Texas District Adopts Videoconferencing Tool for Teacher Training

Two years ago, Ector County Independent School District (ISD) set out to find a more affordable way to deliver professional development to staff throughout their large rural district in western Texas. With over 40 campuses spread across 906 square miles of Ector County, the district was looking for a solution that would cut down on travel costs related to teacher training. The district ultimately found a technology solution that fit their budget and worked on their existing network with SAFARI Montage Live-5! (SML5), an interactive videoconferencing tool that has allowed the district to continue to offer live PD without losing the interaction of face-to-face training.

“Ector County ISD campuses are geographically spread out, and we really needed a way to save people’s time and cut back on travel-related costs for PD,” said Damon Jackson, Chief Technology Officer, Ector County ISD. “After reviewing other products, SML5 stood out as the most cost-effective solution for our PD needs, with the added benefits of the Learning Object Repository and video content.”

Using SML5, Instructional Services provides teachers with a week of technology professional development every summer. The annual Back to School Technology Training via SML5 offers teachers the opportunity to attend sessions from home or from school at a time that fits their schedule. The district is also using the SAFARI Montage Learning Object Repository (LOR) to store recorded training sessions and documents for on-demand PD.

Following the success of SAFARI Montage for PD, the district added SAFARI Montage Core Content to their system in September 2012, providing Ector County ISD teachers and students with access to over 10,000 educational programs correlated to academic standards. Teachers and administrators can also upload their own digital content to the Learning Object Repository, then assign metadata such as grades and descriptions, add correlations and share with others throughout Ector Count ISD.