When Panama-Buena Vista Unified School District’s new superintendent made the bold declaration – “We’re going 1-to-1. And we’re going big with 6,000 laptops to be distributed to students.” – the three educational technology staff members faced some big challenges.
To find a workable solution, staff members at the district consulted their hosting and CMS provider Schoolwires.
“Teachers teach in isolation. They want to learn from their peers and view each other in action," said Brad Grumbles, the district’s Coordinator of Curriculum, Assessment, and Instructional Technology. "But it costs money to hire substitutes so that teachers can be out of their classes observing others. We needed a solution that would provide the opportunity for teachers to virtually visit their peer’s classrooms.”
The Teachers’ Lounge was rolled out the fall of the 2014/2015 school year. The educational technology team of Brad Grumbles, Steve Johnson, and Kathy Smith developed the website that provides curriculum links, instructional videos, shortcuts to third-party systems, district assessment programs, on-boarding information for new teachers, contact with support, and instant access to an online chat. As a result, teachers are collaborating and crowd sourcing, with over 6,000 hits per month. The team estimates about 75% of the teachers use it on a regular basis.