School Services

Effective teaching and learning for the 21st century has been transformed by the integration of technology and education. Strategic planning and implementation will determine the effectiveness of 21st century education.

The BLEgroup is a network of the 180 leading edge network of ed tech practitioners including: Superintendents, CIOs and heads of instruction. Our mission is to enable the 90% of school systems and charter schools with less than 8,000 students to assess the current state of their technology and plan and develop management capacity to integrate technology to improve learning and management. Our method is also usable in larger districts We developed a flow of cost effective services for school districts to plan and integrate technology that results in improved outcomes and management efficiency.

The services are:

The Strategic Technology Audit and Integration Plan

The BLEgroup has developed a process to rate current effectiveness in instruction, management systems, infrastructure and technology support and to provide a four year plan including a budget and implementation process to the district within 2 days. Read Description

Two to four BLEgroup working ed tech practitioner experts in infrastructure, instruction, management systems and organization conduct a two day site visit to the district. The process includes interviews with all key stakeholders, from the superintendent to the teachers. We review the district budget, achievement data, and technology plan prior to arriving in the district. The deliverable is in the form of a slide deck presentation that rates the current status of each of the key elements and provides a four year plan and vision including an implementation process and possible budgets. The BLEgroup presents and discusses the presentation with the district leadership and or steering committee at the end of the visit. This process provides a means for districts to gain an integrated plan for technology-enabled instructional improvement and management and to develop management capacity for moving forward. Click here for an example of a strategic technology audit and integration plan.

  • Interim Strategic Technology Implementation ManagerThe BLEgroup provides senior education Administrators with instructional and technical Experience to initiate the implementation of Technology Plan and mentor the District in technology integration.

“The BLEgroup is intimately familiar with quality digital products. The group conducts 60 focus groups annually for new and established ed tech and curriculum companies to address product quality and have a process for evaluating curriculum, assessment and devices. This knowledge helps us in working with districts and we can provide recommendations of appropriate options of digital products and curriculum to fit the specific needs of your district.”

Mark Femrite, Asst. Supt for Instruction, Westonka Minnesota Schools

Planning & Implementation of 1:1 Computing

1:1 computing is education not just devices and the Key is implementation. The BLEgroup has developed a method for selecting 1:1 devices, choosing appropriate digital materials linked to common core standards and supporting teachers in the gradual effective implementation of 1:1 computing. Click here for an example of a strategic technology audit and integration plan. Read Description

Successful 1:1 implementation involves devices, digital instructional materials, individualized instruction, expanded infrastructure, policies, professional development, technology support organizations, and technical support. The BLEgroup is well-known for its expertise in making 1:1 computing effective. We recently developed a primer in conjunction with ed tech firms and school districts that helps district leadership and the ed tech industry in planning and implementing 1:1 computing. Click here to read this free thought leadership piece. Many smaller districts can benefit from support in implementing 1:1 computing. If used effectively, 1:1 computing completely changes the teaching and learning process to individualized instruction and anytime/anywhere learning. 1:1 consists of more than just the mobile device, e.g., tablet or iPad. It is a constellation of factors, including the device, digital instructional materials, individualized instruction, expanded infrastructure, policies, professional development, technology support organizations, and technical support. Implementing 1:1 effectively to improve education is complex. The BLEgroup 1:1 planning and management method provides school systems with the experience, support, and expertise to effectively implement 1:1 computing with minimum problems over the 3-4 years of implementation and enables the district to manage effectively on its own. The initial site visit is a two-day visit by one or two BLEgroup specialists to work with the district to design a 1:1 vision and implementation plan over the next four-year period. This is followed by mentoring and management support for the district’s 1:1 effort, including:

  • Guidance with device evaluation and selection
  • Design of expanded infrastructure and bandwidth
  • Design of instructional technology support, professional development, and IT support groups necessary for the effectiveness of 1:1
  • Quarterly meetings based on metrics to determine the effectiveness of implementation and the need for any changes
  • Recommendation for applications and digital materials
  • Appropriate staffing for supporting 1:1 implementation in the classroom
  • Evaluation metrics for qualitatively and quantitatively assessing the implementation process and outcomes
  • Tailoring the plan and management support to the strategic goals of the district
  • Support with RFPs and professional development

Most districts need time and expertise between n to develop a common vision, and implement the plan, purchase materials and complete the infrastructure. An interim strategic technology integration adviser works with the district management team to manage the process and mentor the district until they have the management capacity to do it on their own; He/She will repair serious infrastructure issues and suggest appropriate reorganization. The Interim advisor reports to the superintendent and works collaboratively with the management team to implement the elements of the plan. He/She will propose policies, oversee acquisitions of quality products, improve the infrastructure and evolve an effective IT and instructional technology organization that includes technology and instructional support organizations. The interim strategic adviser goal is to support the district to develop the necessary management capacity to manage technology on an ongoing basis.

“We are utlizing the BLEgroup to manage a systematic 4 year process to move to 1:1 computing including use of digital materials, professional development and ongoing support….”

Brian Edel, Dean of Students, St. Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights, Minn.

Professional Development and Teacher Support

The BLegoup has a multi year process that establishes a teacher academy to train lead teachers for each school and work with teachers, administrators and students in developing digital competency and makes digital education accessible. Read Description

Implementation of the new digital education systems are from the classroom up. Teachers have to be trained competently or the new processes will not take hold. Integrating technology into teaching and learning requires changes in the digital era, often requiring teachers to be significantly retrained. The BLEgroup has developed a method to train skilled teachers in devices and digital based curriculum. These trained teacher leaders then demonstrate the new methods by co-teaching with their peers, establishing a professional development academy, working with students and coaching teachers on individualizing data based instruction. The professional development program also includes:

  • Establishing teacher academies
  • Developing student and teacher technology competencies
  • Ongoing peer support
  • Repositories of teacher developed materials
  • Teaching digital citizenship

Recommendations on digital products and curriculum

School systems need knowledge about the new digital curriculum and data systems and have to establish processes on how to procure them effectively. There is a plethora of new products which make it very hard for schools to understand the wide variety of available digital products.

Thought Leadership

The BLEgroup writes monthly easy to understand documents to help education decision makers and the ed tech industry product managers address critical topics such as 1:1 computing, procurement of digital materials, adaptive instruction, and implementation of technology for instructional improvement.

To Contact the BLEgroup Please contact us if you want to discuss the viability of any of the the BLEgroup services for your district. write to Deanna@blegroup.com, call 202 255 4391, or fill out this form.