The $82 million in the 2014 bond earmarked for technology encompasses many elements, but the underlying objective behind it all is to increase technology access for AISD students for the purpose of improved learning.
In pursuit of this object, the AISD technology department is developing district wide classroom standards – minimum standards that each classroom will possess – and spending much of the next two years to put them in place.
The standards call for three components in each classroom:
- Audio/Visual equipment – projector, white board, speakers in the ceiling, tablet mount
- Teacher equipment – laptop, tablet, docking station (screen, keyboard and mouse)
- Student equipment – access to a device
The need for minimum standards grew out of a disparity in technology across the district. Before 2009, AISD was behind the curve in technology. The bond that year significantly helped improve network capacity and introduced more technology into the classroom. However, each campus chose the technology it wanted, leading to the disparity across the district that exists today.
“We’ve switched from the campus level to the district level,” said Chad Branum, AISD Assistant Superintendent for Technology, referring to how technology is now implemented. The goal is to be more strategic with technology resources, which will not only create equity across the district, but also improve effectiveness and be more cost-effective.
“We want to make sure there are no barriers to our students learning,” said Barry Fox, AISD Director of Instructional Technology. That means the district will strive to provide access to whatever technology is most helpful for students and promote a culture in which students are using and engaging with technology on a daily basis.
Achieving these standards requires a lot of work behind the scenes, including major improvements in the area of network services and professional development for teachers to learn how to use their technology most effectively.