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How IT can help shape their district’s technology vision

By Bridget McCrea
May 6th, 2015

CTOs and their teams can give students the digital toolsets and support that they need to succeed now and in the future

IT-visionWhen he thinks back to 2010-2011, Pete Just, chief technology officer at the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indiana remembers how hard K-12 schools were pushing to integrate iPads into their classrooms. The race was on to put the devices into the hands of every student, regardless of the fact that the tablets were largely untested in the K-12 environment. “They said iPads were going to transform education,” recalls Just, “and I just didn’t think that was going to happen.”

A former teacher who taught high school science and media for 13 years, Just compares the iPad to the film projector—an innovation that at one point was touted as revolutionary for the classroom. In reality, he says the projector didn’t change or transform anything. “All it did was let students sit and watch something,” said Just. “It was a great tool to add to the classroom, but it didn’t do any transforming at all.”

Handing out iPads

Flash to 2015 and Just says uncertainty over the role that mobile devices and other tech tools actually play in the learning experience largely remains unknown. “We basically backed up a truck to the school, unloaded a bunch of skids, and handed out devices to students; but the devices themselves didn’t do anything,” said Just. “Along the way, we found out that successfully embedding digital learning is really about the instruction itself and it centers on the teacher.”

Next page: The evolving role of the CTO