Technology and Connectivity
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Technology and Connectivity
Access to and use of technology is an important part of this reentry plan. We aim to provide opportunities for our students to learn and succeed in a secure and safe student-centered environment to prepare them for success in a rapidly changing world. Technology is an important tool in meeting this goal when the technology is integrated with district-wide curriculum objectives and the New York State and Common Core Learning Standards.
The following goals will help us attain a more student-centered environment:
- Increase equity by providing a device to students to help facilitate learning
- Provide a variety of software tools and online resources that are vetted by experts and are aligned with district and state learning outcomes and standards
- Provide systematic and continuous professional development for teachers to hone technology skills
- Provide professional development and curriculum planning time for teacher to redesign and redefine lessons
- Integrate digital citizenship and digital literacy into all technology activities
Access to Technology
The Lakeland School District provides a device to every student as a resource to assist in their education. These devices may be taken home and will play a vital role no matter if the district is utilizing a hybrid instruction model or a remote model. If a student does not want to use a district device, they may opt to use a personal device. Students using personal devices can still connect to the same resources used by district devices by going to the district’s “Cloud” https://cloud.lakelandschools.org. In addition to students receiving devices, staff are also given a device.
All students in grades 3-12 already have a district device at home. They are prepared for any scenario, including if there is an executive order that does not allow the district to open in September. Currently, kindergarten, grade 1 and grade 2 do not have their device at home. The district will be distributing these devices to these students, in August before school begins. Devices distributed by the district are under warranty. This warranty will address a majority of encountered hardware issues. If there are signs of abuse, the family may be responsible for having the device repaired.
In preparation for school this fall, the district has been upgrading necessary hardware and connections so that it can increase its bandwidth to the Internet. In any reentry scenario, there is the potential for the need for additional Internet bandwidth. This work will now allow the district to adjust its Internet bandwidth as needed based on its usage. This work is scheduled to be completed between mid-August - September 1.
Home Internet Access
It is important that both students and staff have a good home Internet connection. In the district’s current plan, each of its educational models has students receiving some portion of their education from home. In the hybrid model, a student will receive their education remotely 60% of the time. If the district needs to close for whatever reason, students will then be receiving their education through the district’s remote model. In this scenario the students will receive 100% of their education remotely. A majority of students and staff have a reliable home connection, This was evident from student/teacher engagement last spring. To verify every student has a good home connection, the district will be surveying the community to ascertain those families or staff that may not have a reliable Internet connection. If necessary, the district will assist in providing an Internet connection so that no student misses out on their education.
Supported Technology Platforms
Teachers are encouraged to use a variety of resources to review and deliver new instructional material. The list below, although not exhaustive, contains district approved and commonly used technology tools.
UPK, Grade K -5
*Google Classroom is the learning management system used.
**DreamBox on computers, laptops, Chromebooks, and iPad tablets from the iPad 2 (2011)forward.
***HMH Player is only available on iPads. PMTs can also be completed through Think Central
The safety, security and privacy of our students and their data is a top priority. Many web-based platforms are not compliant with educational privacy requirements. Teachers have been reminded that any platform which collects student information must be approved by the district so we may ensure adherence to strict student data privacy requirements. Questions about privacy, data, and security should be directed to Dwayne Hoffmann, Director of Information Technology.
Each school building is staffed with a Technology Facilitator. If a student or staff member has a technology issue, they should contact the building’s Technology Facilitator. If they are working remotely, they can enter a support ticket using the forms below. Staff will be monitoring these forms and will get back to the person in need of support between M-F, 8am- 4pm.
- If parents/students/staff have trouble connecting, logging-in or accessing a required program, please fill out this Support Form.
- “Break and fix” tech support should be reported by filling out this Hardware Form.
- A FAQ section on our website will have documents and videos that will help students and staff find solutions to common issues.
The district has slowly moved away from shared devices over the past few years. An example of a shared device would be a student desktop in a classroom that multiple students would use throughout the day. Now, students have a device assigned to them. Since each student is assigned a device, there is less chance of transmitting germs, bacteria, etc. that would be associated with a shared device. The district does have some shared devices. Any shared device will be wiped down with a bacterial wipe or spray after each use.
Teachers will be provided with opportunities for professional learning. The Instructional Technology Coach will provide regular opportunities for support. Teachers will also be provided with self guided professional learning resources from a variety of sources.
Remote Model (all remote instruction)
If at any time the district or a school needs to close, even temporarily, the district is well prepared. All students and teachers will have access to a district device that they are able to take home. Teachers are receiving professional development and creating lessons in case there are closures.
Hybrid Model (in-person and remote instruction) Classroom
Every classroom throughout the district will be reconfigured to allow teachers to facilitate synchronous or asynchronous learning. Each room will be equipped with the following:
- A dedicated device to host Google Meet sessions for synchronous learning or to potentially record lessons for asynchronous learning
- A camera will be focused on the teacher and the whiteboard/SmartBoard used by the teacher.
- A dedicated monitor or screen to show students connecting to the class remotely
- Speakers, so in-person class can hear questions and comments from remote students.
- Where possible, each dedicated device will be wired to the district’s infrastructure
Best Practices for Synchronous Meetings
While hosting a Google Meet, be guided by the following best practices recommended by International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
Before the Meeting
- Plan and communicate duration of meeting;
- Communicate learning objectives for the meeting;
- Explain protocols to students (How to ask questions, all mics muted, camera on or off,etc.);
- Open all sites, videos, or documents to be shared;
- Ensure your privacy by checking space around you for things you don’t want others to see or hear;
- Wear headphones to protect privacy of speaker if you are in the same area with others;
- Minimize unwanted noise (barking dogs, phones ringing, television, etc); and
- Log in 5-10 minutes before the scheduled time, consider using a tool such as Mentimeter as a social check in.
During the Meeting
- Allow a few minutes past the scheduled time for everyone to log on, monitor email for students having technology or log-in issues;
- Restate learning objectives and protocols, consider recording the meeting;
- Build in checkpoints for students to demonstrate what they have learned and ask questions;
- Use digital tools to engage students (Nearpod, Jamboard, etc.); and
- Address disruptions and note the time for future reference, in the event of repeated disruptions, end the meeting and notify building administration, provide documentation.
After the meeting
- Follow up with independent work aimed at learning objectives;
- Contact individual students who need clarification or support;
- Communicate disruptive behavior to parents; and
- Send communication to class debriefing the learning objectives addressed, communicating feedback from meetings (student engagement, disruptions, etc.)