It is imperative that all educators lead, stimulate and support educational transformation through the development and use of technologies in an educational system committed to continuous improvement. Hawai`i's proposed initiatives will attempt to identify critical educational needs, connect pedagogical theory and practice to wider social issues, and encourage the sharing of ideas and expertise throughout our Department of Education and the community at large. These initiatives will call for better and more effective use of new and emerging technologies to prepare students for a future of constant change.
If we fail to utilize the potential of technology, we will sentence our students to an intellectual wasteland in the 21st century. Technologically speaking, we have expended our energies in learning to walk and we have taken small steps. It is time that we take a giant step into our technological future.
INTRODUCTION - Hawai`i: The State Education SystemHawai`i is the only state of the United States not located on the North American continent. The Hawai`ian Islands form and archipelago extending over a vast area of the Pacific Ocean with eight major islands: Hawai`i, Maui, Moloka`i, Oahu, Kauai, Ni`ihau, Lana`i and Kaho`olawe. Of these, Kaho`olawe is the only island not capable of sustained habitation. Eighty percent of the state's population live on Oahu, the third largest island of the Hawai`ian chain. As the home of 1,200,000 people, 190,000 of who are K-12 public school students, Hawai`i possess a wealth of talent and needs not unlike any other state. But there are unique characteristics which not only set Hawai`i apart from other states but have been important drivers in the state's technology development and expansion.
The constitution of the State of Hawai`i provides for the establishment of a statewide system of public schools, supported and controlled by a single board of education with power to formulate policy and to exercise control over the public school system through its executive officer, the Superintendent of Education. As a single statewide public school system with a single statewide board of education, the HDOE is both the state education agency (SEA) as well as the local educational agency (LEA). The Hawaii Educational Technology Plan (HETP) was completed August 1995 [see under Goals 2000 URL - http:// www.k12.hi.us/~atr/frames.html]. The HETP supports seven broad technology goals with a set of strategies for implementing each goal. These goals, summarized as follows, will be referred to in this narrative update:
The seven goals are supported by 32 specific implementation strategies, 56 benchmarks with related activities. The plan strategies are all designed to directly and indirectly build the capacity of the Hawaii Department of Education (HDOE), the Information Technology Centers (ITC), and schools to collaboratively fulfill the mission of providing universal access to the global village for Hawai`i's lifelong learners. More specifically, the plan is intended to contribute to increased opportunities for all students to engage in challenging and meaningful learning experiences.
A number of benchmarks, established with a time frame of completion by the year 2000, have been reached. This is the direct result of the support and collaborative partnerships established with existing resources that include higher education, business, professional organizations, military and the school communities.
The President's 4 pillars, 1-staff development, 2-hardware, 3-access & connectivity, and 4-content resources, identified in the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund are addressed in the HETP.
Hawai`i Department of Education (HDOE) recognizes that support resources for technology should be closely coordinated with or be part of those resources established for the overall educational program. Therefore, delivery of services to schools occurs through collaborative efforts of state and district offices. Current technology staff development initiatives include: Technology and Telecommunications for Teachers Program (T3), Hawai`i Educational Research Network (HERN), Technology Literacy Challenge Fund (TLCF) Train-the-trainers models (local school complex inservices), and Electronic School (Eschool) weekly cablevision and web-based courses.
Progress to date: In an attempt to address issues of Professional Development, HDOE has begun informal discussions with the University of Hawai`i College of Education regarding prerequisite technology literacy and methods courses for all incoming preservice teachers (HETP, p.38) In addition, a partnership with the University of Montana to use its On-line Academic Tool Kit is being negotiated.
T3 and TLCF continue to re-train in-service teachers as technology trainers. Both programs are being expanded into partnerships with local telecommunications companies (GTE Hawai`ian Tel, Oceanic Cable) to include training parents and communities. Two years ago, the Network Systems Services Branch (NSSB) of the Office of Information & Telecommunication HDOE created two 3-member "swat teams." These teams visit school sites and provide hands-on training to staff, parents and community on local area networking. This has accelerated the creation of mini-LANs throughout the state. One team is responsible for all five neighbor islands and the other team concentrates on the island of Oahu.
With the passing of Telecommunication Act of 1996, another opportunity has risen for all K-12 schools, public libraries and rural hospitals for total networking and connectivity. E-Rate is a way in which funding from telecommunication companies is gathered nationwide and schools apply for the funding. These funds are used to pay for direct services received for telecommunication services, networking and much more. Each school's discount is based on the school meal subsidy percentages.
Standards exist for the LAN, WAN, cabling hubs, routers, telephone systems and servers. Minimum standards continue to be developed to ensure interoperability. Hardware support issues have been reviewed and a variety of sources for support have been investigated. The HDOE continues to determine long-range technological needs for schools based on anticipated educational needs and objectives. The adoption and use of Lotus Notes software has enabled schools to participate in a statewide electronic system for the transfer of information between other schools, districts, and HDOE. Direct access to the Data Warehouse, and electronic storage, access and retrieval system which contains information on all aspects of public education in the state has been expanded to all Board of Education members and designated members in the state legislature.
Progress to date:
HDOE has established ad hoc committees to develop interoperability standards for hardware compatibility to guide the purchase of hardware for schools (i.e. servers, network equipment, etc.)
The HDOE Office of Information & Telecommunication Services (OITS) and the Office of Business Services (OBS) are working together to identify and prioritize school retrofitting projects that will be funded through an increased $17M Capitol Improvement Plan (CIP) budget in the next biennium (97-99).
The University of Hawai`i Board of Regents and Hawai`i Board of Education have created a joint biennium budget task force to identify and support legislation on technology and technology initiatives in both the HDOE and UH.
Lease-purchase computer RFPs are currently being finalized by HDOE and reviewed by procurement officials. This alternative to the purchase of workstations may increase the number of workstations secured at schools and address concerns about the technology becoming obsolete.
HDOE has identified three high schools that will serve as computer refurbishing sites. Computer equipment from local businesses and institutions are presently being recycled through these high schools. One thousand computers will be recycled this school year. In addition, HDOE has partnered with the Governor's Detwiler Project which takes used computers from local businesses that are then refurbished by the prisons and recycled back into the schools for free.
Access and Connectivity: For the past five years HDOE has actively pursued the development of state educational telecommunications networks that can interact with and take full advantage of the National Information Infrastructure (NII) and connect schools to the resources of their local communities.
Data networks: The HDOE has developed a Wide Area Network (WAN) that connects all 245 K-12 public schools and approximately 50 district and state offices. The HDOE is currently upgrading this WAN to high-bandwidth, fiber-optic connections where the state is building an Institutional Network. In addition, it is deploying Ethernet-over-Cable Access Television (CATV) networking through Oceanic Cable on Oahu. Some school sites are also being connected to the state's SONET. Public frame relay service (56-128 kb) is used for the schools on neighbor islands that do not have immediate access to CATV. The HDOE is negotiating with the other cable providers for CATV access on the neighbor islands. With the support of the E-RATE (Telecommunication Act of 1996) HDOE plans to have a minimum of 384 kb connectivity from schools on the neighbor islands. We are also experimenting with satellite data connections for remote sites on the Big Island where inbound is 56 kb and return-bound to the school is 3MB. Because these schools do not have cable access, we have begun using streaming video techniques to take video feeds from our educational programs on Channel 56 and stream programs over the internet to these schools; thus, eliminating reliance on cable companies.
Progress to date:
The HDOE has established standards for school Local Area Networks (LANs). 100% of all public schools currently have at least a mini-LAN installed and are connected to the WAN (Wide Area Network). 60% of all schools are networked to the classroom with 4-6 drops of voice video and data. All schools on the island of Kauai are LANed to the classroom and many more schools throughout the state are continuing completion on campus backbones and total school LANs. Major budget cuts to the HDOE biennium budget have downsized state and district offices significantly. In 1995 more than 400 positions were either abolished or deployed to school sites for direct services. Consequently, the use of technology to support administrative/management functions became even more critical. Lotus Notes software was selected to serve as the Intranet for all communication between school and the state offices. All schools were given Notes to communicate with HDOE, their respective district offices and other schools. Budget allocations that previously moved by hard copy to schools were quickly redone in electronic formats and sent to schools using Notes. Although there were many glitches in the procedure, schools were able to prepare budget expenditures from electronic allocations without much consequence. This also forced all offices and schools to quickly learn how to use both software and hardware in two months so as not to compromise summer purchasing schedules.
Hawai`i's Governor has recently proposed another technology initiative which promotes immediate telephone wiring to the classroom for all schools. The cost for this project is approximately $9M over the next eight years. Phase I began in December, 1996 where 102 schools (already with LANs built) received instruments to connect to their voice lines. This phase was completed in January 1997. The State of Hawai`i finally completed negotiations on a state telephone system agreement that will convert all state agency telephone lines from B-l lines to Selex; B-l line costs of $51.00 per instrument/per month will be reduced to $12.45 per instrument/per month.
Software and on-line resources have been reviewed for the past few years. A variety of sources, internal HDOE, University of Hawai`i and outsourcing have been investigated. However, HDOE must still determine the long-range technological needs for schools based on anticipated educational needs and objectives for the state. HDOE and its schools must also identify the desired level of technology resources for each classroom and assess the adequacy of existing equipment and facilities.
HDOE recently received a $4.7 M Challenge Grant that will be used for further expansion of its virtual K-12 school, "The Electronic School." Partial funding will be used to review software, on-line resources and emerging technologies by utilizing these in the ESCHOOL courses (web-based, on-air, multi-media supported) created and offered in coming semesters. ESCHOOL will offer 30 high school credit courses this fall, many of which are team-taught by University professors and high school teachers. HDOE recognizes that there is still much to be done in this area. The ESCHOOL Summer Institute scheduled each summer will provide teachers who wish to do research in software review, on-line resources, and emerging technologies an opportunity to present the concept to interested teacher teams, solicit teacher partners in the project and explain the timeline and benchmarks proposed for the coming school year. ESCHOOL has also expanded into many new initiatives that include: Cyberspace Entrepreneurs, Virtual View On-line magazine, Japan-USA Common Agenda Sister School Project, the Rapa Nui (Easter Island) Environmental/Cultural Experience, and much more.