This survey was conducted with Mrs.Tench, the district’s technology director, and covers topics addressing the ISTE standards for coaches. Thank you so much to Mrs.Tench for her time.
The first series of questions addressed topic 7a: Inspire and encourage educators and students to use technology for civic engagement and to address challenges to improve their communities.
Technology is being used in our school district to bridge the gap between our physical schools. Using programs like Zoom and Google Classroom, we can offer diverse course options for our students, especially at smaller schools with only one or two staff members. Through our digital class offerings, students can take foreign languages or high-level science courses from other staff in our district synchronously.
Students are also using technology to provide the community with information about what’s happening in the classrooms. We plan to create more student broadcasting opportunities, but even now, we have students creating social media posts using school-branded accounts. The district is investing in physical devices that will support these types of efforts, such as live streaming audio-visual equipment, and the software that will make these devices effective and professional, like video switching software.
An area of growth for this is how materials, staff training, and resources are shared around the district. A few resources and programs are only available at our largest site currently. A note for this is that our staff at our smaller sites fill multiple roles and may need more course content variety or a larger student base to require all the equipment in use at our largest location. Providing them with the materials will not necessarily make things more equitable.
The second series of questions addressed topic 7b: Partner with educators, leaders, students, and families to foster a culture of respectful online interactions and a healthy balance in their use of technology.
The technology department guides this through the technology handbook (2019) and suggestions to and from the school board policies (2022). These policies and the handbook are up for review this year, so this topic is actively in flux. We are working hard on updating these sections within the school board policy. We hope the changes will provide more explicit suggestions for our students, staff, and families regarding healthy habits and digital citizenship.
The third series of questions addressed topic 7c: Support educators and students to critically examine the sources of online media and identify underlying assumptions.
The school district supplies teachers with many tools for working with students on developing digital literacy from apps like Newsela and SLED, which provide great libraries of credible sources, to staff development on the selection of high-quality texts for students, to student-facing instruction specifically on digital literacy in K-8 technology classes.
Some work remains on ensuring that our high school students, and our students in the smaller schools, are also receiving direct instruction on digital literacy. Many digital literacy skills are addressed in core content education. ELA, History, and Science all address reading in the content areas with standards specifically looking at evaluating sources for credibility and bias, but no specific “digital literacy” courses are available at this time.
The final questions addressed topic 7d: Empower educators, leaders, and students to make informed decisions to protect their personal data and curate the digital profile they intend to reflect.
The district has used KnowB4 for a year to provide phishing testing and training for all staff. Two-factor authentication is also required for all Student Information, Financial, and Human Resources Systems. We also have two-factor authentication turned on for Google accounts which are the primary accounts and documents used by staff and students.
Similar to the response for 7. b, the district is reviewing our digital safety documentation within our board policy and technology handbooks this year. We look forward to providing updated guidance on these topics as well.
For creating a positive digital profile, as mentioned in the response for 7. a, the district is working on co-creating the Denali Learning Model as a brand on social media with the help of students. This practice will provide real-time examples to students of curating a social media presence and get them to practice respecting other students’ privacy and wishes.
Denali Borough School District. (2019). “Technology Handbook”. https://www.dbsd.org/files/user/1/file/Technology_Handbook(1).pdf
Denali Borough School District Board Policy, BP 3523, Business and Non-Instructional Operations, Employee Use of District Information Technology. (2022). http://denalibp.wp.iescentral.com/board-policy/?parent=1347&child=1460
International Society for Technology in Education. (2020). ISTE standards: Coaches. ISTE. https://www.iste.org/standards/iste-standards-for-coaches