With district technology guidelines built into the shopping experience, teachers can ensure they’re requesting technology on DonorsChoose that’s compatible with their district’s IT requirements.
Last school year, teachers created more than 32,000 classroom project requests for technology on DonorsChoose, seeking everything from laptops and tablets to e-readers, projectors, robots and more. While getting technology into the classroom is often the biggest hurdle, ensuring it works seamlessly with the other technology and IT systems at school can be another challenge. Mac or PC? Dell or Lenovo? What about Chromebooks? And tablets?
Many districts need teachers to use specific devices that are compatible with district-wide applications, licenses, and networks. To help teachers, district leaders, and IT administrators align on the right tech for their classrooms, DonorsChoose has introduced a new feature in the teacher shopping experience: district technology guidelines.
District leaders and IT administrators can now submit their technology guidelines to DonorsChoose to incorporate into the teacher project creation process. Once guidelines are uploaded, teachers shopping at technology vendors will see a message with the district’s recommended technology, as well as tech items or brands to avoid. Teachers have the option of clicking over to a more extensive district tech policy to be sure the items they’re requesting comply with district guidelines. Teachers will also see the the district recommendations in their final project cart.
As of July 2018, district guidelines are already available on DonorsChoose for teachers in the following districts:
- Atlanta Public Schools (Georgia)
- Barron Area Schools (Wisconsin)
- Boston Public Schools (Massachusetts)
- Elmore County Schools (Alabama)
- Gaston County and Guilford County Schools (North Carolina)
- Mesquite Independent School District (Texas)
- Moore Public Schools and Tulsa Independent School District (Oklahoma)
- Portland Schools (Oregon)
- Seattle Schools (Washington)
- West Ada Schools (Idaho)
- Worcester Public Schools (Massachusetts)
“Every district will be a little different in how they want to handle this,” said Mark Racine, Chief Information Officer of Boston Public Schools. “We try to stay platform-agnostic and love the idea of giving advice as to which devices will be the most successful for teachers in our district.”
“Educators and students benefit from the generous support of outside donors and the opportunity to integrate technology-based tools in the classroom,” said Guadalupe Guerrero, Superintendent of Portland Public Schools. “By clarifying upfront both the relevant district-level policies and system requirements of any hardware or software, new technologies can more seamlessly and effectively be introduced into the school environment to support excellent teaching and learning.”
Jody Brooks, an Atlanta teacher who has had 35 projects funded on DonorsChoose, including many for technology items, will be one of the thousands of teachers who will see these guidelines during the upcoming back-to-school season. She knows first-hand the power of getting the right technology for her students. “When my class gets technology funded, the world opens up and all of the answers to our questions get a little bit closer.”
District leaders and IT administrators can submit their technology guidelines via a brief form. The district guidelines feature will only be seen by teachers if their district administrators have submitted their recommendations to DonorsChoose.