Innovate to Educate Entry

Yuma Elementary School District ONE

Christa Fairman, Educational Technology Specialist

What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?

iTEAM KiDS Technology Ambassador Program. In the Fall of 2015, year two of the program, teachers stated the iTEAM KiDS had assisted them in the classroom when introducing a new app or technology concept to students, with learning a new app, managing devices, and/or troubleshooting. Seventy-five percent stated the program had increased their comfort with using the available technology in the classroom with students. By Spring of 2016 iTEAM KiDS were directly supporting teachers use of Apple TV, troubleshooting Promethean interactive whiteboard and ActivInspire software issues, and providing technology related professional development.

What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?

The first and foremost challenge was funding. We had this big wonderful idea that required money to fund the teacher power to implement. We began with taking an inventory of the grants in place at that time, how the iTEAM KiDS could support the individual grant goals, and partnering those grants to fund the iTEAM KiDS. In the Fall of 2014 Yuma School District ONE had a series of STEM grants and 21st Century Community Learning Center grants that could directly benefit from the implementation of the iTEAM KiDS Technology Ambassador Program. We partnered them up and hit the ground running.

What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:

Borrowing a phrase from Marcus Lemois, the three biggest components are people, product and process. People, students up through district administrators must see the value and support the initiative or it will fall flat.
Product, an Ed-tech initiative must fulfill a need. Ed-tech for the sake of Ed-tech is a lost effort for there is no cause.
Process, including infrastructure evaluation and maintenance, are key from development through implementation and sustainability in order to see positive results in student learning.

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