CIO Profile: Kyle Berger
Name : Kyle Berger
Age : 33
Title : Executive director of
technology, since 2004
District : Alvarado (TX)
Independent School District
Tell us some of your big-picture tech
goals for the year.
One is an advancement in technology
interface with special-needs children.
I feel that within the coming months,
what we are able to do with this technology
will be exciting news for others
to use in their districts. We are developing
applications to push content to
students and stakeholders where they
are, 24/7, mainly in the mobile platforms
preparing us for BYOD [bring
your own device].
More advancements in virtualdesktop
environment will allow us to
expand the lifelines of district devices but
also prepare us for the BYOD evolution.
We want to make our district more
data driven and be able to present
needed data in simple forms to all parties
Which tech accomplishment are you
most proud of?
The one-to-one movement in grades
four through eight is one that I am proud
of, because it shows that the district
values technology in the classroom and
because so many people came together
to make it happen. Our community-outreach
program providing free Internet
access is another one that I enjoy,
because it turned out to be a completely
self-funded initiative that has reached out to our community to provide needed
access. On the technical side, I am proud
of our award-winning disaster-recovery
initiative, which connects schools across
the country with disaster-recovery ability
free, and our streamlined automated business
process, which makes overall
user and program management a nonissue
because of advanced identity management
Are you planning to let students
BYOD? If so, when?
We are looking at the BYOD game plan
for our district. With us already having a
large one-to-one deployment in grades
four through eight, the need for one-toone
computing at other levels is apparent.
Our overall thinking is that we standardize
on district-owned devices in
the lower grades (possibly up to eighth
grade); at that point we want to let the
technology become more personal to
the user but also beneficial in the education
as well. So BYOD is targeted to
our high school students. We are looking
at pilot rollouts within the next nine
months for phase one.
Several factors have led to a slower
adoption of BYOD for our district. One
is the potential classroom difficulty with
a mixed population of devices to teach
to and the impact on instruction. Mainly
we want to ensure that the tools are not
a distraction in our educational environment.
A have-and-have-not situation
among our students is also a factor.
The main thing driving us to this is, of
course, funding, as we are being hit with
dramatic decreases each year.
Traditional or online textbooks?
Our district already has a large collection
of e-books. We are moving toward more
textbooks online, as we have found the
content to be better and more appealing
to our students. I believe that no
matter what advancements take place,
there will always still be some need for
traditional books in education. We still
have traditional books in our library.
Can your students and/or teachers
use Facebook, MySpace, and similar
Web 2.0 tools?
At this point, Facebook and MySpace
are limited internally for students. We
are constantly evaluating these tools
but moving a bit slower on those sites
because of an increase in cyberbullying.
However, the district and campus locations
do have a presence on Facebook
and use it often to communicate.
Besides these two sites, we are open to
other Web 2.0 tools, like blogging and
podcasting, for students and teachers.
Professional development: face-toface,
online, or blended?
In my opinion, blended is the key. The
need in some instances for face-to-face
is apparent, but online is valuable for
just-in-time learning and refresher-based
learning for end users and professionals.
What are some of your guilty pleasures?
I work too much!