As I near the completion of my master’s program, I also conclude my third school year as an Innovation, Curriculum, and Technology Specialist (ICATS) for Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC), the third largest school district in the State of Indiana. My position as an ICATS can best be described as a district level technology integration coach. I am not assigned to any one school, but I am responsible for supporting the 1:1 program, which provides netbooks to about 14,000 students in grades 6-12. My specific areas of responsibility include digital citizenship, training teachers how to effectively utilize the online curriculum we subscribe to such as Apex Learning and Atomic Learning, general high school support, and providing professional development activities. I am a member of the larger iTeam, which this year included four other ICATS like myself, eleven building level eLearning coaches, and the Director of eLearning. All iTeam members serve on various committees and projects to meet the needs of the district’s 38 schools, 1,496 educators and 22,649 students.
I also have two years experience as an eLearning coach in a 1:1 environment. While 2011-2012 is the EVSC’s first year with student netbooks in grades 6-8, it was the 2009-2010 school year when the 1:1 program initiated in high schools. In February 2009, the State Department of Education determined that school districts could rent parents computers in the same manner they had been renting textbooks for their student’s instructional use. This ruling put into action a plan to distribute netbooks to 7,200 students and their teachers at the start of the new school year. Since then, the EVSC has become a 1:1 leader in the state; however, despite our successes, we still have much to accomplish in terms of investing more teachers in envisioning the future of digital learning and preparing them to leverage the power of technology for their students.