Bringing IT and curriculum teams together have been a challenge for many educational organizations over the years. IT wants to control the tools and network resources. Curriculum wants to provide technology resources to teachers and students to improve personalized learning. Discover a better, more collaborative way that lets schools do both.
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Mr. Don Otto is the Director of Computer and Network Services for the Ridley School District in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Otto was born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania on August 25, 1965. He graduated from Ridley High School in June of 1983 and from West Chester University with a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science in December of 1990. He received a Masters in Instructional Technology from Saint Josephs University in May of 2007. Mr. Otto has been married for 25 years to his lovely wife Sharon and has three children (two boys, ages 20 and 22, and one daughter, age 11). He enjoys golfing, Tang Soo Do karate, and relaxing on the beach. Mr. Otto has worked in the Ridley School District for 30 years. He has been engaged in the evolution of technologies throughout his career. He managed one of the first one-to-one projects in 1993. Back then, one-to-one meant a computer in every classroom that was networked using Ethernet. In partnership with the Suburban Cable Company (pre-Comcast) between 1996 and 1999, Mr. Otto worked tirelessly on network expansion projects throughout his school district, including movement from a dial up WAN in 1993 to a TDM fiber ring in 1996; then from a TDM fiber ring to a dark fiber network in 1999. At this point in time, Mr. Otto managed telephone PBX distribution services, video over the network, email, Internet, all computer labs and desktop equipment, technology support desk, and many other business application services. From 1998 through 1999, Mr. Otto contributed to the development of one of Pennsylvania's first countywide fiber optic networks. His superintendent was instrumental in fostering the fiber network idea with local school districts, intermediate unit, politicians, and other agencies within Delaware County. All school district entities were connected with 12 strands of leased dark fiber terminated at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit in 1999. The completion of this network allowed schools and a few other local agencies to share application and other services across this network. New partnerships and services continue today across the county network. In 2013, Mr. Otto played a major role in building out a new learning management platform and rolling out a district iPad 1:1 initiative. Every student K-12 received an iPad. He worked with his curriculum colleagues to integrate the Student Information System with the learning management system, Canvas. All courses in the SIS were connected to the LMS. The building of this LMS allowed his district to provide multiple learning services for their students, including brick-and-mortar students, 100% digital students, and blended learning. The 1:1 initiative provided ways to connect the students to instructional content and new learning experiences from within and external to the boundaries of the classrooms. Today, Mr. Otto manages all of the network infrastructures, software applications, computing equipment, and virtual server platforms across the district. He continues to develop new relationships with content and technology providers, including eSpark, Jamf, Instructure, and McGraw Hill. He believes that technical and user-related obstacles are not hindrances, but opportunities to improve technical advancements, enhance learning, and encourage human growth for students, teachers, and others in public education.
Ray Howanski is the Director of Curricular Innovation for the Ridley School District in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and has worked in the district for 29 years. Ray has been engaged in the integration of technology to provide learning environments that prepare students for their future. Mr. Howanski works with district principals and teachers to ensure that the learning experiences are current for students K-12. Ridley uses digitally provided resources for math Instruction at all levels and K-5 English Language Arts are digital as well. The courses for classes from grade 6 through grade 12 are posted on Ridley’s Learning Management System (LMS), Canvas. Mr. Howanski supports teachers’ use of digital instruction as an important component of Ridley courses as they continue to evolve. He promotes teachers’ development of varied learning environments that promote personalized learning experiences that allow students to develop conceptual understanding of broadly applicable capabilities. Mr. Howanski holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry Education from Widener University, a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Widener University as well as a Certificate in Curriculum and Instruction from Saint Joseph’s University. Ray has been married to his wife, Leslie, for 32 years and has four children, three boys and a girl. He has worked with the American Modeling Teachers Association to develop teaching resources for Chemistry and Biology.