Teachers In Charge of Technology Integration in Klein
When it comes to technology integration, teachers rule in Klein.
In 2001, administrators tasked teachers to come up with a plan for the district’s Technology Integration Program. A representative was chosen from each of the district’s 19 elementary schools. The group spent two-and-a-half days a week during a spring semester, researching brain-based learning and developing a plan for a model 21st century classroom.
“The superintendent and the associate superintendents and all the curriculum officers said this is your project. You go forth, there are no limitations, the sky is the limit,” said Dayna Hernandez, assistant principal at Krimmel Intermediate.
Designing a 21st Century Classroom to Serve Today’s Digital Natives
Klein’s desire to create a 21st century classroom arose from the understanding that the old classroom model no longer serves students who have grown up with the internet, cell phones and video games.
“To expect that we would continue to do school the same way that we’ve done school for the last 150 years, doesn’t seem as though it’s very relevant to the person we’re trying to serve,” said Justin Martindale, campus instructional technologist, Krimmel Intermediate.
Using the baseline standards developed by teachers, the district began rolling out four computers per class in elementary school classrooms, with the long-term goal of transforming learning through technology. Gradually, technology integration spread to all grade levels, most recently expanding to one-to-one computing at the high school level.
The decade-long effort of planning, implementation and constant improvement has required hard work, vision, commitment and a significant amount of money, according to Ann McMullan, executive director of educational technology for the Klein Independent School District. But the payoff has been has also been substantial, from academic improvement to the excitement and engagement that’s observable in the classroom.
There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not in awe when I walk into a classroom and see the magic teachers are creating, and see the power of the products students are creating,” said McMullan.
“You know we’re on the right path and we’re going to continue to get there.”
In the late 1990s, Klein applied successfully for Telecommunications and Infrastructure Fund (TIF) and Technology Integration in Education (TIE) grants. However, as grant requirements have changed, the district has not been qualified to apply for a major technology grant since 2005. Most recently, the major source for funding for initial technology purchases has been through bond funds. The district also utilizes eRate funding whenever possible. The eRate Program, administered by the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), provides discounted telecommunications services, such as Internet access, to public schools.