Technology Plan for Schools Seen as 'Big Leap Forward' in Barrington
Technology director is seeking a 1:1 ratio of computer devices to students so schools can 'stay relevant'; the plan will be presented to the Barrington School Committee next month.
The technology director for Barrington’s schools will ask the School Committee to take what she says is a “big leap forward” in November.
“It’s a leap we need to consider to stay relevant,” said Katie Miller. “Our current numbers don’t support 21st century needs. We can’t achieve the goals we set with what we have.”
Miller is talking about the proposed Barrington Public Schools Technology Plan for 2012-2015. She described it as a plan that is “a work in progress” and very open to feedback from the community, such as the response made last week by a candidate for the School Committee, Paula Dominguez, who does not view it as particularly ambitious. See Patch story.
Miller disagrees because she said the plan she will present to the board next month suggests a 1:1 ratio of computer devices and equipment to students.
“It’s where we ought to be,” she said.
The current ratios in each school range from 11:1 at Primrose Hill to 4:1 at the middle school, according to the plan. The high school ratio is 5:1. Hampden Meadows is 6:1. Nayatt and Sowams schools have 9:1 ratios.
So, there is a long way to go to come close what is suggested in the proposed technology plan, Miller said, which will require a substantial investment.
Miller declined to put a price tag on the proposal until her presentation. But expect the price tag to far exceed the annual $200,000 or so the district spends on technology each year.
That is not to say the district is starting from scratch. A “robust foundation” for the technology plan does exist, said Miller.
“We have tended to technology over the years,” she said, usually in three-year cycles. But this time, she said: “We need to think differently. We need to look at educating students differently.”
Indeed, she says in the technology plan’s executive summary, the schools’ “readiness to move forward is at an all-time high.”
In short, said the Barrington native, the technology plan builds on this foundation, almost 700 surveys done for the schools’ Strategic Plan, and the 2010 National Education Technology Plan (NETP), she said.
The technology plan, in fact, closely resembles the NETP because of its focus on five essential areas:
- Learning: Engage and Empower
- Assessment: Measure What Matters
- Teaching: Prepare and Connect
- Infrastructure: Access and Enable
- Productivity: Redesign and Transform
Maintaining the network already in place and moving forward will require sustained funding and appropriate levels of human capital, the plan says. The network core, located at the middle school, may require migrating it to another location with adequate space and temperature control.
Having sufficient bandwidth down the road also is a concern, the plan states. Without a dramatic increase in bandwidth, the summary says, the district’s ability to expand digital learning will be stifled.
Substantial recent investments in wireless technology have been made in the schools, Miller said. But a dramatic increase in required nodes due to an increase in connected devices would require reevaluation.