We live and work in a digital environment – one of instantaneous access to information and communication. Wireless access is assumed; ubiquitous access through ‘smart’ devices is expected. Just as these capabilities allow us to interact in ways we could not imagine 20 years ago, our education system needs to develop our students with the skills and flexibility for jobs that do not exist today and in many cases we cannot even imagine. We understand the components of a great education system that equitably prepares students for the opportunities of the future and have created a Technology Vision and Plan to support it.
The citizens of Renton have provided the District with strong and reliable support for the integration of technology into teaching, learning, and district operations since 1992 through a series of levies and bonds. Their continued support through the six-year Levy (passed in February 2016) allows for technology to become an integral and daily part of every student’s education. Technology enhances strong student learning by providing students with greater access and rich opportunities, through powerful instructional models supporting:
- Differentiation of instruction
- Increased value of relationships
- Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)
- Self-directed and teacher-directed learning
- Student Centered Learning: developing student agency and ownership of their learning
- Versatility of use of program/tools
- Blending of curriculum and technology
- Highly complex instruction and learning
- Flexible and responsive instructional practices
- Increased teacher productivity, collaboration, efficiency and efficacy
To implement these models our technology plan will dramatically increase student access to instructionally appropriate mobile devices such as laptops and tablets. Various models of technology integration will be piloted and adopted as fitting for the various grades and classes – these include more computers in the classroom, students having their ‘own’ device, computer on wheels (COWs) available as needed, and access to online resources and curriculum from anywhere. New instructional models will incorporate digital materials and some content will be available completely online. ‘Cloud-based’ tools, such as Office 365 and the Canvas learning management system will allow students, teachers, and parents access to class resources from anywhere and at any time. Classrooms will be modernized with new displays/projectors and the capability for teachers and students to easily and seamlessly show their work on the classroom screen. Teachers will be supported through a range of professional learning opportunities and will participate in the piloting and selection of curricula and various technologies.
Technology is necessary to support the District’s operations -- all day, every day. The District plan will continually update our infrastructure, hardware, wiring, and software to meet the growing expectations and requirements of our $200 million operations. Our vision includes digitizing our business operations and moving away from paper. This will increase our efficiency and provide real-time data to allow for tracking, monitoring and improving all business operations. Our vision of a mobile digital environment enhances our ability to recruit, train, and retain a diverse, high quality staff for schools and departments. The conversion to digital information allows for providing a wider range of information, curriculum, and data to parents about their children and their classes.
Though this vision is forward-looking, there are critical challenges that we cannot ignore, including:
- Student access to computers and the internet from home. Many of our students do not have a computer at home or they do not have internet access.
- Integrating technology into teaching and the curriculum. The new Common Core State Standards require instruction that demands more from our students to prepare them for the next generation of work opportunities.
- Providing support for students with a range of disabilities, medical needs, and learning requirements.
- Developing new support structures as additional laptops and other devices are used in our schools. As technology becomes the medium through which learning takes place, robust and timely support needs to be available throughout our schools and departments.
The Community’s support through the 2016 Levy allows us to meet these challenges directly. Collaboration and commitment across departments and schools allows us to solve these problems and support the District’s vision of "ensuring high quality instruction and learning for every child, every day in every environment and advances our goals of achievement, college and career readiness, and equity and access".