Recent Technology articles and posts
Instructional technology is a critical part of day-to-day activities and student learning in our district. The goal of all educational technology decisions at Fremont County School District #1 is to seamlessly and powerfully integrate technology into the classroom and into our curriculum. Fremont #1 has been fortunate to receive the resources – facilities, funds, support, and time – necessary to make this happen.
We currently manage about 2,400 staff and student devices across nine physical sites. Our wired and wireless infrastructure meets or exceeds standards set forth by EducationSuperhighway.org and ETS. We manage 42 servers (both physical devices as well as virtual servers), down from nearly 70 a few years earlier. As more of our applications are moving into the cloud, we are reducing onsite equipment purchases as well as reducing our overall management costs in money and time.
In the fall of 2014, Lander Valley HS became a full 1-to-1 student environment with take-home privileges. Pathfinder HS students and Lander MS eighth graders followed closely behind. Today, all students 6-12 have a dedicated device for classroom use. As we are a Google Apps-based district, we chose Chromebooks for student mobile devices. Chrome devices are ready for students seconds after powering on, saving significant classroom time over traditional Windows-based machines. Their batteries last an entire instructional day, and management is much simpler. The cost of a Chrome-based device hovers around $200, about one-third the cost of a Windows device.
Our department has significantly changed in the last three years, as changes to the edtech industry, IT in general, and expectations from staff, students, and parents have shifted. For instance, it takes less time and effort to manage 1,000 Chromebooks than it did to manage 400 Windows student desktops, so our staff has gained time to better collaborate with our tech instructional facilitators as they integrate tech resources into curriculum. We also direct and lead on projects that increase our administrative efficiency and enhance our services offered to parents and community, thanks to the time and money saved by cloud computing and lower-cost but still powerful devices.
Professional development and curriculum integration goals are designed to support teachers in becoming expert at combining technology resources with their classroom instruction and strategies. We provide a range of PD activities; from a UW master’s course currently underway a system, to a system of “badges” that staff can earn as they become proficient in different district applications and subscriptions. And with our Tech Bistro training room at the new Admin building, we now have a dedicated comfortable space with collaboration resources for teachers and other staff to work and learn.
The last few years have also seen a renewed focus on communications, and our department has assisted with those efforts. We have teachers, departments, and schools actively sharing daily photos, announcements, congratulations, and more on Twitter. The quality and frequency of our social media posts on Twitter and Facebook is comparable to a school district ten times our size. We additionally offer a district-wide events calendar that is always up-to-date for our community.
During your visit, you’ll see and learn about the great things Fremont #1 is doing in instructional technology and student learning! Thanks!
Chris Brown, Director of Technology