Instructional Technology

The introduction of the World Wide Web in the early 1990s revolutionized the idea that technology could add value to learning. More than two decades later, so many devices and programs have become available to educators that integrating technology into the curriculum is now an essential responsibility of schools.

This is reflected Inside District 401's classrooms, where Google educational apps, Chromebooks and other state-of-the-art tools play a crucial role in individualized student growth, active learning and career preparation.

The Instructional Technology Department is there to support students, staff and the community as we find new ways to make teaching and learning more impactful and engaging.

Who We Are

The IT Department, which reports to the District's Director for Curriculum & Instruction, was created in 2016 as part of District 401's comprehensive plan for the use of instructional technology, known as the District Technology Initiative.

The department's staff consists of: 

A separate IT Department website, maintained by Mr. Celmer, serves as an information hub about all things related to the District's integration of devices and apps into the student learning experience.

Mr. Celmer also maintains a Staff IT Help Desk, where faculty and staff can request support.

What We Do

As Director for Instructional Technology, Mr. Celmer plays a leadership role in four main areas of the District Technology Initiative:

The IT Director provides technology-based professional development for teachers, staff and administration, which includes training in the use of Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals, a collection of web-based applications formerly known as "G Suite for Education."

The IT Director assists classroom teachers with designing and implementing effective formative activities that use multiple forms of technologies, educational tools and resources while also increasing student engagement.

The IT Director identifies and models best practices associated with the District's technology plan, meeting regularly with staff and administration to use technology to support differentiated learning. Recognition of best practices includes the awarding of staff badges for different levels of exemplary staff use of instructional technology. 

The IT Director leads a District Technology Committee focused on gathering and interpreting data regarding the efficacy of the District Technology Initiative.

For the latest information about developments in the areas noted above, please click here

How We Differ from the Technology Department

The IT Department is separate from District 401's Technology Department. The latter is headed by Mr. Tom Kinane, Director for Technology. 

Although both departments work for the common purpose of providing the District with the best technology environment possible, their specific areas of focus differ.

The IT Department concentrates on instructional practices and how technology can be used to impact teaching and learning. IT also provides support on Google app-related issues.

The Technology Department, on the other hand, concentrates on network infrastructure, connectivity, information security, hardware support, non-Google software support, data management, the PowerSchool student information system and the Mastery Manager student growth module. The department reports to Mr. James Jennings, Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations/CSBO.

For more information about the Technology Department, please click here.

1:1 Chromebook Implementation

Soon after the District Technology Initiative was approved in 2016, a gradual saturation of devices began at Elmwood Park High School and Elm Middle School

Full 1:1 implementation at EPHS took place at the start of the 2018-19 school year. Elm became 1:1 in January 2019. Each student at those schools is equipped with an internet-connected Chromebook. All students receiving Chromebooks must agree to the terms of the District's Chromebook Policy. 

Meanwhile, Elmwood and John Mills elementary schools benefited from the movement of existing laptop carts from the high school and middle school, so that all teachers and students received increased opportunities for the instructional uses of technology throughout the day. 

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of remote instruction, District 401 has effectively become 1:1.

In addition to the use of Chromebooks and other internet-connected devices, Google educational tools and apps have saturated the District, with grades 3-12 using Google Classroom. (Grades K-2 use Seesaw.)

Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals

As noted above, Google Workspace for Education Fundamentals is District 401's preferred suite of educational apps. Our teachers and administrators have received training in these apps since 2016 as part of the District Technology Initiative.

This training, provided by the IT Department, enables our teachers to institute best practices for technology in their classrooms and help our students become proficient digital learners. 

Google Workspace for Education consists of free web-based word processing, calendar, presentation, drawing, email, form and spreadsheet programs.

Using these tools, students are able to work collaboratively to create, edit and share files and websites for school-related projects and to communicate via email with other students and teachers. These services are entirely online and available 24/7 from any internet-connected device.

To ensure the safe and secure use of these tools, students and parents must agree to the terms of the District's Acceptable Use Policy, also known as the Digital Citizenship Contract.

Affordable Home Internet Access

District 401 understands that not every family has high-speed internet access at home. If that's the case with your household, the IT Department wants you to know that you might be eligible for Comcast's "Internet Essentials" package.

Under this package, Comcast provides high-speed internet to your home for $9.95 per month (plus tax). Details are available on our Comcast Affordable Internet Access page.

For More Information

To learn more about instructional technology in D401 and the IT Department's role, we invite you to visit the pages listed below, or click the links located on the left-hand side of this page.