Personalized Learning Intiative l CoSN with Millard School District

Personalized Learning Initiative l CoSN U.S.

July 23 - August 5, 2017 

Delta, Utah, United States

The Need? In a society in which we are defined by access to information and what we earn is what we learn, people without access to technology are going to be left in the digital dark ages. The United States is experiencing an increasing “digital divide,” where half of the lowest median incomes don’t have access to internet at home.

Specifically, in the Millard School District in Delta, Utah, there are insufficient funds to hire experts to help the school district design and implement a 1:1 Chromebook deployment for its 3,000 K – grade 12 students. There is a low population density of two people per square mile, and some students spend two hours each way traveling to school. The vision of the Millard School District is to provide resources to help their students succeed in college, career, and life, and provide them with equal opportunities as other students living in a non-rural environment. 

Our Goal: The Good Gigs team from the VMware Foundation teamed up with the following partners to develop a sustainable personalized learning intiative for the Millard School District, located in Delta, Utah. The project partners were:

- Consortium of School Networking (CoSN), the leading national professional association dedicated to education technology leaders,

- Southwest Educational Development Center (SEDC), a regional organization that provides educational technology and training services to school districts,

- Utah Education Telehealth Network (UETN), which provides broadband services to schools in Utah,

- Canvas, a learning management system that is used with most colleges in Utah. 

The VMware team in collaboration with all the partners focused on the following three areas:

- Technology – With the help of Dell's donation, the team helped upgrade the Millard School District servers to support the 3,000 Chromebooks, which will be given to each of their student over the course of the next year. The infrastructure upgrade included installing 8 new cutting-edge DELL servers, 3 new 10 Gbit Dell switches, and providing 3 year vSAN licenses, which allows for a total of 93TB of storage for the school district to use. This new infrastructure upgrade enables increased security, improved hardware utilization, more robust disaster recovery, and redundancy. 

- Teacher Workshops – The VMware team, alongside with experts from CoSN, SEDC, and Canvas, led engaging workshops on building a vision for implementing a personalized learning initiative, hands-on workshop on Google applications and how to integrate them into the classroom, in-depth training on Canvas, and personalized workshops for different relevant software. The teachers loved how relevant the workshops were for their needs, where an arts teacher said, "I typically don't walk away with anything that I can apply to my classes but this workshop was different and I bought the software immediately after learning about it." Another language arts teacher said, "this is the best way to kick start a new year because I have created all my spelling tests on Google Classroom which will save me so much time!" 

- Adoption – As the project developed, we recognized the importance of working with the Millard School District to design an adoption plan for its Personalized Learning Intitiative. This included providing branding for the initiative that included a name, tagline, and logo. The VMware team also led two working sessions where they worked with the Technology Development Leader to plan out how to continue supporting professional development on technology, and how to effectively communicate about the success stories to the community on the initiative. 

Lastly, the team also led a fun career day workshop where 50 students from Grades 1 - 12 attended. The workshop included hearing from more than a dozen technology professionals about their career paths. Hands-on activities included: 1.5 hour coding workshop, building game with Scratch, interview skills, sharing career aspirations, logo design, and identifying strengths with VIA Strengths survey

Overall, the project was a huge success where their technology infrastructure has improved, and Millard School District is one of the first datacenters in the world to run VMware's newest software. 100 out of 160 teachers at the school district attended one or more of the workshops, the initiative has a powerful brand with a clear communications strategy and council, and the teachers have gained valuable training and will continue on with their professional development. 

 


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