The past year has been an active and exciting time for our technology department. With a generous warrant from both the towns of Groton and Dunstable, technology integration has significantly increased in all of our schools. The warrant has allowed for an increasing student to device ratio of roughly 2:1.
With the influx of educational technology equipment and strengthening of network infrastructure provided by the warrant, improvements can be seen in the day-to-day technology integration by both staff and students.
After a successful field test of PARCC in the spring of 2014, we have elected to have our third through eighth grade students take the computer-based assessments again in 2015. The addition of Google Chromebooks and a strong network has allowed our district to be well prepared for this new testing platform.
Prior to the start of the 2014-2015 school year, introductory and data gathering meetings with administration and members of the technology department were scheduled to identify district strengths and needs. There has been a concerted effort to maintain strong communication with the technology department by organizing and facilitating monthly meetings. A highlight of this time is the beginning stages on the development of mission and vision statements to support future long-range district goals.
In preparation for supporting such goals, the technology department is working on transitioning to new student information and Voice over IP systems. A new student information system will manage student data more efficiently. Increasing our network infrastructure will support a seamless transition to Voice over IP, which will allow for telephone communications over our network with a savings to the underlying budget.
The importance of selecting the proper equipment and getting the most from our dollar is of ￼great importance with the likelihood of a level technology budget in FY2016. With this in mind, we have eliminated excess costs and waste in our former printing program and now are supporting low-cost copiers across district that allow for savings. The standardizing of a formal asset inventory across the district will help us identify, replace and recycle technology equipment in future budget cycles. There has also been a large push to identify areas of need at each school and allocate available resources either through grants or the operating budget. In October of 2014, the entire technology department attended the regional MassCUE Educational Technology Conference, which focuses on the integration of technology into the
In addition to both attending and presenting at MassCUE, members of the technology department have presented at various other conferences and have also taken a strong role presenting during in-district professional development workshops for teachers.
Over the past year, our faculty have adopted Google Apps for Education into their daily routines, and Google Apps accounts were provided to every student and staff member. Along with over 650 Google Chromebooks, technology tools have become the backbone of effective communication and are indispensable in our approach to online collaboration in this fast-paced world. Just recently, the development of a digital portfolio website will afford all students the opportunity to become strong digital citizens and provide a high-quality online showcase for student work and growth.
Thanks to the ease of using the Google Apps software, we were able to pilot and automate parent consent forms at the middle school and will look to expand this process across the district. In addition, the technology department has gathered parent and staff feedback using Google Apps to collect important information about their perceptions of our website and communication methods, which will be used to develop best practices going forward.
In addition to supporting instructional practice and communication, technology education has been expanded. For example, this past year we introduced a pilot course at the high school called Exploring Computer Science (ECS), which acts as an introduction to robotics and programming. During the national Computer Science Week in December, students at all levels, along with high school student ambassadors, completed the Hour of Code, which provided an opportunity to program and learn the logic behind coding.
This information is a public record and was submitted by Mr. Luke Callahan, Director of Technology, Information, and Media Relations for the end of year town report for Groton and Dunstable, Massachusetts in January, 2015.