New Technology, New Opportunities

As we looking towards next week with school starting (I can’t believe school starts next week) one of the biggest questions I get is what is the new technology that will be available in our schools.  The place I want to start is the definition of technology.  Most people will go directly to a device, a laptop or iPad, but we need to think broader then that.  We need to think of accessories, software and other tools when discussing technology.  So with that in mind the new technology we are launching this year are two major pieces of software and two accessories for our devices.

1. Gale Virtual Library – We are beginning the process of taking our books and resources into the digital world.  We have created a partnership with Cengage and Gale Virtual Research Library.  This partnership will allow our students to have access to over 800 eBooks and five major digital content components.  At our elementary and middle school (K-6) levels students will have access to Kids Infobits and National Geographic Kids as well as over 100 eBooks that are aligned to the curriculum.  At the secondary level students will have access to over 500 eBooks, and Science, US History and World History content.  These digital tools are usable on any device and open to students 24/7.  This allows our students to continue the learning process outside of school.

Pickerington School’s Gale Digital Library

2. Illuminate – As building leaders are asking teachers to become more and more proficient with data we need to supply them with the tools to be collect, analyze, store and remediate.  Currently teachers are spending valuable time creating Excel spreadsheets to analyze the data.  This honestly is a waste of their valuable time.  There needs to be a better way.  We found Illuminate.  Illuminate is an Instructional Improvement System, gradebook, remediation tool, data warehouse and assessment tool all roll up into one.  So with Illuminate we will be able to pull up one student and see all of their assessment data all the way back to kindergarten.  Also this tool can give 21st Century assessments with drag and drop, and fully manipulative assessment questions.  Coming to Pickerington Schools in late September.

3. Finishing the last six building with mounted projectors and Front Row Juno Sound Systems – With more and more use of digital tools the need to project student work or teacher information is needed.  So this summer we are finishing up the installation of 268 rooms with projectors and speaker systems.  With the projector and the use of the AirServer app, now teachers can bring students more into the discussion by displaying their work and the work of their peers.  The projectors are pretty much standard pieces of technology in the classroom, but the speaker systems we purchased I am very excited about.  The FrontRow Juno Speaker System is connected to the computer, DVD player, teacher microphone, student microphone and additional iPad/iPhone jack.  But the unique piece is the system allows for audio recording and screen/audio recording.  So those teachers flipping their classroom or those teachers that want to make lessons available so students can watch them numerous times or even a way to involve parents in classroom.

So with these new tools and all of the devices we currently have, I am excited to to see what our teachers can do with the technology and their students!

Go forth and be innovative!

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