The 21 st Century Classroom initiative which C6 funded in large part provided teachers with a laptop, an interactive whiteboard, document camera, and student responders, along with a first generation network infrastructure that allowed the district’s computers to be networked and files to be stored and backed up on file servers. Computer labs were built at each school and mobile carts of laptops (Computers On Wheels – COWs) were also provisioned through C6. This allowed the district to progress through Phase 1 and Phase 2 transformations of teaching and learning.
The popularization of the smartphone and the invention of the first commercially successful tablet computer in 2010 (the iPad) signaled a major shift in how society interacted with computing technology. For the first time, mobile devices made computing truly personal, and ubiquitous access to the Internet started to dramatically shift the landscape of business and culture. By 2013, technologists proclaimed that society had entered a postPC world. The mobile computing revolution has changed the balance of power and altered the calculus of what it takes to become successful in a collaboration stoked economy.
Beginning in 2013, the district began a pivot to address this reality and embarked on a multi year plan to rebuild its network and infrastructure to support a learning environment built upon the platform of mobile computing with the goal of shifting more of the locus of control and experience of technology beyond the teacher as instructor and into the hands of students. This would allow the district to advance into Phase 3 where computing technology becomes so ingrained into the fabric of learning that it fades into the background as a tool no more special than a pencil, binder, or textbook. The ultimate goal is to build toward a 1to1 computer to student learning environment where every student has access to their own computing device every day and it becomes the conduit toward differentiation, engagement and collaboration.
The Network Infrastructure funded by Measure C6 has a finite life expectancy after which the equipment needs to be refreshed due to obsolescence and the end of support by the vendor.
Because of this, the district has planned for a recurring refresh cycle for each type of network infrastructure equipment after the initial units were purchased beginning in 2007.
The district recognizes that bond funds will not be able to sustain an ongoing 1to1 mobile computing initiative for students, but the bonds have been able to provide the seed units upon which the district can move closer toward a 1to1 initiative. The computers and mobile devices that have been purchased through bond funds have helped to train both teachers and students on how to use the technology tools effectively to enhance teaching and learning, allowing the district to develop the best practices that would be critical to ensuring a successful 1to1 mobile device deployment. It is the district’s intention to build upon this knowledge base and to investigate other more sustainable means to funding a full 1to1 computing initiative including Bring Your Own Device programs, parent Lease To Own programs, restructuring of the district general fund, or a combination of all of those options.
Classroom technology by itself has never been the ultimate goal nor destination for the district. Rather, classroom technology is viewed as an effective platform upon which instruction and learning can be differentiated (each student receiving what they need to master the curriculum unique to their own learning styles and modalities), engaging (software that is well designed and draws each student into an interactive, adaptive learning situation with the chance for individualized remediation), and collaborative (multiple students working together to accomplish a learning goal or to produce a group product), and is able to draw the student into an active role in their daily experience. Such a learning platform can only be stable and sustainable if it is built upon a solid foundation of three pillars :
1) A robust network infrastructure
2) Sufficient personnel resources devoted to staff training on effective use of the technology tools
3) The proper level of resources applied to system maintenance and support.
Measure R has added to some of the infrastructure funded by C6 to enable the district to deploy upgraded security and communication assets that have improved school safety. Most important among these tools include a district wide surveillance camera system and a new district wide classroom telephone system.
The security camera system not only improves campus security without turning a school campus into a walled off fortress, it has been a deterrent to malicious behavior and has even been used to apprehend thieves who attempted to steal and resell district computing resources.
Together, C6 and Measure R have combined to enhance teaching and learning while also improving campus safety and communications.