Letter from the
Chief Information Officer
Roger J. Brunelle
Welcome and thank you for visiting our website! I am excited to provide you with an update on some of our key technology initiatives and activities across the District.
“Bring your own device” Pilot nears completion
This past fall, District 203 began a pilot program to assess the benefits and implications of having students bring their own devices to school for use in the classroom. The intent of “Bring your own device” is to allow students to engage in learning using these devices and to safely access District solutions and resources such as our Learning Management System, Student Information System, Naviance, email, calendaring, SharePoint, library systems, common productivity applications and many other web-based resources including internet access to enhance and, at times, transform their learning experience.
Specifically, 30 teachers across grades 3-12 have been participating in the pilot since late August, as well as nearly 500 of their students. These teachers have had opportunities to collaborate, share, and learn from each other as well as with teachers from our neighboring District 204, which is also conducting a similar pilot program. Each month during the pilot the teachers gathered to share experiences and collaborate by grade levels on resources, tools, and applications for their students to utilize with personal devices.
This pilot will officially conclude in late December, after which data and feedback will be collected from parents, students, teachers, and administrators who have participated. The findings and information will be very valuable in assisting the District in making informed decisions regarding next steps, the potential for “Bring your own device” and our overall device strategy going forward.
I can share with you some early feedback in that the District is seeing a good deal of smartphones, tablet and laptop devices being brought to school by students who are engaging in this pilot. Early feedback has been quite positive as well as insightful regarding the challenges and opportunities that are created when students bring their own devices into the classroom. We look forward to sharing much more with you on this topic as the pilot concludes and we formally evaluate the findings.
District Technology Leadership visits all
Home & School organizations
One of the most rewarding aspects of working in the District Information Technology department is the ability to visit our schools and their parent and community organizations. Every year the IT team conducts several key programs aimed at gaining better insight into our teachers' and students' needs, learning how we can better serve building leadership and communicate with our parent community. During each school year, every member of the IT organization visits elementary, junior high and high school classrooms to attend what we call a“day in the life” of teachers and students. This is aimed at gaining appreciation of how the technology and services we provide are being used across the District. We also conduct “Voice of the Customer”meetings with all school building leadership each summer to gain feedback on our services and discuss key projects.
Since last spring, we have also visited each school in the District to meet with Home & School members to present technology strategy, outlook and gain feedback from District parents. Looking back on these meetings, I would like send out a big “Thank You” to everyone who participated and shared their thoughts with my team. The level of parent engagement, interest and feedback is tremendously valuable to us as we continue to build our partnership with District parents going forward.
Canvas Learning Management System continues
its rapid growth
In my last letter to you I highlighted how our new learning management system (Canvas) improves the student’s learning experience in ways that were not previously possible. This web-based system enables teachers to use media-rich lessons with video and voice recordings, to post files and provide links to relevant websites. Students can post questions in real time and check their understanding by testing themselves with online quizzes. Specific tools support collaboration on team projects as well as let students track assignments via online calendars.
The growth in the use of this new system in our District has been amazing. We started with a group of approximately 200 teachers using the system and I can report that at the time of writing this letter we have over 730 teachers and 13,800 students using this system. Some additional interesting metrics you may find interesting:
There have been more than 4,000 assignments posted in the system, approximately 5,300 discussion topics and over 24,000 files uploaded, including 2,000 media recordings for educational use.
Feedback from teachers and students across all levels has been very positive as we continue to expand the use and reap benefits from this new system. Parents can gain “view” access to their students Canvas accounts by contacting their teachers directly.
I want to thank you for your engagement and support for our organization. We are fortunate to have such talented staff and a supportive community as we continue to pursue our Information Technology Mission which is:
To Enable the NCUSD 203 Mission by providing:
“World Class Innovative Technologies and Stellar Service
in an Effective and Efficient Manner”