Are you ready for the Future?

At the Sept 14th Board Meeting, U4 Director of Educational Technology Dave Hohman presented on “Future Ready“, a strategic planning exercise to enable “Anytime Anywhere Learners” (go through his presentation to learn more).

 

Mr. Hohman is casting his net in an effort to attract various representatives of the community (aka, stakeholders) – note the kick off meeting is this Thursday (October 8th):

We need YOU to shape the future of Unit 4 as we know it! Join the Future Ready Council–a new committee that will guide decision making around technology in Unit 4. Your involvement will help shape the way our students and faculty engage with technology on a daily basis, building 21st Century skills and furthering our goal for high academic achievement for all students.

The goals of the Champaign Unit 4 Future Ready Council are:

*   Use collective insight and expertise to serve as a technology steering committee for the district.

*   Serve as communication vehicle for U4 digital learning.

*   Provide final input decisions about district technology policy and implementation.

Our kick off meeting is October 8th, 4-6pm at the Centennial High School Library.  Subsequent meetings will be held on the second Thursday of every month. Light refreshments will be provided!

Please fill out this RSVP form [https://goo.gl/haerdh] to let us know you are coming!

 

[The October 8th meeting was recently posted on the Board’s U4 Board Corner blog]

 

In reading through Mr. Hohman’s presentation, I did develop some questions of my own. In general, I am curious how this will be influenced by CTRL-Shift and U4Innovate. Just to be clear, I really love the direction CTRL-Shift is going, so I am hoping there is a ton of influence. 🙂 Yet to be honest, I wonder about having a 1:1 laptop program that calls for replacing laptops every 4 years. I work with some of those devices when I volunteer in the classroom, and there are definitely drawbacks. I agree it would behoove us to provide equitable opportunities for all students to gain access to computing devices and new technology as they explore the world around them, but for me the focus should be allowing kids to be hungry to learn, whatever tool it is that is needed to get the job done.

 

I am sure we will discuss this more.

 

 

Reminder: CU4Tech Conference – Thursday at BTW

Unit 4 has officially changed the venue, so if you were planning to attend, it is at BTW. Don’t go to the other place, despite what the flyer says. 🙂

From Stephanie Stuart:

​Champaign Unit 4 School District’s Educational Technology Department will host the second annual CU4 Technology Conference this Thursday, August 7th  at Booker T. Washington STEM Academy from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The conference will feature 45 presenters with over 62 sessions that participants can chose to attend focused on technology in the classroom.

 

Media are invited to attend this event.

Please feel free to reach out to Educational Technology Director David Hohman (hohmanda@champaignschools.org) or our team of Educational Technology Coaches (u4itc@champaignschools.org.) ​

You can also visit the event website at the following link: bit.ly/cu4techcon14 [old venue listed here]

 

Unit 4 news article: http://www.champaignschools.org/news-room/article/8236

Cu4Tech weebly site: http://cu4tech.weebly.com/

Champaign Unit 4 Educational Technology Conference 2014

For those of you that dig the cross-section of Education and Technology (Educational Technology, aka EdTech), Stephanie Stuart sent out a notice for The Unit 4 CU EdTech Conference to be held in August. I find the whole thing fascinating – I gotta go look up what they did last year. 🙂

 

From Stephanie Stuart:

The Champaign Unit 4 Educational Technology Department is excited to announce the Champaign Unit 4 Educational Technology Conference 2014. Building from the success of our SMART Con last year, the CU4 Tech Con 2014 will focus on a wide variety of best practices in technology throughout education. Join educators from around the state in this low-cost, high energy learning and networking experience.

Highlights include:

  • Five session times allow you to customize a learning experience that allows you to personalize PD
  • Sessions created by educators, for educators and connected to national technology standards (ISTE Standards for Teachers and Students)
  • Over 60 sessions last year and even more expected this year – differentiated by grade level and content area
  • Topics incorporating a focus on common core and use of technology to improve instruction and assessment
  • Time to reflect, network, and plan for the new school year

All the info can be found here:

 

For more information, please feel free to reach out to Educational Technology Director David Hohman or our team of Educational Technology Coaches, who are copied on this message.

Stephanie Stuart

Community Relations Coordinator

Champaign Unit #4 School District

217-531-0252

 

PS – Just a reminder; Dave Hohman and Matt Sly will be presenting on EdTech and Google App for Kids tomorrow (Thursday) at Carrie Busey for the PTA Council.

Questions and Answers

Over the past few weeks, I have sent several questions to the board and have received answers. Some of these questions came from looking at the board agenda for Feb 24th (those at the bottom dealing with Educational Technology), others came from me stumbling upon one thing or another. My thanks to the various district administration personnel that fielded the questions.

q

I am curious, what does Unit 4 do with Illinois Youth Survey (IYS) responses? This is more of a personal curiosity for me; I don’t think the IYS responses should be public, but I am curious how the response are used by the district and how they inform future decisions.

a

We are doing the Illinois Youth Survey this spring at both high schools. This will be the first time it has been administered in at least the past 3 years according the Joe and Greg. I believe Angela has asked the middle schools to do it as well but not sure. Once we get them the data will be used as part of the school improvement process and most likely will be an update to the board and leadership.

qIn the timeline provided by Codagami in their RFP response, they collected “user stories” by November 27th. Is Unit 4 at liberty to share those stories? Or can you provide some sense of what “users” have said? Will this information trickle down to the Choice Committee at some point?

a

The user stories are simply portions of the dialogue surrounding Codagami’s internal software development process.  There is no formal set of user stories, only informal notes taken by representatives of Codagami which are not in the District’s possession.  These stories are merely an internal tool for Codagami which allows them to arrive at the mockups and end functionality of the application.

qI have been looking through the RPC presentations (in the context of the Central site), and it is not clear to me that a Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) has been performed for the sites north of I-74. Curious, do you know if such analysis has been done for the new site? Can the results be shared? Read the rest of this entry »

Preview of Jan 28th board meeting

The Jan 28th board meeting agenda is up. [I still do not know how to deep-link it, but here is the URL for BoardDocs: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/champil/Board.nsf/public]

Looks like the new board members (former board members Arlene Blank and Phil Van Ness) will be sworn in right at 5:30 before executive session. Back in open session, one of the first items is:

Dr. Patrick Rice, Director of Field Services from the Illinois Association of School Boards will describe services and training options available to the Board.

That means almost absolutely nothing to me. I know that Board members are required by law to take various training (like OMA) and “How to be a Board Member”. Greg Novak has shared a humorous take on that in the past which I cannot repeat. 🙂

Dr. Wiegand will be introducing three somewhat new committees that formed as a result of the board retreats last year. The one I am part of, the Advocacy Committee, has a website (woohoo!!) and even a public-to-read email discussion list via google groups. I do not know much about the other two at all (Transitions?). What is very interesting to me is that the PDF they have on BoardDocs is a scanned copy of printed documents. Why? Why oh why oh why?!? You have to turn your computer left, right and upside down to read it. 🙂 I don’t get it. Plus, the document for the Advocacy Committee is posted on our website in a true pptx form, which means it is searchable.

Next is the very wordy “audit and reporting system for Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity” (AAEEO). There is a monstrous 162 page report you can look at if you so desire. About half the document is charts and graphs, the latter half being some kind of analysis I think. Wow. I kinda feel bad for whomever had to put that together (Ken?).

And Educational Updates. I actually enjoyed this section. 🙂 Back in October 2012 I spotted a brand-new Drupal website that Unit 4 was working on (and quickly locked down), so during David Hohman’s presentation, he is going to take some of the wrappers off. Exciting stuff. He stuffed it full of colorful pictures and a playful take so as to chip away at the boredom factor. 🙂 Also, he has a “wireless proposal” – I am wondering if we can get some local folks to look at that, and maybe even urge the administration to seriously considering local vendors over distant ones. What do you think? Would you spend 2% more on a local vendor just because they are local? 5%?

Next up Dr. Joe Davis has a couple slides about bids for the proposed renovation projects (Robeson $2.7mil and Bottenfield $7.1mill). I am going to give Dr. Davis a break this time around and pick on the architects just a little. One thing that concerns me is that it seems Canon (and others) are putting a ton of resources into procuring new work, but they are not following-up much on old work. For example, I have to go back to Carrie Busey (but I am sure other schools have issues as well); brand new school with a really cool pod design. The new construction (right now) costs $1.3mil and breaks the pod design, and the proposed addition (some $3.5mil?) further breaks the pod design. No talks about how to fix it. And not to mention the punch list of outstanding issues – however, I am pretty sure that onus is on the construction crew, right?

 

Last of the major stuff, Dr. Wiegand will be sharing “Committee appointments”, a subset listing of committees and which board members are serving on them.