Creative Problem Solving - David Knapp, Director of Technology and Innovation at Loveland City School District
Director of Technology and Innovation | Loveland City School District
David Knapp believes technology opens doors for students and teachers. He wants instructional technology at the Loveland City School District to be fun and exciting. Knapp’s path to directing technology and innovation in Loveland schools has not been through training in computer science or the application of technology in business but as an educator, starting as a ninth-grade science teacher in Hamilton City Schools.
With an aptitude and interest in technology, Knapp became a Technology in Learning Consultant at Hamilton Schools, helping teachers learn and use technology systems. “Districts are beginning to embrace the role of technology leadership emerging from different non-traditional IT backgrounds,” Knapp says.
In recent years, there has been a seismic shift in the place of technology in our schools. Once deployed mainly for a district’s administrative and financial functions – payroll, HR, purchasing and accounting – technology has moved into the classroom. Teachers and students are the end users of a school district’s technology.
The role of a school district’s technology director is increasingly important to student outcomes. One challenge is to determine if the district is really getting what it wants from its technology resources. What is the experience we want to create for our students and staff? How can technology resources and devices enhance the learning experience? The lack of standardization and the proliferation of educational technology products make the vetting and evaluation of resources challenging. Complicating this is the schedule compression that necessitates installation, testing and administrative set up of technology products before the start of the school year and the pressure to ready students for standardized testing that can begin before the last snow melts.
Among Knapp’s accomplishments in Loveland is reaching a 1-to-1 ratio of computer devices to students. This was accomplished over three years, as the district improved from a 16-to-1 ratio. Reaching this objective relied on creative problem solving, utilizing different student funded models and employing a well thought out “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy among others.
Although not without some bumps on the way, “The 1 to 1 model ‘has been a hit,” Knapp says. “We have accomplished all of our goals, putting technology in the classroom, creating a consistent model, putting a support strategy in place and making it easy for students and families to get access to the devices they need.”