1. What were the needs / vision in your district before it decided to implement an online learning platform?
The goal was relatively simple. We were looking for a system to help us with curriculum and instructional content management, improved communication and collaboration, and online professional development. In addition parent access and communication was a key and we thought a web presence for all teachers was important.
2. How have the needs of your district changed since the implementation? Do you find you have different uses for a solution such as Blackboard within your district now?
Blackboard in our district was very viral. Although we had a good overarching plan/shell things happened as they happened. The proliferation of collaborative communities was interesting with almost 400 organizations in year one and now over 700. Although many things are changing around us, I think two keys are mobility and more importantly personal mobile devices of students. We are working to address these items and leverage them to impact learning.
3. How many additional users have you added since the initial implementation and why?
We have added 35,000 plus users. We have gone K-14 and I think this makes us somewhat unique. The why is that we know this is the future and we need to get ahead of the curve. See Sara Blackboard video for evidence.
4. What do you believe are the core benefits of Blackboard for your district's educational community?
Collaboration, communication and getting us started in thinking about us as a virtual community,
5. Jesse spoke of a replicable, scalable and sustainable learning environment. Could you address how your district is addressing these goals?
This is a challenge. I think the future of sustainability lies in student oriented architecture. What I mean by this is it is all about the connection and not the hardware. Blackboard is a medium for us to thinking about virtual desktops and how we make home and school seamless. The challenge is the financial piece, but also the complete paradigm shift in what it takes as a school district to get the right infrastructure in place. It's not magic to make this stuff work, it takes a strong infrastructure.
6. Terry spoke of "Learning Architecture" in the top of hardware. How is your district using resources to create and develop this "Learning Architecture?"
I think we are moving on a paradigm from computer lab teachers to technology integrators to technology coaches. We are getting to a place where we can begin to make systemic pedagogical change. That is what will impact the students. Sometimes we are there and sometimes we aren't.
The fun part is in the journey and it continues...