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Big news in my world this week. Starting on July 1st I will be changing school districts to become the Chief Technology Officer in the Osseo Area Schools. It’s a really exciting opportunity to work in a large metro district (22,000 students in 31 schools) with a great leadership team and a history of innovation with technology. Check out the TICT Initiative for an example of a successful teacher coaching model. (I blogged about TICT at the 2006 TIES Conference.)

One of my first tasks will be merging the existing Technology Management and Instructional Media & Technology departments into a new Technology Division. It’s going to be a wild ride!

Mary Klauck, Amy Kretsch, Darrell Olson
Osseo Area Schools

Osseo has started an innovative program called the TICT Initiative (Technology Integration Collaborative Teachers). The presenters are using some really cool technology in their presentation. They’re using a Smartboard and Google Earth to take us on an aerial view of their district. They’re drawing on top of the Google Earth map with the Smartboard.

The TICT mission: Empowering a cadre of teachers who seamlessly integrate technology with District 270 curriculum to create a more interactive, student-centered, and visually engaging classroom to ensure learner success. The TICT initiative includes coaching and collaboration between the TICT teachers and the teachers who comprise the cadre, professional development, and technology hardware including an LCD projector, cart, and wireless keyboard/mouse. Math teachers also get a document camera.

The program is designed with a one-computer classroom model. The teacher’s computer becomes an instructional tool instead of merely and data entry terminal. The wireless keyboard and mouse can be passed around the room to promote interactivity. The presenters say that this approach promotes cooperative learning, focuses on existing curriculum, and engages multiple intelligences. I’m not familiar with the “one-computer classroom model.” I’ll have to see what that’s about. Doesn’t it seem like that’s a step back from 1-to-1? It’s about 30× cheaper of course.

About 180 teachers have participated in TICT cadres so far. Ninety more teachers will be added next year in Cadre III. Each cadre member has to fulfill certain requirements. There is a ton more information at the TICT webpage.

Some of the software tools the TICT program provides are Inspiration, InspireData, Atomic Learning, and United Streaming.

What’s the key technology at work here? It’s the LCD projectors. Almost none of what the Osseo team is doing would be possible without the projector that each TICT cadre member has available. This is consistent with what I’ve heard from other teachers in other districts. Having a projector available all day, every day enables all kinds of innovative instruction. I need to figure out how to make that happen in my district.