Update 3.29.2013

Over the past several weeks we have been busily working on preparations for the District’s transformational technology initiative. Our current work has included:

Finalizing the lease: We were able to finalize the lease to allow us to receive the devices this Spring with the payment beginning in July. This will allow the District to have some additional time to prepare the iPads for students. The lease will still expire at the end of June in 2016.

Selecting a case: The District has zeroed in on the Griffin Survivor as the case for both the iPad 2 and iPad Mini devices. We have several vendors providing quotations and are confident, due to the volume we are purchasing, will get an excellent price.

Professional Development: We have set our Spring/Summer Professional Development schedule for our teaching staff. You can view our draft schedule by clicking here. These options accompany the regular sessions that have been offered at our buildings throughout the year.

In addition to our local professional development offerings, our teachers have access to workshops at TIES,  an educational technology consortium in St. Paul. As members of the consortium, our teachers can attend these sessions at no additional charge.

Our staff also has access to training through Atomic Learning, an online video professional development resource. This service provides hundreds of short online videos about dozens of software tools, including iPad use.  Our goal has always been and will continue to be to provide professional development in multiple venues en masse in an effort to support our staff. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll be working to prepare our process for entering the devices into our inventory. We will be discussing the first courses that are interested in transitioning to digital textbooks. 

As we move through the initial stages of implementation, I am reminded of a comment made by an elementary school child when I worked as a teacher and Director of Technology in Madelia, Minnesota. Our community had approved a bond issue to replace an early 1900s elementary school with a new and renovated facility. The morning after the vote, the child expressed disappointment to his mother as she was dropping him off at school: “I thought you said they voted to give us a new school. We still have the old one!” The young man obviously thought that schools were built overnight…the same can be said for how some view transforming education through the use of mobile technology. This ‘digital conversion’ will take some time and won’t happen “overnight.”  Our project is on track and we are excited about the path we are embarking upon. We will continue to move at a rate that supports our students, their teachers, and our futures.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact me by email at matt.hillmann@northfieldschools.org or by phone at (507) 645-3458 if you have questions, comments, or concerns about the transition.