2008 November 19 Exec Summary

A planning session for AlleghenyConnect was held at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU)
on Wednesday, November 19, 2008. Participants included school district administrators,
teachers, and technology directors; AIU Board members and administrators; and,
community representatives, e.g., Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Science Center,
ASSET Science, World affairs Council of Pittsburgh, etc.
The long-range goal identified at the planning session was to:
“Develop an implementation plan for AlleghenyCONNECT.”
With the overall purpose of this session to:
“Walk away with 8 -10 activities AlleghenyCONNECT will focus on
for the next three years.”
The activities were identified via a consensus process summarized under three focus
areas. A multitude of other ideas were generated and listed in a non-priority category.
Focus Area One – ways to provide world-class connectivity to our educational system:
FocusArea Two – ways to encourage the shared application of technology:
Focus Area Three – ways to build stronger relationships with our community:
The activities clustered into eight category areas including:
Sharing content area experts through distance learning
Providing additional services to our local communities
Improving student collaboration
Communicate and demonstrate the benefits of regional network
Incorporate local business opportunities in our educational system
Develop and share rich content and professional development
Leverage resources through consortium purchasing
Ensure access and equity for user community
This is a graphical representation of the votes generated for the eight categories:
In the area of Content Area Expert & Distance Learning ideas included:
1. Extend classroom to gain world perspective, cultural experiences, and to provide
theory to real-world applications;
2. Develop unique partnerships with a college/university and/or a school internationally
to educate students and provide virtual field trips;
3. Connect experts with students for a learning experience from various parts of the
world, “cultural global connection”;
4. Provide virtual experiences (even 24/7) for students and teachers – field trips,
national experts, international experts – that are recorded and housed in a
repository for future use;
In the area of Community Services ideas included:
1. Extend and enhance shared online courses countywide and engage all
students, i.e., home schooled, cyber students, alternative education students,
special education students, to integrate from within the district population;
2. Identify and use community resources such as local heroes, local museums and art
programs to create unique virtual learning experiences;
3. Make distance learning opportunities available to the community through school
districts including the sharing of curriculum and instruction content for community
4. Develop a citizen portal to provide access to community assets such as
human and social services and other applicable resources;
5. Develop health and human services initiatives for the benefit of the community at
6. Support community learning centers to enable a 24/7 environment (more than one
location) (hybrid virtual brick and mortar) to accommodate multiple learning styles;
In the area of Student Collaboration ideas included:
1. Create a private social network – an “Academic MySpace”;
2. Restructure the school day and school year so that students and educators have
time to explore and collaborate;
3. Develop a website / SharePoint team site to list the offerings of AlleghenyConnect
and to encourage collaboration among members;
4. Create an electronic forum that collects information and encourages
collaboration, including model plans that use Web 2.0 tools;
In the area of Communicate and Demonstrate ideas included:
1. Communicate the opportunities and details of AlleghenyCONNECT to stakeholders
(media, public officials, Allegheny Conference) who promote our region, and to
stakeholders (universities/colleges, business, and foundations) who will partner and
participate with us to expand educational opportunities for our students;
2. Provide professional development for staff so they can effectively use the
resources of AlleghenyConnect which includes communication which can
only be accessed via a technology application;
3. Redefine the roles and responsibilities of the professional educator to support the
integration and application of 21st Century skills;
4. Develop communications plan selling benefits to stakeholder groups –
districts/administration (savings); teachers/unions (easy to use); industry (give back
to the world); parents; community resources;
In the area of Business/Career and Resource Sharing ideas included:
1. Create authentic learning experiences such as portfolio review, problem-solving,
videoconferencing, and partnerships with businesses to foster 21st Century skills;
2. Offer a clearinghouse of community resources; offer ways to share and
distribute information for schools (students and teachers);
3. Develop a means for schools to locate businesses to collaborate to provide richer
educational experiences, i.e., STEM, First Catalyst Connection, or local initiatives;
4. Assign students project-based activities to research companies of interest; build
relationships in that manner;
5. Provide teachers and students the opportunities to do virtual shadowing of
businesses related to their content as well as videos of other countries
6. Bring business resources to classroom, i.e., career awareness, mentoring, across
the county;
In the area of Content & Professional Development ideas included:
1. Develop a resource library of curricular materials, lesson plans, and documents used
for digital content
2. Create common/consortium-based policy / professional development courses that
are offered online and on demand;
3. Develop a cadre of master lessons/teachers who will serve as basis for ongoing
professional development such as peer coaching, content deepening, and integrated
In the area of Consortium Purchasing ideas included:
1. Use group purchasing power to share technology resources for better operational
efficiency and an enriched educational experience, i.e., virtual field trips, holograms,
videoconferencing, Destiny, Powerschool, Blackboard, etc.;
2. Develop leadership team (supportive oversight) that represents the entire
AlleghenyConnect community to promote the development and implementation of
high-quality applications;
3. Share cost of application software – business, HR, SIS, PIMS, including human
resources to develop and implement processes, community, Science Center, IHEs;
In the area of Access and Equity for users ideas included:
1. Ensure that all students in Allegheny County have ready access to
AlleghenyCONNECT in their classrooms;
2. Increase awareness of classroom teachers on how to access available resources;
3. Build an infrastructure to allow districts to provide students with state-of-theart, world-class hardware/technology software;
4. Establish relationships with vendors / providers that provide technology
hardware across all districts; equity in technology from district to district;
5. Provide students more purposeful learning by using the new technologies available
both in and out of school, i.e., such as the remote use of electronic microscope,
using cell phones to be connected 24/7;
Questions or comments about the AlleghenyCONNECT project may be directed to
Tim Devlin, Program Director at 412-394-4533 or [email protected]