Technology at Verbum Dei has taken major steps in the last six months. With assistance from our Federal Government’s E-Rate program, the school was able to procure funding to pay for a large portion of our new wireless and switching networks. In addition, the school’s administrative data and server base achieved a much needed overhaul in 2016. Lastly – with benefactor assistance – a new security appliance was installed, protecting the school from today’s latest data threats. A sturdy and secure data infrastructure will enable our school to move forward with educational technology initiatives that best fit our unique blend and needs of our students.
Forecasting impactful Ed-Tech developments comes with some subtleties that are unique to Verbum Dei. Primarily, we’re looking to pilot a blended-learning initiative for the 2017-2018 school year with a vision to rollout the following year. With blending learning, we look to involve traditional classroom curriculum and lesson planning with online instruction, both in school and at home. Verbum Dei faces some upstream impedances; namely access to the internet at home on a consistent basis for some families. Last year, we surveyed our families and found that 10% of our families do not have internet at home. Although this seems daunting to tech initiatives, my gut feel is that the gap is closing. I sense that all of our families will have internet services accessible in home in the seeable future. And for those who may not, there are services and devices that can provide those families accessibility solutions on a case-by-case business. Lastly, we are contemplating plans to roll-out some form of a one-to-one device initiative in the next few years.
Of course, funding and sustaining these programs require Verbum Dei to derive solutions from various sources. It’s not without consideration that families may be asked to contribute to some form of a “tech fund” as many schools – both public and private – have adopted. We also will need to lean on deploying devices that have proven to be durable, as well as cost effective. Lastly, we always need to effectively leverage the ongoing assistance of our loving benefactors and donors. With this, we’ll ensure lasting, meaning directives that benefit our most valuable asset – our students