Referendum Technology Summary 2016-2017
The referendum technology funds provide the purchase, installation, and professional development for SMART interactive whiteboards, projectors and software. The long-term goal of the technology referendum is to provide every classroom and teacher with interactive technologies for curriculum delivery. This tool engages students in interactive lessons and digital content. There were 471 SMART Boards or interactive projectors installed at 49 schools across the district during the 2016-2017 school year. Teachers are encouraged to participate in professional development to learn how to use the software, share lessons and receive feedback from others. The guiding principles of the Referendum SMART Board Project drive the plan. First, the project must address student achievement. Second, it must involve teacher training in using their SMART technology. Third, the project provides on-going support.
Due to the constant changes in technology and the large number of classrooms in Pinellas
County Schools, the recommendation for a multi-year project to update all classrooms was developed. An advisory team considers district needs and future expenditures and reviews the technology referendum projects at least once per year. Four referendum Technology Integration Coordinators are responsible for the creation and delivery of the training for teachers receiving interactive technology. In addition to supporting the SMART project, the Technology Integration Coordinators have taken a leading role in providing professional development for the implementation of Microsoft Office 365 tools and other interactive applications to support teaching and learning. In addition to working with teachers and administrators throughout the school year, during the summer of 2017, the Digital Learning team engaged 311 teachers across all grade levels in professional development.
Additional technology referendum projects include the purchase of curriculum software, such as SMART Notebook, NearPod, BrainPop and NetSupport. These applications are interactive and assist teachers in building dynamic, engaging lessons plans and work well with the SMART Board. Continue reading for a more detailed report.
SMART Board Project Overview
The district-wide technology referendum plan for the 2016-2017 school year continued from the previous years with the installation of interactive SMART Boards and projectors in classrooms across the district. This is part of a multi-year plan in which all classrooms in all schools will have some type of interactive presentation technology. A SMART Board is a large, touch sensitive screen connected to a computer and a digital projector. The computer display is projected onto the board and is controlled by touching the board directly or with a pen-like electronic tool through the SMART Notebook Interactive software. This software is used by teachers to create engaging presentations for students in both whole class and small group activities.
Classrooms in portables or rooms without stationary walls received a SMART Flat Panel Interactive TV on a movable stand. The appropriate technology is installed based on the configuration of the classroom. These boards and TV’s provide teachers with the tools to create interactive activities that enhance instruction. Students can finger touch the boards and use the software to demonstrate learning. Teacher-made lessons are created by Pinellas classroom teachers and shared throughout the district and across the country through the SMART Exchange website.
SMART Board Project Schools
During the 2016-2017 school year 471 interactive SMART Boards, TV’s or projectors were installed at 49 schools. For the 2016-2017 school year, the project focused on completing all elementary classrooms. During the previous year, elementary school principals were asked to identify any remaining classrooms that still needed interactive technology. The installation plan was developed based on this principal feedback.
The following schools received SMART Board or Interactive Projectors during the 2016-2017 school year:
Bay Point ES
Bay Vista ES
Brooker Creek ES
Cross Bayou ES
Curlew Creek ES
Cypress Woods ES
Fairmount Park ES
Forest Lakes ES
Garrison Jones ES
Highland Lakes ES
Kings Highway ES
Lake St. George ES
Lealman Ave ES
Madeira Beach Fundamental
McMullen Booth ES
Pinellas Gulf Coast Academy
Pinellas Park ES
San Jose ES
Sandy Lane ES
Seventy Fourth Street ES
Shore Acres ES
Sunset Hills ES
SMART Board Project Professional Development
Classroom teachers should use technology tools to enhance, energize and differentiate traditional lessons. If technology tools are thoughtfully incorporated into instruction, they can transform learning in the classroom. Teacher training and support are critical for the successful use of this technology. Four Technology Integration Coordinators, funded by the referendum, are available to schools to provide in school or after-hours training, create and share exemplar lessons, and coach and mentor in the classroom. These Technology Integration Coordinators are former classroom teachers with a passion for technology and a deep understanding of content standards and instructional processes. Teachers who receive the interactive technology in their classroom, are encouraged to take 9 hours of training and principals are provided data on which of their teachers have completed the SMART training. This training covers the use of the hardware, the software and how to use the SMART Exchange resource.
Curriculum Software Purchases
During the 2014-2015 school year, referendum funds purchased a three-year license for two important software applications, SMART Notebook and BrainPop. This advanced planning allowed funding for other software products during 2016-2017 school year. These include Nearpod, NetSupport and NewsELA.
Nearpod is interactive lesson software that allows the teacher to incorporate multiple means of engagement. Nearpod is ideal for use with a SMART Board or interactive projector. It delivers content slide by slide that can include videos, drawing boards, audio, and quizzes. During the 2016-2017 school year referendum funds purchased 180 annual licenses and content for Nearpod. These licensees were distributed to teachers who, when we monitored data, showed active use the platform. Summer professional development sessions with stipends were also provided.
NetSupport is a monitoring application that allows teachers in a lab setting to see every student’s screen to ensure they are accessing the appropriate curriculum resources. Teachers are able to send a private message or lock the screen of a student who may need redirection.
NewsELA is an online resource that provides teachers and students access to leveled texts and questions aligned to English Language Arts standards. As a part of the pilot implementation of Beyond the Classroom, select schools were provided paid subscriptions to NewsELA. Beyond the Classroom is an exciting new platform that is being built by the office of Digital Learning and students at The Center for Advanced Technology at Lakewood High School. This platform will connect students with online learning resources tied to their individual strengths and academic challenges.
Technology Integration Coordinators provide professional development and technology support for teachers and administrators. In addition to multiple face to face and online training sessions for the SMART Project, they are the primary resource to support implementation of Microsoft Office 365 as a tool to enhance teaching and learning. They meet with teachers and administrators in both formal and informal settings to provide side by side coaching in applications such as One Note for class and staff notebooks, Sway for presentations, and Forms for surveys and quizzes. In addition to working with teachers and administrators throughout the school year, during the summer of 2017, the Digital Learning team engaged 311 teachers across all grade levels in professional development.
In summary, $1,698,723.00 from the technology referendum was expended for the purchase, installation, training and support of the interactive technology. Funds for personnel to train and support teachers in the classroom were used throughout the year. Curriculum software was purchased so that additional technology projects can be explored. A roll forward balance will be carried over to the next school year to continue implementation of this multi-year plan.