4 ways that better edtech management empowered our district

Billings Public Schools is the largest school district in Montana, supporting more than 16,800 students across 33 schools. With the support of technology levies, we have invested $1 million into new technology for both the high school and elementary levels.

Over time, Billings Public Schools accumulated a complex assortment of devices, including 16,000 Chromebooks, 7,000 Apple iPads, 3,000 Macs, and 2,000 Windows devices. These devices are used to support a STEM program that is leveraged by every student at every school. However, as the number and complexity of devices increased, the number of IT personnel to support those devices remained the same, decreasing our ability to effectively leverage this new technology.

Improving our edtech management

As we began investing year-over-year in our technology, it became increasingly difficult to measure the effectiveness of technology on any level. Although we believed we had a comprehensive enterprise management platform for managing our Apple and Windows devices, we often were forced to use workarounds that required us to manually touch each device, resulting in unmanaged devices. Struggling with increasing costs and decreasing service levels, we decided to reassess our approach to technology integration.…Read More

Are your edtech tools really working?

Elkin City Schools (ECS) is my home. It’s a small district, located near the North Carolina border, with three schools and about 1,200 students. It’s a small, tight-knit community full of passionate leaders, dedicated teachers, and inspired learners. We rank considerably well in the state almost entirely across the board. We’re ranked 7th or better for ELA in grades 3-7. We’re also 10th in the state for ACT scores, 12th for high school math, 8th for English II instruction, and we’re 3rd in the state for biology.

As a small district, we’re proud to be recognized among the top academic school systems in North Carolina. Despite our strong academic standing within the state, however, we know there’s always room for growth. At the end of the day, we want to be number 1 in all areas. Attaining this goal comes down to two factors: 1) the people we have in place that deliver the instruction and 2) the apps and tools they’re using to differentiate lessons and embrace our support of the whole child.

I believe ECS’s teachers are one of our greatest assets. But determining if we’re using the best piece of technology for every student in every instance has often been a challenge.…Read More