Digital Privacy, Safety & Security Module Named Winner in EdTech Digest’s 2017 Cool Tool Awards

Original post from EdTech Digest

EdTech Digest Awards Program 2017: Shaping Our Future
Any education company is, by the era in which we now live, an edtech company. And today, any educator, learner, or leader is at least a nascent technologist. Billions of dollars have been invested in this future, and we will no doubt invest billions more. Whatever the immediate figures, because of the integral nature of education to humanity’s ultimate survival, the long-term trend will only be up. In honoring cool tools, inspiring leaders, and innovative trendsetters in education, we do so with a sense of excitement, but also a sense of responsibility. Dream-to-reality makers are awesome to behold. But the stakes are high because these honorees are shaping our future. Perhaps more so than in any other sector, in education there are mission-driven companies and there are purpose-driven people. For what mission, and for what purposes committed individuals or dedicated groups of people help advance the rest of us, is what we honor and celebrate here. And with that, here’s to the innovators, leaders, and trendsetters shining bright in one of the greatest fields of human endeavor.

BrightBytes is thrilled to be a Cool Tool Award Winner in the Security/Privacy category for the Digital Privacy, Safety & Security module!
 

Rob Mancabelli Return on Learning: Invest in Learning Outcomes with Quantifiable Information
DALI Presentation Tampa, FL

Presentation during February 2017 DALI Session

Rob Mancabelli starts with a bold statement, that "21st Century Learning" is the most used phrase in education today. Educators debate the concept at length, but the steps towards creating a "21st Century Classroom" are far less discussed. Many districts are stuck somewhere on this journey, they have provided their schools with the equipment, but are missing the pieces that support seamless technology integration - including professional development, network accessibility and classroom structure. Using BrightBytes, educational leaders can determine where to direct their focus and use their resources wisely to make the biggest impact.

Rob Mancabelli on Using Data to Make Better Decisions
Education Week

By: Tom Vander Ark
Original post from Education Week

Hashim Anwar asked his business school friend Rob Mancabelli for advice on his children’s education. As a former teacher and school administrator, Rob knew how hard it was to find good data to guide education decisions.

The two had attended MIT’s Sloan Business School to prepare to work on global innovation, but their conversation led to a big idea—bring the big data tools common in industry to education to help educators make better informed decisions.

The business school friendship of an educator and data scientist led to the formation of BrightBytes, and in this podcast, Rob shares more about how they work to help educators find and use the right data to improve student achievement.

Podcast Highlights

Five years ago there were people thinking about education data but none connecting it to research. Rob observed, “It takes three things to make a good decision: to know the research, to collect and use the right data, and to identify the right next steps based on what similar schools have done."

Leaders from almost 2,500 school districts representing about one in five U.S. students are informed by BrightBytes. The Clarity platform combines research and analysis to improve decision making by turning complex data into actionable information.

In addition to standardized test results, BrightBytes helps administrators collect broader proxies for student success. “We work with institutions on their priorities, and help them improve their return on learning by doing more of what the research says they should be doing,” added Mancabelli.

For example, a new superintendent in a district with a high dropout rate could use the platform to compare their district data to research on 23 factors. After developing a strengths and gaps analysis of their schools, BrightBytes supports an early warning system that identifies students at-risk of dropping out.

Unlike consulting firms that inflict a van full of new MBAs on an organization for months at a time, BrightBytes extracts information from existing systems and provides analytics through a cost-effective software subscription.

Five years ago, the application of a crude checklist was the best early warning system for at-risk students, but resulted in a large number of false positives. "Machine learning allows us to predictively look at historical data and get to more granular answers," said Rob.

"Machine learning is changing so quickly, it’s an exciting area to work in. We’ve come so far since we started,” said Mancabelli.

As a former school administrator now working on bleeding edge decision support systems, Mancabelli advises Ed Leaders to focus on their own learning. “We often don’t know what we don’t know,” said Rob. He urged leaders to make time every week for learning,

On building an impact organization, Rob said, “Check in with customers but build to your vision.”

He added, “Think about organization building as much as product development. Hire smart caring people and focus on culture."

K-12 Predictive Analytics: Time for a Better Dropout Diagnosis
Real Clear Education

By: Dr. Joel Boyd
Original post from Real Clear Education

Imagine going to your family doctor with a cough, fever and chills. You explain that you’ve had symptoms for a few days. Most of us already know what questions the doctor will ask, and with good reason. Doctors are trained in differential diagnosis. They don’t hear a cough and assume that you’ve come down with pneumonia. They look for the simplest, most common explanation to a problem first and utilize blood work, X-rays or MRIs to guide them in the search for rare or complicated explanations.

Unfortunately, school districts generally have far fewer tools to identify students at risk of dropping out. Unlike blood work or X-rays, K-12 early warning systems typically rely on as few as four lagging indicators  —considered in isolation— to diagnose problems. The risk piles up before teachers and administrators are called to action. Sadly, most states and districts use this very same approach to allocate and target precious resources.

Pioneered in the late nineties, so-called “threshold” or “static” early warning systems, which identify correlations in nationally aggregated data to identify cut points for risk indicators (using data like grades or attendance rates), are not without utility. But they tend toward over-identification of high school students because they rely on data for what brings students off track later in their academic careers. They also under-identify at-risk elementary students, causing educators to miss the opportunity to intervene early. Research suggests that static models can achieve about 50 percent accuracy in identifying students at risk before eighth grade. But a one-in-two chance of identifying the right students means that far too many students can fall through the cracks.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Real-time analysis of disparate data streams now enables the beneficial application of predictive analytics for everything from credit card fraud detection to personalized health care. And, as it turns out, the “digital symptoms” required to identify students at risk already exist in most districts. Districts can access and use that data to inform decision-making. And the advent of lower-cost technologies for data integration means that districts can apply advanced statistical methods and predictive analytics to direct resources toward students in earlier grades and bring them back on track with minimal interventions relative to the extensive efforts required to assist students in middle and high school.

Predictive analytics, which are increasingly used to support college retention, are fundamentally different from static early warning systems in that they move beyond national-level correlations, and use a district’s historical data, along with complex algorithms, machine learning techniques and current student indicators to forecast the likelihood that a student will go off track at some point in their academic careers. Unlike static models, predictive models “learn” over time and can identify risk indicators for sub-populations of students by grade level. The approach not only provides regular and on-going data to school staff to identify at-risk students early but also helps pinpoint the reasons students might be off track.

The deeper data is essential to making smart decisions about how to allocate limited resources. If educators notice a child is struggling with reading comprehension, for example, they can intervene with targeted supports early in a school year rather than relying on intensive remediation of a student who has been off track for a year or more. With more accurate identification, school and district leaders can make better decisions about how to direct resources that are likely to help more students do better.

A predictive analytics model may be able to identify with much more accuracy —about 94 percent in some cases—the students who are truly at risk. As school districts better diagnose challenges, more students have an equitable shot at building the skills they need to succeed in school and beyond. Our old approach to early warning served its purpose, but newer models can get us where we need to go more efficiently. It’s time to retire threshold approaches and open the door to predictive analytics. Our children deserve it.

BrightBytes Presentation at Litchfield School Board Meeting
Litchfield Independent Review

By: Leah Byron
Original post from "Litchfield School Board Makes Decision on Re-Roofing Project" Litchfield Independent Review

This summer, the Litchfield School District plans to replace sections of the high school and middle school roofs, as well as the entire roof over Lake Ripley Elementary, per a 10-year maintenance plan approved by the Litchfield School Board Monday.

Re-roofing is just one component of the district’s maintenance plan, outlining a schedule for facility improvements through 2027. The plan, approved annually by the School Board, also calls for re-paving the Wagner Education Building parking lot this year.

While the board has spending concerns, Jesse Johnson noted that designating funds to complete the replacement of a quality roof would cost less overall.

Andrea Uhl, a financial specialist from Ehlers and Associates, the district’s financial advisor, presented the board the information about general obligation bonds in order to finance the project.

The project is estimated to require a $2.5 million bond issue, which the board unanimously approved obtaining, along with a pre-sale report and notice of intent.

Enrollment Declines Steadily
Because Minnesota public schools are funded on a per-pupil basis, Superintendent Daniel Frazier expressed concern over the district’s declining enrollment. Currently, the total number of students enrolled in district is at 1,549. But Frazier predicts that this number will drop in the next five years to 1,328, a loss of 221 potential students.

Declining enrollment may be attributed to more than one factor. By 2021, Frazier projected that the kindergarten class size will be at 99 students, while the senior class size could be at 104 students. Compared to the 150 students that were enrolled for the year 2015, that is a significant decrease, he noted.

The number of births in Meeker County has dropped as well. Five years ago, in 2011, there were 136 births. In 2015, the birth rate was 123. It was noted that lowest number of births was in 2014, at only 100.

The board concluded that members need to keep watching enrollment numbers. The board needs to find a way to mitigate declining enrollment, Frazier explained.

Director Discusses Technology Implementation
Since the board’s first focus is on technology, members were eager to learn how technology is being used by the student body and faculty, according to chairman Marlin Schutte. Jennifer Ridgeway, technology director, gave a presentation on BrightBytes, a learning data and technology assessment tool.

BrightBytes assesses technology-based learning data nationwide and for individual districts based on a framework known as Classroom-Access-Skills-Environment, or CASE. In its assessment, Ridgeway reported that Litchfield Schools are above average for the state and the nation in terms of proficiency in technology. Overall, the district scored exemplary, with a higher score than both the state and nation.

Ridgeway explained that the students are using Apple computers and tablets as a tool to learn and study better in and outside of school. The fact that students will have to update their computer systems in a couple of years was a primary discussion point between Ridgeway and the board. Ridgeway agreed to talk to her administrative team to get a better sense of how to best keep up the systems.

Almost every job now has at least some usage of the computer and using it in schools helps teach problem-solving, Schutte said.

“We are committed to helping our students prepare for life, citizenship and work in an ever-changing business and technology world,” Ridgeway said.

In Other Action
The board hired Ann Selix as a special education paraprofessional at Lake Ripley Elementary working for 5.75 hours per day at a starting wage of $12.64 per hour.
The board accepted the following staff resignations: paraprofessionals Jan Johnson and Shannon Bode, physical education and health teacher Jo Carlson and physical education teacher John Carlson. The Carlsons are retiring at the end of the school year.
The board approved two overnight trip requests: one for the girls golf team to attend a tournament in Brainerd in May and another for the robotics club to attend a competition in Duluth in March.

The board approved the district’s 2017-18 school calendar.

The next School Board meeting is Feb. 27 in the Wagner Education Building.

How Schools Improve
Getting Smart

By: Tom Vander Ark

Original post from Getting Smart

Frustrated by the lack of widely used improvement frameworks in schools, a colleague emailed some questions. Following is a quick attempt to outline approaches to improvement and innovation.

I see teachers sitting around the table with reports and then deciding to do a program or do more PD. How can we develop a more formal improvement framework that would drive effectiveness and efficiency?

There are five important steps to developing or adapting an improvement framework.

1. Prioritize outcomes. Hold community conversations about what graduates should know and be able to do–like those in El Paso, Houston, and Marion, Ohio. An updated graduate profile can help create role and goal clarity by identifying priority student learning outcomes and ways of measuring (or estimating) those outcomes.

2. Do the research. Create a shared vision of what good practice looks. Unless you’re inventing a new set of practices, that picture should be research-based. BrightBytes is a decision support tool used by almost 1500 districts that allows teams to compare their outcomes with research recommendations.

3. Build a learning model. A common approach to supporting powerful learner experiences may include shared

  • Content, tasks and assessments (i.e., curriculum);
  • Teacher practices (e.g., Teach Like a Champ);
  • Values and behavioral norms;
  • Guidance and youth and family support services; and
  • Structures, schedules and staffing strategies that support learning.

Voluntary and managed school networks (and districts that act like networks) are disciplined about defining and supporting a learning model including some or all of these factors.

Some districts and networks go a step further and identify core processes and support systems for each (listen to an interview with Colorado’s District 51).

4. Identify metrics and source the data. In the 90s, best practice was a war room of handwritten data that allowed teachers and leaders to visually spot problems. By 2000, Excel spreadsheets were common. Data shops like Schoolzilla, spun out from Aspire Public Schools in 2013, help organize district data. Unfortunately, it’s still challenging to combine all the data schools are receiving.

5. Adopt a shared improvement framework. “School leaders need to focus their attention on creating the conditions where teachers have the resources, courage and support to experiment with improving their practice, and then the space to share what they are learning with other educators,” said Justin Reich, executive director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab.

An improvement framework identifies core processes (e.g., reading instruction), shared practices (e.g., guided reading), quality metrics (e.g., observations, running record), improvement tools, and review cycles.

The improvement framework for the New Tech Network (below) incorporates shared values, process tools and common structures.

Who is doing this well?

Total quality management (TQM) tools and strategies have been used by some schools for 30 years. Church, Alaska, was an early adopter and first to win Baldrige Award. Former superintendent Rich DeLorenzo describes the journey and toolset in Delivering on the Promise.

APQC has been advancing similar process tools for more than 20 years.

Process tools are important, but continuous improvement starts with what Rob Waldron, Curriculum Associates, calls a “Tell it like it is” culture—a shared commitment to honesty, transparency, and accountability.

So where does innovation fit in?

Improvement is doing things better. Innovation is doing things differently hoping for breakthrough results. School districts and networks must constantly negotiate the balance between improvement efforts and phases of innovation.

Take competency-based learning for example. It implies new learning and assessment strategies, requires new structures and supports, and it demands a new way of thinking about success—it’s a big innovation. You won’t get there with cycles of continuous improvement. It requires a design process that reconsiders every aspect of education. It may be implemented in a few phases but once the new system is in place, you can go back to continuous improvement to make it work better for teachers and students.

Improvement can be undertaken with internal faculty agreements. Results are reported to stakeholders, but you don’t need permission to do better. An innovation, like the shift to competency-based learning, requires a broader community agreement because it involves investment, risk and new desired outcomes.

What about Design Thinking?

Design Thinking starts with an investigation of customer needs and imagining possible futures. It’s more about inventing than improving. 

A growing number of schools help students and faculty use design thinking to attack problems (see posts on Olin Colleged.Tech and DSISD). It’s often used in the inquiry phase (i.e., problem finding) preceding project-based learning (a sprint to a defined deliverable).

Based on the book Designing Your Life, One Stone students spent a time in January applying design thinking to their lives by imagining possible futures (i.e., what problem would I like to solve) and designing quick prototypes (e.g., a job shadow). 

Sometimes a problem spotted in a continuous improvement cycle is tough enough to warrant a quick design thinking exercise that may lead to a full process redesign (akin to business process reengineering). 

How about Lean Startup?

Coined by Eric Ries, lean startup is an approach to organizational development that (like design thinking) values hypothesis development, prototyping, and rapid iteration.

It’s usually applied at an early stage than continuous improvement—often well before shared and documented processes are adopted. The lean mindset and practices are similar to and useful in continuous improvement.

The Goal: Internet Access for all PVUSD Students
Capitola Times

Original post from The Capitola Times

By: Maria Orozco, President PVUSD Board of Trustees, and Jeff Ursino, PVUSD Trustee

On November 16 the Pajaro Valley Unified School District Board of Trustees considered several programs expanding access to Internet services for low income students across the district.

With the introduction of Chromebooks and possible rollout of digital textbooks, there is a sense of urgency at the District level to ensure that our students have access to the Internet while at home. Results from a PVUSD BrightBytes survey in October of last year showed that 3000 of our students do not have home Internet access. This puts students whose families cannot afford Internet access at a disadvantage compared to those that have access. Students without Internet connectivity at home cannot access instructional content and online learning resources, which may affect their educational performance.

As stated by Maria Orozco, Board President, “Students rely heavily on internet access for online learning, homework projects, research and communication with teachers. Internet access is an integral part of 21st century learning and no student should be left behind.”

Students with Internet access at home are able to gather information from a wide array of public sources almost instantly. With Internet access in their homes, students are able to peruse magazines, books, newspaper articles and Internet sites. Such connectivity readily invites students to seek a deeper understanding of the subject as well as a more complete knowledge of what is being discussed.

Another advantage is the excitement that the Internet brings to our students. A survey by the National Math and Science Initiative found that hands-on Internet activities excites students and allows them to be more fully engaged in the educational process. As many parents can tell you, our children are already very involved with the Internet through social media and video games. Giving our students home access to the Internet will help our students towards a more productive educational experience.

A final benefit that we feel is of the utmost importance, is that internet home access for our students will help to close the communication gap between parents, students and teachers. With Internet and email access, parents are able to communicate more frequently and directly with their child’s teacher thereby helping to advance the student’s education by building a more effective and meaningful parent/teacher partnership. Also, students are able to email their homework and class assignments to their teachers thus allowing a faster response from them and an end to any “the dog ate my homework” excuses.

In an effort to increase internet home connectivity and to give our students access to these benefits, the PVUSD Technology Services will present to the Board options to help provide PVUSD’s low income families and their students with free or discounted home internet service. Other options being considered include: installing Wi-Fi on District buses providing internet access to students while on the bus; “WiFi hotspots” students could check out from the school library to provide internet service at home; and Chromebook 4G LTE cards that will provide internet access for students using the Chromebook.

All of these Internet service options are to help every student in our schools to have the best educational experience possible. The 21st century workplace is often based on knowing how to use technology. By providing all our students with Internet access, we are giving them the tools to be successful, and that is a goal we all can get behind.

 

BrightBytes Named in Top 10 Fastest Growing Education Solution Provider Companies
Insights Success Magazine

Original post from Insights Success Magazine

Educational Transformation with the help of Technological Upgradation

Technology in education was a debatable topic amongst the society with everyone having their positive and negative views on whether to modernize education and make it technology aided or not. But, as technology got embraced by the educational institutes, everyone realized the significance of technology in education.

Its positives got outnumbered with the negatives and at present, education has taken a whole new meaning with technology while transforming into ever-advanced level. Education and technology are a great combination when used together with a right vision and reason.

With the right vision and reason, many education solutions providers have equipped technology into their core values and are delivering outstanding solutions and services while making education easier more than ever.

Out of them, we have shortlisted the most outstanding and exceptional solutions providers in our The 10 Fastest Growing Education Solution Provider Companies issue. These education solutions provider companies are using technology advancements at its best and are standing strong while proving their mantle.

Improving Education For A Better Tomorrow

This is the most exciting and challenging time to work in education in the past century. It’s challenging because the methods of schooling honed over the past 100 years do not provide students with the skills they need to compete in the global economy. But it’s exciting because developments in connectivity hold the promise of replacing these approaches with advances that make individualized learning truly possible for the first time in human history.

The transition between these two worlds requires talented educational leaders who can meld together visionary plans with real change management for their schools and communities. BrightBytes is a company which provides essential tools that advance the work of these educational innovators. 

BrightBytes: Improving the Way the World Learns

With a mission to improve the way the world learns through the use of data, BrightBytes gathers ideas from the best experts in the world and creates evidence-based frameworks that are combined with data from schools, providing clients the tools to understand and quickly improve student learning outcomes.

In an industry overwhelmed by DRIP syndrome (data rich, information poor), BrightBytes goes to great lengths to provide educators across school, district, and state levels, with personalized and research-driven insights, resources, and support material at each data point. Educators not only see the data in an educative and engaging format, but they also know what actions to take to address any gaps or challenges within their personalized results.

Rob Mancabelli: A Veteran Educator

Rob Mancabelli, the Brightbytes Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer, is an educator with over fifteen years of experience in schools. Rob is an internationally known speaker, writer, and consultant on educational innovation. He’s the co-author of the book Personal Learning Networks (2011), sits on the advisory board of Education Week magazine and has an MBA from MIT.

The Seven Modules

Mancabelli, a veteran educator himself, aspired to address different challenges educators face with each unique module available on the Clarity platform.

He explains, the first module, Technology & Learning measures the impact of school technology on student learning. It works to narrow the new digital divide and provide fast actionable solutions for more impactful implementation and improved fund allocation.

The Digital Privacy, Safety & Security module, created in partnership with iKeepSafe,™ gives districts the capability to strike the right balance between achieving technology goals and fulfilling privacy and security responsibilities.

The Early Warning and Intervention modules, formed through a partnership with Mazin Education,™ uses predictive analytics to identify at-risk students early based on student-and building-specific triggers. The dropout prevention system identifies students at risk of dropping out as early as first grade, with 90% accuracy. After identification, the modules help connect students with the right support systems, and monitors the success of students within those programs.

Leadership, the fifth module on the Clarity platform, was built in partnership with McREL International. This module helps district leaders understand which initiatives have the greatest impact on the learning process, and whether school leaders are adequately empowered to drive those initiatives.

The 21st Century Service Agency module informs service agencies where they stand in terms of technology readiness, and delivers personalized recommendations for improvement.

Finally, the Financial Transparency module makes it easy for the public to understand revenues and expenditures by organizing and comparing spending throughout schools across the state. Community members can use this knowledge to have informed conversations and ignite change.

Providing Research and Action Plans

Many companies offer dashboards of educational data, but those products fail to transform that information into decisions. The BrightBytes platform provides educators with research frameworks that select only the data linked to improved student outcomes. It then identifies strengths and gaps in those frameworks, and offers insights into how to improve, using specific examples from real schools. This combination of research and action plans set the platform apart from every other offering.

The complex predictive-analytics platform and its research-based content are the product of the combined efforts of the BrightBytes Labs, the research engine behind Clarity, and the BrightBytes team. Together, mission-driven school practitioners, designers, engineers, and visualization experts join forces with statisticians, analysts, researchers, and thought leaders from top institutes to power and inform the seven modules of Clarity.

BrightBytes plans to continue their process of creating products that address issues that arise in the K-12 educational sector. The organization is set to expand their product lines and sales teams, across the US and internationally.

Innovation from Within: How Savvy Districts Are Making Data Privacy Work
The Huffington Post

Original post from The Huffington Post

By: Joel D. Boyd

Over the last three years, hundreds of bills designed to protect the privacy and security of student data have been introduced across state legislatures. At least 60 have become law. State legislation aims – in part – to clarify federal laws drafted at a time when the latest technology included a DOS-run version of The Oregon Trail. But in the decades since, high-speed internet has accelerated access to content for teachers and students. Mobile computing has enabled an explosion of teacher-focused apps and tools and, in some cases, begun to disintermediate district-level decision-making. Educators now collaborate beyond their school or district via social media and share teacher-generated content with thousands of peers at the click of a button. Legislative shifts reflect the best efforts of policymakers to keep pace with innovation – and yet the gap between education technology policy and practice grows.

As new laws trigger state and district policies to be drafted almost more quickly than they can be read, the potential for misunderstanding and misinterpretation abounds. There is risk that the shifting sands of compliance could stymie beneficial uses of innovative tools at a time when our most vulnerable students deserve the best modern technology has to offer. District and school leaders, stuck in the middle, have to balance compliance concerns with leveraging technology to address their most vexing challenges. A handful of districts are getting it right. Some were focused on data privacy before data privacy was cool. The following three tips represent perspectives from peers in district leadership, including Ventura County, one of the most thoughtful districts in the field.

Build a shared understanding of safety.

Begin with a vision of a world in which students have access to a wealth of knowledge and ideas, to diverse and stimulating learning environments, and to personalized learning playlists that capture their imaginations and take them places that were barely conceivable without today’s technologies. Then raise the challenge of making these experiences possible while also protecting students from accidental disclosure, inappropriate content, or bad actors. Work collaboratively with everyone influenced by new policies to understand what may or may not work in implementation. Finally, work together to articulate a plan that maximizes the likelihood of success and mitigates the risks of failure.

Ventura County, for example, built relationships, trust, and credibility with their stakeholders, including staff, students, and community members, which was critical in helping achieve the vision of creating a healthy digital environment for students and staff. These were essential ingredients to a sustainable coalition that could develop long-term solutions.

Tap into technology to accomplish the most challenging parts of the work.

The more information available from students and families, teachers and leaders, and community stakeholders, the more and better they can be supported. Technology tools can be used to facilitate the work of building that shared understanding of safety described above. They can also be used to capture concerns and disseminate information about planned implementation activities.

Ventura worked with its partners to deploy a module to help schools, the district, and service agencies quickly analyze their current digital safety efforts, processes, and procedures, and create actionable plans for improvement. The tool takes stakeholders through a survey that helps them reflect on and assess current efforts, identify strengths and weaknesses, and determine areas in need of support. It also helps promote an iterative process for schools, districts, and service agencies to track their progress and identify where they’re excelling and where they need to make improvements in implementing the data privacy policy.

Anticipate evolving technologies and student needs.

Continuous innovation is one of the most exciting aspects of our digital economy. It is also one of the most challenging to manage for school districts. A torrent of new technologies means that policies and protocols designed to protect safety and privacy must mirror the innovation cycle. Community leaders, district personnel, teachers, families, and students change over time. Their needs evolve. Their goals shift. Simply engaging stakeholders once is insufficient. Regular, explicit attention to the opportunities and challenges of new technologies is required to maintain an ideal relationship between safety and privacy and student learning. Savvy districts are designing systems and workflows in order to engage stakeholders on an ongoing basis, gather insights and opinions, and educate key constituencies about the incredible new opportunities available for learning—and for protecting themselves.

Information about students and the ways they learn best is deeply personal. Yet the opportunities to harness that information to transform their learning environments into engaging, exciting places are boundless. With thoughtful processes in place to translate data into learning outcomes and mitigate the associated risks, schools and families can realize a future unbounded by today’s limitations. Technology need not be a danger. Instead, it can serve as a bridge between protecting students’ privacy and safety and expanding their opportunity.

 

District Success: Increasing Effective Leadership with Insight to Staff perceptions

The administration at Beaver Creek School District have invested extensively into building an effective leadership team. The district’s superintendent, Karin Ward, is a McREL trainer, and the dean of students, Tammy Naef, has taken eight McREL sessions. Together, they have been very
mindful to connect leadership visions with actions for all stakeholders across the district.

Technology & Learning Module Successes in Arlington, Texas

Arlington ISD is a large district in Texas with 75 schools and just over 60,000 students. The technology department is responsible for all planning, implementation support, and training efforts related to technology throughout the school district. With the guidance of Barry Fox,
the Director of Personalized Learning, and Marcus Miller, the Coordinator of Instructional Technology, the district used the BrightBytes Technology & Learning module to measure technology usage in classrooms at every campus and inform strategic decisions around technology resources and implementation.

Great Prairie Area Education Agency: Room 21C - The Classroom Tech Built

Great Prairie Area Education Agency, located in southeast Iowa, is one of nine Area Education Agencies. The agency provides leadership and service to over 36,000 students and 2,800 teachers and administrators across 39 school districts. GPAEA works to improve teaching and learning by developing leaders, discovering solutions, and delivering service through collaboration with students, families, schools, and communities.

Technology & Learning Module Informs District LCAP & Provides Insight to Next Steps

Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District is a large district in Solano County in Northern California. The district has 30 schools with over 20,000 students. In September 2012, Director of Technology Support Services, Tim Goree was in search of a tool that could inform district leaders about technology needs as they worked toward a hybrid version of 1:1 device implementation and other technology planning. He purchased the BrightBytes Technology & Learning module to gain insight into the district’s current staff and student access, implementation, and perceptions.

Technology & Learning Module Helps Onslow County Schools Drive Student Learning Outcomes

Onslow County Schools is a growing district in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The district has 37 educational facilities with over 25,000 students. As a member of the League of Innovative
Schools, an organization that works to connect and support the most progressive education leaders in the nation, Onslow understands the powerful potential of technology for meaningful learning experiences. The district continually works to enhance technology education to
better drive student outcomes.

Jessamine County Schools Use Data to Increase District-Wide Readiness in New Technology Initiatives

Jessamine County Schools, in central Kentucky, is one of the fastest growing districts in the state. The district works to motivate and challenge every child to be a caring, responsible citizen, and a
high-level thinker, performer, communicator, and learner for life. Recently, Kentucky’s statewide education investments and funding provided Jessamine County Schools with improved technology infrastructure and increased access to create 21st century classrooms for students across the state. Jessamine’s Director of Technology, Erin Waggoner, knew that in order to use these new tools to provide meaningful learning experiences, the district would need to be extremely strategic with technology allocations. In Fall 2013, Jessamine County Schools adopted the BrightBytes Technology & Learning module to measure technology usage and access across the district and connect that data to the factors that drive learning outcomes.

Technology & Learning Module Impacts Technology Initiatives with Targeted Professional Development

Ft. Worth Independent School District is a large urban school district in Fort Worth Texas. The district has more than 86,000 students across 146 schools. Over 75% of the district’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and 25% of students are English Language Learners. In 2013, Ft. Worth ISD received a bond to support their goals to transform teaching and learning through technology.

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools Uses Technology & Learning Module to Inform Technology Plan Goals

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools is a large urban district with 88,000 students across more than 160 schools. The district strives to provide a high quality education to every student so they can excel in higher education, work, and life. The district’s commitment to social and emotional learning and raising academic achievement has earned them a national reputation for urban school reform.

Oakland Unified School District Empowers School-Level Decision Makers to Ensure Equity to 21st Century Classrooms

0akland Unified School District serves a diverse population of over 50,000 students across 123 schools. The district works to ensure that all students find joy in their academic experience and graduate with the skills necessary to ensure success. OUSD defines equality as recognizing that some schools need more support than other schools, and, whether it be infrastructure or human services, providing that extra support where it is needed most. Oakland’s dedication to ensure equitable access to 21st century teaching and learning has made it absolutely necessary that
resource allocation for digital learning opportunities is strategic. The district’s unique technology integration approach targets technology investments to areas of greatest need and differentiates programs to serve each diverse school population.