 2014 with 220 responses. The second was done in March 2015 at the end of PARCC testing, with fewer teachers responding (150).
Liakos suggested that students also take the survey to determine what they think is needed and Winer agreed and said he would do this.
Next steps are as follows:
• More focus will be on technology integration and less on technology support
• Increased technology professional development
• Development of framework for testing, piloting and distributing common applications to support subject-based curriculum.
Winer said that infrastructure is now strong, adequate and stable for technology integration.