Meeting Of The Minds

Highlights from Chicago Tech Forum’s superintendent lunch

At the recent Tech Forum in Chicago, seven area superintendents* gathered for an invitation-only luncheon to share their struggles and rewards in the pursuit of implementing tech at their schools. Some of the conversation highlights were:

¦ Feedback on one-to-one: There was no consensus on which hardware device would work best for a one-to-one program, but many liked a combination of laptops and tablets for teachers and netbooks for students.

¦ Several superintendents felt that students eventually would bring in their own, varied devices (smartphones, laptops, netbooks, etc.) and that current one-to-one programs open doors for teachers to begin teaching in a one-toone environment. Most believed that cloud-based content would be the ideal choice in this scenario.

¦ Network security: There was disagreement on whether to filter Web content, but most superintendents felt that students know how to get around most Internet filters and that the better security option is to teach them to use the Internet safely and to have an acceptable-use policy that includes social networking.

¦ Content: Most superintendents are looking for flexible content from vendors that can meet their specific needs rather than turnkey packages.

¦ Professional development: The superintendent from Avoca said that the district makes technology a priority and that it is no longer acceptable to think of PD as an add-on program. His school makes training mandatory for all teachers.

For more resources from Tech Forum, visit

*Steve Griesbach (Gower School District 62)
Steve Baule (CUSD 201)
Tom Leonard (Barrington 220 CUSD)
Mike Riggle (Glenbrook High Schools)
Nanciann Gatta (Niles Township)
Joe Porto (Avoca School District 37)
Kelly Kalinich (Kenilworth School District 38)

Top Tweets from Chicago Tech Forum

Learn about social networking in k-12 @

Open Source Desktop RSS reader for Mac. Don’t need a Google account to use this!

Open source we use: tux paint, open office, open office 4 kids, tux math.

Action must happen first before you can change beliefs. In too many districts, lack of action leads to a vacuum of vision.

Ask yourself, how can I change what I am doing 2 make positive change? Start small, take action, change behaviors, & take risks.

mobile devices, by 2011 50% of student computers will be mobile. (American Digital School, the Hayes Foundation)

Mandatory tech PD for every teacher— no option out anymore. Targeted & focus tech PD w/ focus on content & student outcomes

Administrator panel Put right tools in the right place at the right time. Go to meetings and not talk tech, talk education

The roundtable on handhelds alone made this day worth the drive (lunch was awesome too)

Learn more by following the new Tech Forum Twitter feed @tltechforum.