How is technology funded at APS schools and administrative sites?
There are several sources of technology funding available to schools, including bond and mill levy funds, curriculum funds, building funds, PTO funds and grants. In addition to these funding sources, APS is also actively pursuing private grants for technology from organizations such as the Morgridge Foundation. Title 1 schools also use their funds to purchase instructional technology tools.
How are bond and mill levy funds distributed to schools?
Bond funds for technology renewal (new computers and equipment) are allocated to each school based on a $45 per pupil basis. The Information Technology Department meets with each school site to determine how bond funds will be spent on their specific technology needs.
The majority of the mill levy funds for classroom technology are distributed through a competitive grant process. Schools can submit grants for a variety of technology tools ranging from interactive white boards to video teleconference equipment. In 2009, the Instructional Technology department awarded 34 grants to schools, totaling more than $750,000.
When will schools receive new computers and other technology tools such as Promethean boards?
APS does not have a structured schedule for when schools and administrative sites will receive technology improvements. The Instructional Technology Department works with each school to develop a technology plan that is part of their School Improvement Plan. Based on its specific plan, each school places an order for technology equipment from bond funds. School sites apply for 21st Century Classrooms for Teaching and Learning Initiative Grants on an annual basis.
How are we ensuring that all students have access to computers?
Thanks to 2002 and 2008 bond funds, APS has distributed more than 13,000 computers to schools. Each school decides where and how these computers are used. In addition, every school has at least one computer lab. Many schools are purchasing less expensive netboooks (mini-computers) and other wireless devices such as iPods to expand technology options for students. Schools are putting this technology into the classroom and integrating it into the curriculum more effectively.
How are students learning the skills needed to use technology?
Students receive instruction in technology starting in kindergarten, and in some cases, even in preschool. Elementary schools provide students technology education through “specials” offered at least one period per week. At the middle and high school level, APS offers students numerous opportunities to enroll and participate in technology courses.
Do we have options for students who are ahead of the curve with technology? What is available to them?
Students at the high school level are able to enroll in online courses for credit or for credit recovery. These courses are self-paced and require a self-disciplined student in order to complete the course work. Teachers throughout the district are gaining better skills and knowledge to leverage the use of technology to support student learning at all levels.
How are we integrating technology instruction into other content areas?
APS offers teachers credit classes ranging from Internet Safety to the use of “Moodle,” a course management system that allows teachers to create online courses. The majority of these classes are offered at school sites for staff convenience.
The grant process created by Instructional Technology is also designed to ensure that grant recipients create a plan to integrate technology into their content and classrooms. Participants are involved in 30 hours of professional learning to ensure effective use of new technology tools. APS has also obtained other grants which focus on professional learning so that teachers can learn how to integrate technology into daily instruction.
Does APS have resources available for teachers to share content via technology?
APS has multiple tools available for sharing content. For example, Moodle is a learning management system that allows teachers to create online courses. APS also has various online storage systems, such as One Place, Mediashare and Mediacast, that teachers can use to build customized multimedia programs to make learning more engaging for their students.