Celebrating Texas Vision @woscholar @mikegras


From Left to Right: Mike Gras, Scott Floyd
Image Courtesy of Kristy Vincent


When my secretary dropped a copy of Scholastic Administrator on my desk, I had no idea that it would reference some of the hottest leaders in Texas! 

Pam Derringer's "Last Week's Technology: How to Balance trends, finances, and teacher and student demands to create a tech plan you can follow" sweeps readers off their feet with a simple bold face, large-print quote from Michael Gras, White Oak (Texas) ISD:


"I don't need a room full of desktops if a kid can do research with the device in his pocket."

Michael goes on to make other wild-eyed claims--that is, claims that leave one wide-eyed rather than imply the lunacy of the claimer--including the following:
  • "Who am I as tech director to deprive a student of connectivity?" Gras asks. "My job is to foster innovation."
  • "I don't think I need computers anymore if a kid can do research with the device in his pocket," says the district's chief of technology. "Certainly, we need a lot less."
  • "We have so much going on for so little cost, it's unbelievable."
And, Scott Floyd (White Oak ISD), playing Robin to Gras' Batman (at least in this article), isn't left out, getting the final word of the article in:
  • "CK-12" is the future," They are the leaders and will have many statewide initiatives in the next few years."

http://www.ck12.org/flexbook/


Note: CK12.org is a free, online curriculum provider.

Of course, Ed Zaiontz (RoundRock ISD) also is quoted and lauded as a pioneer:
  • All a teacher needs is a computer, an AMX touch-control panel, a ceiling-mounted projector, and a convention AV screen to watch live events, school presentations, or programming saved on the server, Zaiontz explains.
  • The irony is that the school network no longer has an iron lock on what teachers can access or store..."The schools have lost that battle [for control]," Zaiontz declares.
Kudos to Texas leaders who have been celebrated in the latest issue of ScholasticAdministrator.com (Fall, 2011).

Of course, the issue would not be complete without mentioning the voice of the counter-culture in the article, an urban technology director forced to sit on the sidelines of a torrent of changes sweeping through schools. Pam Derringer (the author) has placed this "urban technology director" as the voice of what is NOT happening in some school settings due to lack of vision, unwillingness to change, a fixation with the status quo that belongs to yester-year.

Some of the quotes ascribed to the "disgruntled urban technology director" include the following:

  • "Instead of being strategic about personal mobile devices and managing them, we just don't allow them."
  • "It's crazy to build up [server] infrastructure in-house," says the disgruntled urban IT director. "The cloud happens so much faster, and the district would get more storage space."
  • As for network challenges, some districts have opted to keep tight, across-the-board access controls for teachers and students with blanket filters that prevent teachers from downloading class materials from the Internet. Some IT Departments want to lock out bandwidth-hogging video and audio files, forcing teachers to wait several weeks for authorization, and, in the process, missing the teachable moment.
  • There are also districts that deny teachers storage on the network or access to cloud storage. The restricts can create a digital divide, keeping teachers from forming professional learning networks and sometimes even depriving them of what they need to do their jobs. 
Which words best represent YOUR reality? That of Gras, Floyd and Zaointz, as well as others quoted by name in the article, or that of the "disgruntled urban technology director?"



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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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