James Batson lately acquired the Revolutionary Expertise Director Award at Tech & Studying’s current at Tech & Studying’s Innovative Leader awards in Illinois for his work selling accessible know-how in Fenton Neighborhood Excessive Faculty District 100 in Illinois.
Batson, is an Ed.D and the director of know-how for the Illinois district in Bensenville, a suburb of Chicago. For Batson, being modern isn’t about discovering a silver bullet. “It’s not looking for that new shiny gadget and deploying it and hoping it does one thing,” he says. ”It is the way you thoughtfully and creatively use issues which can be obtainable to the fullest extent.”
Edtech Fairness: Supporting Inclusivity with Tech
Fenton Neighborhood Excessive Faculty District 100 is a majority minority and Title 1 district with greater than 50% of scholars qualifying for the Nationwide Faculty Lunch Program. Nevertheless, the college presents a variety of superior placement programs and was named the 2019 Nationwide AP District of the 12 months by the School Board.
Fairness is on the core of each initiative the district implements, Batson says. Nevertheless, the district isn’t reinventing the wheel in the best way it helps all college students’ success. Applications embrace supplying each pupil with a 2-in-1 Chromebook (a tool that may act as a pill or laptop computer), offering scorching spots and tech restore, giving purposeful tech to lecturers and workers, and ensuring this tech is used successfully.
“Generally I believe, ‘Are we actually doing something totally different from different colleges/districts?’” Batson says. “I hold coming again to it isn’t essentially ‘what’ we’re doing however the ‘how’ and ‘why’ we’re doing what we do. For instance, many colleges have Chromebooks, however are they actually supporting the scholars to make use of these creatively, recording their music efficiency, making a podcast, enhancing a video for a category mission, and many others.? Are these different colleges supporting the lecturers in a manner that they will creatively leverage new instruments to reinforce the educational?”
Measuring Extra Than Check Scores
The district additionally has a lot of dashboards that present actionable knowledge on pupil efficiency and different metrics. As soon as once more, Batson stresses using know-how isn’t just a gimmick. “It’s necessary to not simply give lip service,” he says. “Lots of people discuss, ‘We put up a dashboard,’ however in the event you’re not utilizing these instruments, it would not matter.”
Batson and different leaders within the district imagine pupil progress is crucial metric. “We’re trying on the greater image, placing all these items collectively to essentially deal with the wants of the person pupil to ensure that they get the alternatives they should enhance,” he says. “It is all about pupil progress. We’re much less involved about having an ideal rating in your SAT as a junior, and extra involved that that child that takes that SAT has grown.”
Batson studied laptop science as an undergraduate and spent the primary half of his profession working in IT within the trade. His spouse is a instructor, and he would volunteer at her faculty to assist arrange tech. He realized he had a ardour for making know-how extra accessible to college students and in the end made his manner into the world of schooling, first part-time as an adjunct professor and later full-time in Okay-12. Alongside the best way, he studied enterprise management for his grasp’s and earned a doctorate in schooling.
“It is necessary to by no means cease studying,” Batson says. “It is also necessary as a pacesetter to essentially determine a solution to step again and take a look at the massive image, and the way what you do suits into that.”
Along with his work at Fenton Excessive Faculty District 100, Batson serves on the college board for Neighborhood Excessive Faculty District 128 in Lake County, Illinois. Whereas this district is much less various on the floor, he says being concerned with it has taught him how fairness is necessary in each district. “You stroll in a number of the buildings the place I am on the board, and you do not see that range. It is not apparent in your face, but it surely’s there, and it is necessary,” he says. “Whether or not it is a particular wants pupil, or it is anyone that is struggling financially, or it is anyone that is struggling emotionally, or it is anyone that is struggling due to their gender id.”
Batson is captivated with serving to these college students obtain. “No matter I can do from a know-how perspective to assist break down these limitations and assist give all these college students the assist they should maximize their potential, that is what I’ll do,” he says.