Chromebooks are out!

WOW! I know that I said I’d be really great this year at keeping up with a blog and actually, I do have a reminder set for myself every week to do it. However, we were kind of swamped the past few weeks.

Let me just say first that I am beyond proud of the team I work with and everyone last year who was a part of the planning to roll out 2200 Chromebooks (CB) to all of our high school students. It’s been a LONG, uphill journey to get where we are.

So, our first week of school went off without a hitch. Why? We were just finishing up the final touches of the Chromebook rollout. We were organizing reams of papers to know if students had signed the Technology Agreement form or not. We were not concerned about if the fee was paid, but needed to have that agreement in place. We spent time organizing our LMC to be student traffic friendly. Our plan of calling down students each day by grade and then split by alphabet had been set before we left for the summer last year and we were happy with how it was set up. We were very scared though that we didn’t schedule enough time.

Then, Monday, September 10 came around. I spent my morning having a massive anxiety attack as I ran through all of the horrible things I was sure were going to wrong or that we forgot. Fast forward to 8:00 a.m. (yes, that’s fast forwarding since I wake up at 4:00 a.m.). Everyone was in position at our stations: registration table, Chromebook pick-up, Chromebook unboxing, Chromebook Log-In and check computer cords, etc., and then our final stop of checkout. We had about 10 people, give or take depending on the day and hour, to work the stations and make sure everything was in working order.

We called our first group down. Seniors with the last name starting with A-C. They lined up  outside of the LMC, had their IDs ready, cleaned up after themselves, were polite and excited. They were out in 21 minutes. 21 minutes! About 70 students. AMAZING. Not a single issue. We debated on keeping to our schedule (every 45 minutes a group would be called) or moving faster. We decided to press ahead. We finished the Senior Class around 1:00 p.m.! No issues with computers or students. Everything was wonderful and we were thrilled! The team discussed if we should quit for the day or move ahead with the Juniors. We decided that we might as well keep moving. The first day, we ended up getting through Junior, last names J-L with still no issues.

Day 2: We ended up finishing the Juniors and getting through R of the Sophomore class. We had a few small issues that were easily fixable and just a few that needed to go back to the manufacturer.

Day 3: Today was a big day for us. The media visited us and interviewed staff and students. Steven Butschi from Google was here to help us out as well. The kids found it pretty amazing that so much good press was happening because of the Chromebooks. They also think that Steven is like a rockstar god. We ended up getting through S of the Freshman class.

Day 4: We finished up the Freshman class and any stragglers as well as our alternative high school. All by noon! We ended up with under 50 computers that didn’t had some sort of manufacturer issue. We were very impressed by this.

Most students have had their Chromebooks for about a week now. We have a Help Desk area set up in our LMC for students to come with technical difficulties, password issues, etc. At this point, we have had 15 broken screens and a handful of students that have put themselves on the Dev Channel and thus turned off the Chromebook network we have set up. Not too shabby. We did not require our students to have cases and yes, they take them home at night. I’d say things are looking really good.

This week for the curriculum team has been a lot of troubleshooting and IT work that we aren’t really used to. As we’re already seeing the number of students needing help drop drastically, we are excited to be getting into classrooms to see how the students are utilizing the Chromebooks.



Why We Data Dig

Data has always fascinated me. The telling facts of what is being done well or really wrong. That the data can be misconstrued to tell a whole different story depending on how you look at it. The way my teaching has evolved because of the data.

I started collecting my own personal data with my students when I started teaching keyboarding. I kept track of their words per minute weekly, their average, growth, and tied it to their technique as well. Over the years, as I became more comfortable analyzing my data and seeing where students were lacking, I understood where I needed to adjust my teaching strategies. I started really focusing on where each individual student was and what I needed to do to get them to the next level and see their growth. My differentiation techniques expanded. I became less afraid to try new things. Why? The new things I was trying with students helped students to grow exponetially, and the climate in my room was that of the students really taking ownership of their learning. They were happy; they were having dialogue about what they were doing differently; they said thank you!

When I started the job as a Technology Coach, I was afraid that I would lose being able to have that data to work with and to improve myself. However, our Instructional Support Center staff has included me in many of our data digs. I have been digging deeply into our WKCE scores, MAP data at the middle schools and the Plan/Explore data at the high school over the past few months.

In my data digging, I found that we have some areas to work on. But, who doesn’t? That’s why we collect data and analyze it. So we can improve. By digging into the data, I’ve become astounded at just how different our students are from each other. And that staff don’t always see that if a student isn’t doing his/her work that the student still might know the material really well.

At our district Data Festival this past week, I watched my colleagues take in the data we had and that we’d been looking at for months. I watched their shocked faces when they realized what the students will need to score proficient on our upcoming state tests. I listened to their amazing conversations about what they can do differently next year with moving to block scheduling and having an I/E block built into their schedules. I helped staff find and manipulate the data to meet students where they are and brainstormed ways to help them grow. I witnessed the complete and total caring for each and every student in our district.

So my task for myself this summer is to continue to analyze the data I have and look at ways to support the staff and students with technology. I’m working on creating a site for the common core math standards and types of lessons, games, tutorials, etc. can be used in across the grade levels. I’m finding more ways to use technology for formative assessments and provide students a larger variety of formative assessments. I’m finding resources that can be used for I/E blocks.

I know that with the wonderful, caring staff that we have and the best resources possible (plus that 86 minute class and I/E blocks!), we will see tremendous growth in our students.