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: http://www.k12northstar.org/sites/default/files/fnsbsd-combined_w_appendices_educational_technology_plan_2011-2014-4apr11.pdf
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (2011, October). Technology Curriculum Grades K-12. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Fairbanks North Star Borough School District: http://www.k12northstar.org/departments/curriculum/instructional-technology/k-12-technology-curriculum
Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. (2014). Technology Plan 2014-2017. Retrieved July 27, 2015, from Fairbanks North Star Borough School District: http://www.k12northstar.org/sites/default/files/fnsbsdedtechplan2014-2017_0.pdf