Education Insights

Education news, trends, and highlights by Anthony Salcito, Vice President, Worldwide Education, Microsoft

New technology for back to school in Ocala, Florida

New technology for back to school in Ocala, Florida

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I was in Ocala, Florida recently to talk to about 500 teachers and administrators about how they can incorporate technology into their classrooms as they prepare for the upcoming school year and learn about new technology the district is rolling out.  This Technology Day for Marion County Public Schools happened to take place at the first U.S. high school to deploy Live@edu...Lake Weir High School.

It was very interesting to see how Live@edu fits into not only Principal Saunders vision for the school, but how Scott Hansen, who is the IT director, is really taking technology and thinking holistically about how Live@edu integrates with a broader transformation that's undergoing in Marion County. This video really does a good job of highlighting some of the things that Live@edu is being used for and some of the benefits that they've already seen from their Live@edu deployment.

After keynoting, I attended a couple of sessions, including one on how the district is deploying a Microsoft SharePoint site with Chancery to provide a learning management system to allow parents to see their kids’ grades, homework assignments, deadlines, etc.

I sat in a workshop with teachers, and it was great to see and hear the questions they were asking.  The teachers wanted to learn more about provisioning rights…all the details, like who's the primary caregiver, how do the rights extend, how does the person get the rights, if there's a parent who's taking care of a kid in a school for a time or parents are on leave or something, how do you transfer the rights…all these different questions about the implementation and you quickly come to realize there's a whole range of considerations around privacy concerns and issues that schools have to deal with.

It was really good for me to get a chance to see not only the way in which Marion County is addressing those concerns and providing guidance and training for teachers, but understanding the range of issues and questions that come from teachers.

What new technology are you rolling out in this school year and how do you think it will make impact?

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