New student information system for parents,students, teachers (Jan. 11, 2013)
UPDATED: The parent company that operates the My Big Campus instructional and content management software used by all Rockdale County Public Schools students and teachers is pulling the plug on the program in its current form by the end of the school year, RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry told the school board Thursday. This is likely to delay the rollout of tablets and laptops to high schools students, which was originally scheduled for next school year as part of the multi-year "one-to-one" technology initiative.
The notice sent this week from Lightspeed Systems, the parent company that operates My Big Campus, said, "To better support the latest technologies used in the classroom, we will be transitioning My Big Campus from an LMS into a new and improved Teacher Dashboard with a Campus Library that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365/Mix, Google Classroom and other tools."
However, RCPS administrators described the changes as taking away essential, needed components of the program and leaving a stripped down version that would not be enough.
The My Big Campus program was first implemented at RCPS about two years ago, and teachers, staff, students and parents have been learning how to use it over the last year and a half.
"Knowing how much time energy and training we've put into our staffs and the fact we have a number of resources located on My Big Campus that our teachers are using.... This was the warehouse and the vehicle for us to securely move into one-to-one instructional delivery and move into it safely and efficiently.
"This definitely throws an unanticipated concern with regards to purchase tablets for our high school students," said Autry. The school system had been planning to put in an order for the tablets in April. "That is not the case at this current state. We're going to wait and evaluate to see where we are."
Having the learning management program in place is key to using the tablet and laptop technology to its potential, said Autry. "I'm not interested in our students or teachers having tablet technology just for better email or better PowerPoints. I have to make sure that instructional integration changes the way instruction is delivered in the classroom and the way kids learn and socialize."
He continued, "This was a blow that we didn't anticipate but we will factor that into our program evaluation and hopefully have a recommendation to you at our next work session."
He also said the school system attorney would look into "what remedies may be in order."
"This service is what we signed for, what we agreed for, and quite frankly what we paid for," said Autry.
My Big Campus is used for managing online teaching and instruction. It compliments the Infinite Campus program, also created by Lightspeed Systems, but is a separate system. The Infinite Campus system helps track student grades, schedules, attendance and other information.
A frequently asked questions page from Lightspeed on the change in My Big Campus can be found here: www.lightspeedsystems.com/mbc-transition-faq/
In other school board news:
Hillary Meeler was approved by the Rockdale school board Thursday night to become the next principal of Honey Creek Elementary starting in the 2015-2016 school year. She is currently the assistant principal at Davis Middle School.