Setting the stage for organic Chromebook adoption among teachers
The technology leaders at Wichita Falls ISD want teachers to love using technology to enable productive and efficient teaching and learning. That’s why Frank Murray, the district’s director of instructional technology, and Shad McGaha, the district’s CTO, spend significant time prepping and training staff and educators when new solutions arrive in the district. The goal isn’t to dictate what teachers and staff should use. Instead, it’s to showcase the value of the technology, helping teachers gain confidence using the technology in and out of the classroom.
“Back in 2014, we created a Learning With Technology Committee, which included teachers, admins, students, and community members – we designed a plan to present to the board what technology solutions we wanted to try,” Murray explains. “Our goals were to evaluate devices for potential district-wide use, and develop a plan for professional development and technical support. And our teacher goals were to create a culture of collaboration and communication between staff, students, and parents.”
The strategy that started in 2014 is carrying through 2021 and beyond. Many teachers have been working with Chromebooks since 2014, although Murray and McGaha limited initial Chromebook rollouts to teachers who received Educator Level 1 and Level 2 certification. In addition, principals at some schools used discretion to give a limited number of Chromebooks to teachers.
In early 2022, the district is delivering new Chromebooks to all teachers: about 400 Chromebooks to teachers who’ve never had them before, and 650 Chromebooks to teachers who’ve already used the devices. Murray and McGaha are confident that teachers who are new to Chromebooks will join their more experienced colleagues in seeing the value of using the devices to improve efficiency and productivity in every part of their workday.
“We’re always evaluating what teachers need,” McGaha says. “If teachers are living in Chrome browser, it certainly makes sense to just put Chromebooks in their hands.”