Every district operates differently which creates variables in the K12 education market, and understanding these variables can be challenging, but I have come to one important conclusion. Although people and processes change from district to district, the focus on supporting teachers with technology does not.
Paul Foster, CIO of Springfield Public Schools, joins me to discuss how he has overcome some common district roadblocks and successfully implemented Dyknow as their classroom management solution.
Here are three roadblocks that prevent some districts from using a classroom management solution like Dyknow:
Many districts don’t have a 1:1 student device program
This isn’t an indicator that these districts are behind the times, but it highlights choice. Technology administrators are charged with developing and implementing a strategic vision in all areas of technology for the district. They help facilitate the integration of digital tools and best practices into curriculum and administrative systems. In some instances, devices are not a part of this vision or these districts might be working with a BYOD program. District leaders have the choice over the type of program that they want to run and this directly impacts how classroom management solutions like Dyknow are adopted.
Paul Foster, chose a 1:1 device program for Springfield Public School District because he felt strongly about equity and standardization. Their adoption of Dyknow as a classroom management solution was a byproduct of their device decision. This is qualification criteria that we use when we are trying to help districts like Springfield Public Schools solve the problem of defeating device distractions.
Some districts view Classroom Management Solutions as a policing solution which contradicts their vision
Mark Branigan is a Dyknow team member who helps bring on new customers and he constantly tells customers, “We aren’t a policing solution. We are a classroom management solution that allows you to focus on what you do best…teaching!” Teachers waste a tremendous amount of time policing student devices during class, so Dyknow’s classroom management software monitors student devices for them, allowing teachers to be more effective. Some districts view classroom management solutions as policing student devices, contradicting their vision of digital citizenship. Dyknow reinforces digital citizenship and accountability among students by holding them accountable for their online activity in the classroom.
Paul Foster believes that there is a two-pronged approach to classroom management solutions. First, adding new technology to the classroom isn’t like waving a magic wand that solves the problem. It requires the teacher to create engaging content and a focused lesson plan that captures the attention of their students. Second, classroom management solutions like Dyknow help teachers monitor the behavior of students in class, without forcing them to police those devices in real-time. It takes a combination of preparation from the teacher and is then enhanced by Dyknow to ensure that every second of instruction time is maximized for both teachers and students.
Districts don’t always have additional funds to support classroom management solutions
Educators are able to quickly see the benefits of defeating student distractions by bringing Dyknow into their classrooms. After experiencing the classroom management solution through our online booth experience and at our hands-on booth at national and regional events, teachers immediately want to go back to their schools and implement Dyknow. Our free trial experience supports this demand, however, it takes technology resources to pull classroom data and get started.
This highlights the importance of getting technology administrators, tech coaches, and teachers all aligned with implementing classroom management software into a district. Even though a district has gone through the process of a Dyknow trial and seen immediate value in the classroom management solution, further roadblocks like budget can stand in the way of fully implementing Dyknow.
Paul Foster has some insight on how Springfield Public School District continues to support a district-wide roll out of Dyknow in their budget. Their end of the year money is used to support classroom management solutions. Foster has also pushed to have classroom management solutions included in their general fund, meaning that Dyknow is now a district-wide decision. This means that he can avoid going to individual schools to get budget approval for Dyknow.
While budgets change from district to district, internal advocacy to drive technology advancement is necessary within any district. Foster believes it’s critical to communicate with teachers to gain insights on how they feel about the technology they are currently using and opportunities to evaluate new technologies that can solve existing problems as Dyknow has at Springfield.
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