Thursday, April 18, 2013

Manchester School District Digital Learning Network - Update 5/14/2013

We are entering our 5th week and there has been good participation so far. We expect to have a lot of good information from this course for our Strategic Technology Plan.

Update 4/18/2013

The TRC is heading up an initiative to foster digital learning in the classroom. We have gathered stakeholders from across the district including Principals, Teachers, and Library Media Specialists. We are organizing stakeholders into two groups, Core and Advisory. The core members will participate in a 7 week free course (which began on April 8th) called Digital Learning Transitions, with the objective of developing a set of goals as well as an action plan for digital learning in the district. The core group consists of 12 members plus myself and Liane St Laurent. The advisory group consists of 42 members. A full description of the course can be accessed online at We hope to establish the MSD Digital Learning Network as a standards consortium and support group to the district as well as a springboard to student ELO engagement opportunities such as student led help desk.

Smarter Balanced Testing Pilot - Parker Varney - Update 5/14/2013

We completed a very successful live test of the Smarter Balanced online assessments at Parker Varney elementary. Multiple computer platforms were tested including MacBooks, Chromebooks, ipads and Windows PC’s. It included computer administered items, a performance task, and a classroom activity. The test was given in two testing periods. We utilized our upgraded building Wifi and Internet bandwidth and all devices performed without a hitch. I am pleased with the computer density that we achieved with as many as 60 students testing simultaneously. We will document what we learned relative to the administration of the tests and model this process for all schools grades 3-8 and 11.
A HUGE thank you to teacher and technology mastermind Kelly Jobel whose dedication to excellence is second to none. 
I also want to recognize that successful technology projects like these require the collaboration of dedicated teams of individuals.
We want to recognize:
- The fifth grade teachers, paras and special education staff
who administered the tests and attended all the meetings to prepare for the test.
- Parker Varney Principal Amy Allen and Assistant Principal Kevin Henry.
- Paula Greenspan and Brian Demers from the School IT department
- Tim Powell from the School IT department for all his help with setting up the ipads, chrome books and more.
- Smyth Road School for letting us borrow the Chromebooks.
- UNH intern Mike who connected the ipads using bluetooth to the keyboards.
- District Data Analyst, Donna Crook for adding the students to the system.
- Mrs. Stone for printing labels.
- Jenn Lowton, SIG tech integration consultant for your help with the ipads the first testing day ...
- Superintendent Brennan and district administrative staff for your continued support for technology as well as working with the NH Dept of Education.

THANK YOU !!!!! We couldn't have done it without you !

Update 4/18/2013

We have chosen Parker Varney to host a controlled testing of the online assessment Smarter Balanced, currently scheduled for the end of April. Multiple computer platforms using live testing environments will be qualified including MacBooks, Chromebooks, ipads and Windows PC’s. This will provide a better understanding of the technical challenges that we may face when the testing goes live in 2015.

Teacher Computer Refresh Update - 5/14/13

We have installed all of the teacher refresh computers except 20 for Mclaughlin Middle school which are in progress. I want to comment that by spreading the purchase out over several months (as opposed to purchasing all at once) we were able to acquire an additional 99 computers beyond the original 800 projected due to price drops over time. Those additional 99 computers were deployed in ICT labs at Central, West and Parkside.

Update 4/18/2013

Of the 190 computers remaining to be installed district wide, 110 have been installed. 60 at West, 50 at Central and Memorial and McLaughlin are in process. All other schools are all complete. By the end of the month our team will have rolled out over 1000 new computers for teachers. Yeah!