The Chesterfield County School Board met Tuesday afternoon to address how restructuring the school system’s Department of Technology could facilitate their vision of providing students in Chesterfield County Public Schools (CCPS) with support and training in a rapidly changing technological world.
Though the meeting stemmed from Superintendent Dr. Marcus J. Newsome’s recommendation to add an assistant director position to the department, the focus of the meeting was placed on the department’s vision to “provide anytime/anywhere access to quality instructional resources by carefully selecting ‘cloud-based’ core educational applications, and bolstering the CCPS network.”
This notion was expanded on by Dr. Adam Seldow, director of CCPS’ Department of Technology.
“Anywhere/anytime access is basically the notion of being able to take any device you have – a computer, a mobile phone – any kind of equipment out there and go to, what we understand today as, a website basically and get the information we need,” Seldow said.
The “cloud” in Seldow’s presentation illustrated the working relationship between the core educational applications – professional development, content, creation/collaboration tools, communication tools, ePortfolios and assessment – and the Learning Management System (LMS) accessed by various mobile devices.
In his presentation to board members, Seldow discussed how the CCPS integration of LMS, such as Blackboard, would extend the learning process to outside the physical classroom. For example, he emphasized that through LMS a teacher instructing five separate sections of the same subject could provide their students with access to numerous resources to assist in their competency of the overall subject matter.
He also said that teachers would be able to join professional learning communities and access all of their professional development materials through LMS as well.
As this type of supplementary learning could enable students to generate ePortfolios and have their work archived by any device, the only aspect lacking is a “robust bandwidth,” he said, or the working capacity of the network to involve thousands of people simultaneously.
“We’re moving to a point where we’ll have kids using digital textbooks, kids using these mobile devices that you see,” said Dr. Newsome. “And we don’t have the bandwidth for all of them to be online using them at the same time.”
According to Seldow, CCPS is currently reaching out to local companies that have the capacity to do that for them. Dianne Pettitt, chairwoman of the board, asked him if they could afford it.
“I would even say that we can’t afford not to do this,” responded Dr. Newsome.
Thinking long-term, David Wyman, board member from the Dale district, likes the idea of it all. “It really comes together on multiple platforms,” said Wyman. “I think just this kind of model is, in my mind, so much more efficient than maybe what we’ve been dealing with for the last 20 years or so.”
For more information regarding Chesterfield County Public Schools, contact the school system’s Community Relations office at 768-4383.