A Unified Approach for Digital Integration
It is rare that things go as planned after selecting or purchasing new digital content, services, and tools. Building a culture of shared understanding and cross-departmental responsibility for how digital integration is approached is crucial to the success of any digital strategy. In a recent edWebinar, presenters from Vancouver Public Schools in Washington shared their processes for selecting and integrating digital content and resources to ensure effective implementation.
For those at the forefront of digital integration at Vancouver Public Schools, it was frustrating to turn away new resources when they lacked a process for proper vetting, evaluation, and implementation. The integration of digital content and resources is not just a technical challenge, but an adaptive challenge, so the solution revolved around becoming unified and building a shared understanding regarding that integration. Vancouver Public Schools arrived at three teams to achieve the systematic approach they were looking for: Digital Advisory Team (DAT), Digital Integration Team (DIT), and Digital Evaluation Team (DET).
DAT is where the shared culture of digital integration begins; it aims to build a shared understanding and ownership of digital content across all teams. This team develops a process to identify, vet, and recommend digital content prior to a purchase, and ensures compatibility with existing content. DAT also reviews specifics like the proposal details collected from the sponsor, resources already in place, audience, available funding, and more. After a review, the resource is either given the go-ahead for implementation, or is sent to DIT for further review.
DIT investigates what it will take to integrate that digital resource into the existing system. After a review here, this team comes back with a rating for the level of difficulty or intensity of the integration for the resource. They also send a technical survey to the vendor, many times followed by a call or meeting to review more details of that resource. Then, next steps are determined: even further review, or a recommendation to DAT to move forward with the resource?
DET, working with all things data, develops processes for evaluating digital content, measures efficacy of implementations, and informs decision-making, training, and evaluation. According to Bridget Hildreth, Performance and Evaluation Analyst at Vancouver Public Schools, that last part is very important. The technology needs to work, of course, but is it being used and delivered powerfully and in the best way possible?
The team also integrates and addresses qualitative feedback from end users as a critical part of the process. Teachers may feel as though the resource is not working, while students may feel something entirely different. This qualitative feedback can ultimately have significant benefits for teachers and other users when it comes back at a frequency to be able to act as reassurance that the resource is working.
This article was modified and published by EdScoop.
About the Presenters
Zach Desjarlais is currently the director of instructional technology for Vancouver Public Schools in Washington. He is both an organizational and thought leader in his district and recent recipient of the CoSN NextGeneration Leader award. His participation in a Learning Counsel event led to district recognition for VPS’s systemic leadership. He is currently working with Apple, Instructure, the Friday Institute, Learning Counsel and other organizations to build authentic partnerships to support his district’s work. Zach co-led a successful district-wide implementation of Canvas and advocated for greater use of Google Apps and cloud-based productivity by students and teachers. He currently co-leads a Future Ready Administrators principal team to foster professional learning and he is working with the director of curriculum to define a blended and personalized learning framework to help implement digital content and services. Zach was recently appointed to the advisory board for Future Ready Principals with the Alliance for Excellent Education.
Mark Ray is Director of Innovation and Library Services for Vancouver (WA) Public Schools and Future Ready Librarians Lead at the Alliance for Excellent Education. Named 2012 Washington State Teacher of the Year and an NSBA “20 to Watch” in 2015, he developed and led digital learning, professional development, and innovative librarian programs. His 2016 TEDx talk, “Changing the Conversation About Librarians” promotes Future Ready Librarians, a national initiative he helped develop. Mark has presented at ISTE, SXSWEdu, FETC, CUE, and AASL. In addition to blogs, he has also written for School Administrator, eSchool News, and School Library Journal.
Bridget Hildreth is the current performance and evaluation analyst for the Vancouver Public Schools in Washington. Prior to working for VPS, Bridget was an instructional designer and qualitative researcher for the University of Oregon’s Center for Advanced Technology in Education (CATE) and the Center for Equity Promotion (CEQP) developing and testing several strategic learning methodologies and online learning platforms for large federally funded projects such as Strategies for Academic Research and the Mathematics eText Research Center. During her tenure with the University of Oregon she had the opportunity to collaborate with 21st century learning sciences luminaries, such as Don Leu of the New Literacies Learning Lab in Connecticut and Dr. Lindy Crawford, endowed research chair for special education at Texas Christian University. In her current capacity, Bridget oversees the district’s core math and reading diagnostic tool, works closely with VPS’s enterprise data team, develops protocols and qualitative research instruments for vetting digital learning objects and piloting curriculum materials, and leads the change initiatives for the district’s Climate and Culture/Social Emotional Learning survey tools, reports, and action plan. A former secondary and college journalism and writing instructor, Bridget holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University.
About the Host
Christina Luke, Ph.D. leads the Marketplace Research initiative at Digital Promise which is focused on increasing the amount of evidence in the edtech marketplace. Before joining Digital Promise, Christina led program evaluations for federal and state initiatives and delivered professional development and technical assistance to school districts at Measurement Incorporated. Formerly a high school English teacher, Christina left the classroom to study education policy with a desire to improve student outcomes by offering a practitioner’s perspective to education research. Christina earned a Ph.D. in education administration and policy from the State University of New York at Albany and a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and English from Boston College.
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