Microsoft's annual U.S. Public Sector CIO Summit always provides a great opportunity to connect with a broad range of education institutions as well as representatives from across the US in state and local government and Federal agencies. This year's event was no exception and I was incredibly pleased with the feedback and leadership demonstrated by those in attendance. Despite the mounting economic pressures and uncertainties, those joining us for a few days in Redmond, WA are embracing the mandate to improve learning outcomes with optimism…and a focus that, in many ways, has been sharpened by reduced resources.
Transform. Innovate. Lead. It was the core theme for the CIO Summit and an increasingly critical imperative for our schools as we face uncertain economic times and intense global competition. In many ways, the role of the CIO in education is rapidly evolving to optimize opportunities for innovation, leadership and drive smarter technology decisions with a balance on education outcomes, funding and long-term strategic direction.
During the summit many key themes surfaced...most reflecting the new environment created by the economy...cloud services, virtualization, impact on education analytics on learning outcomes, and 21st learning. I had an opportunity to sit and chat about many of these topics with Debbie Karcher, CIO for Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS), during the event and wanted to share a short video from our conversation.
Debbie supports an ever-expanding range of solutions across America’s 4th largest school district. I’ve worked closely with M-DCPS for the last several years, and have always been impressed with their clarity and consensus of vision and the urgency with which they approach their work. Under Debbie’s leadership, they have been working to modernize and overhaul the district using technology and data to help raise student achievement, establish equity and support students, teachers and staff.
In the video, Debbie shares her lessons learned from the journey to help transform Miami-Dade County Public Schools, as well as some fundamentals on USING DATA that I think reflects a lot of what I see around the country. In some ways the pivot on using education data parallels my argument on 1:1. On the 1:1 side, we spend far too much energy/time on acquisition of the device and not nearly enough time on bringing holistic reform to the classroom, curriculum, and assessment. With education analytics, schools spend lots of time building the robust and secure data center and developing rich visualizations of data…not nearly enough time is spent landing the data into everyday rhythm for teachers, students and parents. Data-driven decision making is powerful when it actually helps make decisions on content, student needs, areas of specialization, etc. As Debbie notes, overcoming teacher and parent hesitation to actively use the data M-DCPS is providing is not something to be ignored.
Debbie and the entire team at M-DCPS are doing some heroic work and their models and thinking are good resources for schools going down a similar path. Districts looking to 1) improve learning outcomes by supporting teachers with resources to quality instruction, 2) encourage routine student use of technology to support learning, and 3) provide parents with tools and data needed to help them more actively engage in the education process…should take a look at the Miami-Dade Public Schools solution, process, and outcomes.
More info on Miami-Dade County Public Schools work:
School website: http://www.dadeschools.net/
Project case study: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/casestudy.aspx?casestudyid=4000002944
Video case study: