The specific policy that helps my district prepare students for current and emerging technology is that all schools in the district have technology available for students to use. However, the main issue with the technology is that it is not evenly distributed among the schools. Title I schools have more technology than most schools that are not designated as Title I. The school where I teach is designated as a Title I school and we have a computer room, two laptop carts, two iPad carts and ipod Touches in the classrooms. Every classroom also has a SmartBoard. I have been to other schools in the district that only have two laptop carts and one iPad cart.

The best thing that our district has going for it is its technology standards curriculum that outlines what should be taught in each grade level starting in kindergarten (Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 2011). The district designed the curriculum when they wrote their first technology plan in 2011. They chose to base the curriculum off the National Educational Technology Standards (Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 2011). The six strands of standards include creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making, digital citizenship, and technology operations & concepts. By aligning their standards directly to the NETS, it helped the school district obtain a strong starting point to introduce emerging technology to students.

The 2011 plan was a good start and I was hoping that the district’s 2014-2017 plan would expand on introducing emerging technology. However, there is little, if any, real focus on introducing emerging technology to students or teachers. In the plan, the district states that they will “Continue to provide workshops and credit courses for staff that integrate the Alaska standards, technology, and best practices” (Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, 2014). My concern here is, what about the staff that is not integrating technology? Our district requires all teachers to take a technology test each year. If teachers do not pass the test, then they have to retake the test the next year. I know that there are teachers in my school that have not passed the test for over five years. Our school district offers classes to the teachers that do not pass, but they are not required. I could talk to my principal about letting me showcase the projects during staff meetings and open houses. We could have a staff makerspace in one of the spare classrooms. I could share my lesson plans. I would like to see more teachers want to teach technology, but first I think they need to get excited about it.


Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (2011). Educational Technology Plan. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Fairbanks North Star Borough School District:

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (2011, October). Technology Curriculum Grades K-12. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Fairbanks North Star Borough School District:

Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (2014). Technology Plan 2014-2017. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Fairbanks North Star Borough School District:


3 thoughts on “What specific policies will help your district prepare students for current and emerging technology use? How can you help lead your district in creating these policies?

  1. What a great idea. I have to wonder how much emphasis is really put into these plans by districts. my district plan is so plane, it is a copy of the last one. Its almost like no one is really looking. I think the hardest part is getting teachers to get excited. If they have been around forever, they are happy with what they have and have no desire to grow. Thats what it seems like for me. The attitude is well we don’t have the money so we won’t worry about it. And the ones who suffer are the kids. It sounds like your district hasn’t had a strong standing on “it needs to be done now”and hold people accountable to it. Good luck with this, I think you can persuade them to do the right thing!


  2. I like your that your district has a technology test! Our district has a technology curriculum, but I don’t know if all sites follow it. How closely does your district follow up on implementation of technology?


  3. Cherie,
    Your comment about Title I schools having greater access to technology hit home as I move from a district that was all Title I into my new site that is NOT designated as having need. It was a bit like going back in time, because I have no interactive white board or access to iPads, and for some reason the internet service is far slower even though it is a larger community. From what I read while investigating BYOD, this is because Title I students have a greater need—wealthier students are supposedly able to access technology at home. Part of me agrees, but it is unfortunate that all students and teachers in Alaska do not have equitable access to both older and emerging technologies.

    Working for a district that has a plan with clear curricular guidelines must be a mixed blessing. In one way is would be nice to know the expectations of each grade level and sort of be able to build on skills and knowledge previously taught. On the other hand, as you pointed out, it is more difficult to find time and means to integrate new innovations.

    Way to go on offering to showcase your technology use! It would be fun to visit the next time I pass through Fairbanks.
    Lisa (I apologize for being so late in responding)


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