From the OTAC (Omnibus Technology Advisory Committee) 2014-2015 Annual Report:
Over the course of 2014, OTAC has been able to guide the creation of a detailed inventory of the school district’s digital devices, along with a system for managing them. As a result, the School Administration and School Committee have been able to begin enacting an initial long term technology strategy for the replacement and repair of obsolete and damaged hardware, and for the systematic update and deployment of system software and apps. Achieving these developments have been critical in enabling our teachers to incorporate technology into their lesson plans as an integrated aspect of teaching and student learning – something that has not been possible until now, because neither the devices, infrastructure, nor software support had been sufficiently reliable or numerous enough to meet the teacher and student needs. While we still have a significant demand for the purchase new digital devices, we have made significant progress in replacing outmoded devices and are working toward a regular, predictable replacement cycle for each category of technology device in our fleet.
The next step that OTAC has identified and guided has been the need for a Tri-Town Director of Instructional Technology – a person who can help integrate technology into the teaching and learning experience at every grade level, including Special Education and the special subjects. Moreover, this person will help us make the best use of the varied technology that are already in service in each town, and help guide the future direction of technology efforts across the tri-town schools. Finally, this person will help ensure that every student has a common baseline technological skill set that will be useful as the students transition to Masconomet and their lives beyond school.
Spofford Pond School
At Spofford Pond School, we have one laptop cart for each grade, 3-6, with a second cart in grade 6, and 2 iPad carts in grades 3-6. Each cart serves one classroom at a time, and each grade consists of 5-6 classrooms. This year, we are requesting 25 laptops to replace outmoded teacher laptops. The new laptops will, among many other things, allow teachers to easily project their computer screens onto the SMARTBoard monitors in classrooms. We have successfully upgraded our Internet connection to 100mbps full duplex, which has resulted in marked improvements in technology utilization across all grades and classrooms.
To date, the third grade has been working with online programs such as IXL Math and A-Z reading, RAZ-Kids, and various other websites to help students practice concepts in school and at home. We have also used the laptops for writing with Pages. We have also worked with students to ensure they have sufficient technology literacy for taking tests online.
This year, fourth graders have enjoyed using technology to enhance their learning. Students have been publishing their writing pieces using Pages and other applications on the iPads. Students have been conducting ongoing research utilizing both laptops and iPads. We have also used the laptops to familiarize students with the PARCC assessment. With the new Massachusetts educational standards, it is important that we engage students using digital learning methods. We are using Scholastic News online to read and watch topic related videos. We have used applications on the iPads to connect to Apple TV for engaging instructional activities. Fourth grade classes also participated in the Hour of Code.
In the coming year, fourth grade teachers would like to continue to effectively utilize technology to support student learning across the curriculum. The Fourth Grade Team would like to expand the use of digital learning resources inside and outside of the classroom.
This year, fifth graders in our classes have been using laptops in all subject areas, whether to research topics, write essays, PARCC/IXL practice, or math centers. They have also been researching European Explorers and planets in Social Studies and Science, taking part in a monthly blog relating to Language Arts Common Core Standards, using clips to support nonfiction reading passages, practicing math skills and standards on various websites, and using laptops to publish work as the final step in the writing process. See some of our class blogs at: http://kidblog.org/MrsMedugnosELAClass-1/ (Mrs. Medugno) and http://kidblog.org/MrsMedugnosELAClass-2/ (Mrs. Bouffard).
In the coming year, the fifth grade teachers would like to continue to utilize technology to support all areas of the curriculum. We would also like to use Google Docs!
This year, sixth graders have been using the following in their classrooms:
In the coming year, the sixth grade teachers would like to continue familiarizing ourselves and our students with Google Docs and all of its features.
Disclaimer: The apps cited throughout this report are being used on a pilot basis while their suitability is being evaluated – not all students in each grade are using all of the apps and technologies listed here.