Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Fresh Look at Technology Refresh

Educators in Spring Branch ISD will have an opportunity to enrich their instruction as part of a system-wide technology refresh this semester.

This upgrade is part of SBISD’s commitment to providing the resources and tools necessary to assist educators in providing the best learning environments possible for all students.

What’s different about this update from previous years is that individual educators will utilize a Technology Integration Matrix to explore where they are in their use of technology in enhancing the student learning experience. This refresh is not campus specific. 

Educators will be able to select up to eight existing devices in their classroom to replace with new Chromebooks. Items eligible for replacement fall into the categories of classroom technology, technology purchased by the campus, and non-functioning devices. The new Chromebooks will replace out-of-life technology that’s been in use longer than originally planned. Participation in this refresh is optional, and training/self-assessment is required for advancement in the process.

What’s ‘fresh’ about this refresh? While all educators in SBISD will have the same refresh options, the rollout and implementation of this technology is based on a readiness model. Traditionally, a blanket of technology would be released on one standard timeline to all campuses.

This refresh does not focus on campuses but rather individual teachers. It’s also not a one-size-fits-all model. SBISD and its educators are taking the time to review need. Not all teachers are the same. Not all classrooms are the same. Each instructional model demands a unique array of learning, support, tools, and outcomes. It’s not just about having a new device; it’s about how that device is being used in the classroom to support student learning.

By using this model for the refresh, instructional technology leaders in the system hope to accomplish two key initiatives; removing old devices from campuses and raising awareness to shift instructional practices. The results? Effective utilization of technology resources and great learning outcomes for kids.

To kick start this refresh, Vanguard teachers will receive their new devices first.
The SBISD Vanguard is a professional support model that provides educators opportunities to grow, assume new responsibilities and lead innovation in their classroom while mentoring their peers at grade-level and across campuses. It is one of a range of professional learning community (PLCs) opportunities available to educators in SBISD.

Vanguard teachers are already sharing best practice and collaborating with their peers on how to build capacity and effectively integrate technology resources into a range of instructional strategies. These educators are models for blended instruction, and many are already leveraging technology to empower students in their learning.

SBISD is currently processing applications from educators for the Vanguard Cohort Year 2. Educators apply for a three-year team for Vanguard program participation. It’s estimated that member numbers will exceed 45 in the second year of this program. (Will link below as noted.)

•    Click here to learn more about SBISD’s Vanguard Program.
•    Click here to view Vanguard members talking about instruction.
•    Click here to listen to Vanguard Cohort Member Angela McNeil.

For information about SBISD’s Technology Refresh, the SBISD Vanguard Program, and other professional development opportunities in SBISD, educators are encouraged to contact Karen Justl at


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