I’ve written before about the fact that BUSD is far from leading the way when it comes to instructional technology (or communications technology, for that matter). I appreciate, and share, our superintendent’s vision that BUSD become a “world-class” district. But no 21st century world-class public school district is without a comprehensive plan for the use of technology in the classroom. The development of such a plan, coordinated by instructional leaders with input from the many resources we have in our parent community, should be a top priority for the district.
Many parents and teachers are wary of plans to use more technology in the classroom. And perhaps with good reason; there are plenty of “tech in schools gone awry” stories to warrant proceeding with caution. But there are also many examples of uses of technology in the classroom that enable differentiated learning, help close the “digital divide,” and engage more girls and students of color in STEM fields. This short piece, in a newsletter devoted to educational technology issues, has a number of sensible tips for K-12 districts contemplating improvements in their use of instructional technology. It makes the important points that it is wise to start small, leverage early adopters, and, most importantly, start with a vision that is grounded in instruction, not just the latest device or gadget.
Fully implementing a true technology vision for BUSD will likely require resources we don’t currently have. Part of the vision, and the action plan, should be to look outside the district for technology resources. San Francisco has done so; we should too. But as advocates of cooking and gardening know all too well, it’s very difficult to attract outside funding without a clear plan for the future. Creating that plan is the first step, and it’s not a costly one. We should take it.