Ohio is a Future Ready state and is committed to ensuring that every student has a "rigorous, personalized learning environment filled with caring adults" (Ohio Department of Education). According to their website, Ohio Future Ready believes that students should own their learning, and that districts can maximize student learning with the alignment of technology and instructional goals. In their partnership with the Washington DC-based Alliance for Excellent Education, the Ohio Department of Education offers the Future Ready Framework, an interactive planning dashboard to help districts see the vision of, plan for, and build in personalized learning. When student learning is personalized, learners have the opportunity to develop skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, effective communication, and metacognition.
INFOhio and the Management Council support personalized learning and encourage districts to pursue the Future Ready Ohio vision. The Are You Ready? blog series will help school and district leaders—superintendents, principals, tech integration specialists and coaches, and teachers and librarians—identify the INFOhio resources, tools, content, and features that contribute to the Future Ready Framework. These posts serve to foster district alignment with the goals established by the framework's assessments and guidelines. Each post in the series will address how INFOhio supports student learning by explaining how our content aligns with and supports the individual gears of the framework: Collaborative Leadership, Budget & Resources, Use of Space & Time, Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment, Robust Infrastructure, Data & Privacy, Community Partnerships, and Personalized Professional Learning.
Today's learners need strong, fast connections and devices to support the technology-fueled outcomes of 21st century instruction. Building a strong infrastructure within a school district—one with reliable and always available internet, devices, and a plan to ensure the certainty of these elements—is necessary for creating students who are Future Ready. A robust infrastructure in the Future Ready Framework is supported by these elements:
INFOhio supports these elements by providing services and resources that can help schools plan for efficiency, accountability, and competency in their support of digital, personalized learning. As districts and school leaders complete the Robust Infrastructure Self-Assessment for this gear of the framework, keep in mind how INFOhio can help schools effectively use technology as part of a comprehensive educational strategy.
Robust Network Infrastructure
INFOhio's "why" is all about student learning. Before setting up a complex, organized plan for infrastructure, consider watching Simon Sinek's Ted Talk on starting with "why." Decide with your team why Future Ready is important. Decide why using technology is necessary, and why it's not all about the technology. Once you have your "why" defined, then talk more about the plan for a robust network infrastructure. Without a "why," even your best laid plans for creating Future Ready students and learners could look like a classroom full of 1:1 laptops with students sitting in rows completing online worksheets.
If you have a "why," think about what supports it. Bandwidth is important, but having a governance structure in place that outlines policies, rules, procedures, and protocols is just as essential for success. Consider using Open Space, powered by INFOhio, as a platform for building and sharing your district technology plan. Open Space, INFOhio’s newest Open Educational Resource (OER) platform, supports educator collaboration and OER content creation. Learn more about how to use Open Space to create and collaborate by watching this Learn With INFOhio Webinar.
Adequacy of Devices; Quality and Availability
Acquiring devices and providing them for students and staff is an important next step once the district plan is in place. Inventorying those devices, rolling them out, and maintaining them is a key part of a robust infrastructure. Decide what system you will use to help make this process smooth and seamless. Schools that use INFOhio for their school library automation already have a system in place. Devices can be catalogued using INFOhio's Integrated Library System. This system allows districts to inventory, track, and record maintenance done for any device. Not sure where to start? Contact the INFOhio Provider at your ITC for more information.
Adequate and Responsive Support
Providing fast and easy fixes for technical and user errors is a key part of a robust infrastructure. Many districts create a learning experience from this element, training both staff and students to diagnose and correct problems with devices, software, and content. For more information on how to help your district build a robust infrastructure where support is delivered by stakeholders, read this blog post from Cult of Pedagogy: How To Plan Outstanding Tech Training for Your Teachers.
Formal Cycle for Review and Replacement
As districts consider the right device, it is important to think about the life cycle of the device, its compatibility with the district's needs, and whether the budget supports replacement and repair costs. The rise of online assessments will play a large part in a district's needs. INFOhio can help you in your decision making and in your planning. Tech Skills for Online Testing provides information on the requirements for online tests such as AIR, giving details on specifics for devices, operating systems, and other features. In addition, districts that seek to be Future Ready will find helpful resources for students to practice the necessary skills of online learning and assessments. Use the resource when planning to think about iPads and touchscreens versus laptops, for example.
Are You Ready?
Continue your Future Ready self-assessment using each of the blog posts aligned with the Future Ready Framework. Share how #INFOhioWorks for your district or school's Future Ready plan on social media. Tweet and post your #FutureReadyOH accomplishments!