Our First Step

Hello world!  

We are excited for the opportunity to share our BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) journey with all of you!  To introduce ourselves, we are Robert Petitto and Cathernine Neumann, the PreK-5 and 6-12 (respectively) Instructional Technology Specialists for Valley View School District 365U in Romeoville, IL.  

For a bit of history, our district serves the educational needs of more than 17000 students in over 20 educational facilities across the Bolingbrook and Romeoville communities. Valley View School District 365U is one of Will County's largest employers, with more than 2000 full time employees.  

 Current barriers: 
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flickr photo by seantoyer

  • a large student population spread out over 23 buildings
  • non-existance of teacher PLNs
  • an outdated wireless infrastructure currently housing about 10 SSIDs
  • teacher and student laptops running Windows XP that have been known to take over 5-8 minutes to start up
  • an outdated SIS that doesn't always "play nice" with the other 15 teacher and student information systems
  • no social media policy for students and/or teachers to collaborate or share successes
  • heavy restrictions for teachers to customize their technology.
  • Restricted to IE7
  • Cannot mirror iPads
  • Cannot download software/apps
I'm sure you can only imagine the amount of work we have before us during our transition to BYOT.  Our greatest consideration and largest obstacle has always been the sheer size of out district. It's the principle reason we decided against adopting a true 1:1 program.  Not that a BYOT program is any less labor intensive, but with BYOT, we have the freedom to allocate funds into a more reliable infrastructure rather than into the devices themselves.  And let's face it, any classroom technology integration initiative should be purposed to foster student success.  With BYOT, students are free to bring in the device that they are most comfortable with!  

Speaking of success, here is a list of some recent successes:
  • K,1,5 classrooms have standardized technology resources including mounted projectors, SMART Boards, and document cameras
  • provided cloud access (Applications and Shared Drives) to select HS students
  • piloted HoverCam T3 and Neo3 devices to replace current document cameras
  • deployed carts of iPads and Chromebooks to select HS depts.
  • piloted iPads in select K-5 classrooms
  • deployed iPads to K-5 LMCs

and (in my humble opinion) one of our largest steps forward:
  • Upgraded wireless access points in one of our HSs
  • distributed an iPad and a Chromebook to 33 teachers at one of our elementary schools as part of our evaluation technology pilot
  • deployed a cart of iPads and a cart of Chromebooks to the LMC of the same elementary school
So, I'll make you a deal.  In exchange for our insight in starting, promoting and managing a BYOT program from scratch, provide us with your experience by commenting early and often here at 24/7/365U!

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