eMINTS instructional technology (IT) specifications
- Revised for FY13 cohort, May 2012
eMINTS believes that preparing students for productive citizenship in the 21st century requires the preparation and support of educators who can successfully facilitate student learning and the careful creation of technology-rich learning environments. The critical skills that form the foundation for success in the 21st century require that educators support students so that all learners are able to use technology to analyze, learn, and explore. The hardware and software suite selected to support 21st century classrooms must have the flexibility and functionality to allow teachers and students to develop mastery of the skills required for
- Communication and collaboration
- Creativity and innovation
- Research and information
- Critical thinking
Understanding technology operations and developing high levels of digital citizenship are also key components in 21st century classrooms. eMINTS IT specifications and required technology resources for teachers and students are built on these essential elements aligned to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S).
IT functionality is a key component in achieving the desired teacher and student outcomes reported for eMINTS classrooms:
For classrooms that schools or districts desire to designate as official eMINTS and eMINTS4All classrooms IT functionality must be documented through the submission of an online form (coming soon) to describe how the configuration selected meets the IT functionality requirements specified by the eMINTS National Center. Districts implementing professional development programs based on the eMINTS model may choose other configurations; however, these implementations have limited research to support their effectiveness.
Connectivity requirements may be met using either wired or wireless configurations or may be a combination of the two. Wireless may be preferred so that the highest levels of functionality for mobile technologies can be realized. In addition to Internet connectivity, equipment must be able to achieve the following instructional functionality:
- Building connectivity — a reliable 1-2 Mbps connection. Wireless networking is an option as long as it is at least 2 Mbps and supports access by all potential devices without degradation of connection speed, even when multiple classrooms are using streaming video applications.
- Networking supports required bandwidth including switches and cabling. Networking is flexible enough to allow teachers to rearrange classroom as much as possible.
- Wireless access points are available at the classroom level and are supported by adequate power over Ethernet (POE) switches.
- Teacher device connects to interactive whiteboard.
- Teacher device image appears on teacher monitor and interactive whiteboard.
- Student work can be displayed on interactive whiteboard through a shared folder system or server or direct connection to the interactive whiteboard.
Technology resource requirements and technical support
Participating schools also are required to provide the following technology resources for official eMINTS classrooms:
- Teachers must be provided with functional email service and with server space of sufficient size. Teachers and PD4ETS participants must be able to independently publish their websites or classroom portals to the Internet.
- Electrical service in eMINTS classrooms to support instructional devices – and any charging units required for the devices – and interactive whiteboard and projector. (As with the network connections, electrical installation should be flexible to allow teachers to rearrange classroom as much as possible.)
- Teachers should have access to telephone technical support in classrooms for assistance with interactive whiteboard and other devices.
- Anti-virus protection and filtering software needed to meet federal and state requirements.
Technology support for teachers and students must be available. The technical support system must be adequate to prevent disruptions in technology availability and functionality. Support should be handled at the lowest level practical. Adequate technology support can be documented by describing the planning and processes in place to achieve the following:
- The end-user (teacher or student) is taught to exercise problem-solving skills in handling routine maintenance.
- School-based support staff is available and able to handle the majority of technical issues within 2 school days.
- Loaner devices that fully meet functionality specifications are available at a ratio of 3-5% of total devices deployed.
- District support or other outsourcing is available to handle major repairs within 10-14 school days.
- A tracking system is in place to ensure timely and ongoing follow-up for all technical support issues.
Technology support for schools or districts participating in eMINTS implementations is available through an optional online community facilitated by eMINTS staff and housed in the eMINTS online learning (Moodle) site.
Hardware and software
- Download FY13 equipment installation timeline (PDF 19 KB)
The sequence of eMINTS PD modules and coordination with the equipment installation timeline are very important. The PD and equipment installation schedules are listed by months (month 1, month 2, etc.) to accommodate eMINTS implementations that begin in any calendar month. However, please note that eMINTS PD modules are reviewed, revised and posted annually according to the U.S. school year with the first modules available beginning July 1.
For locations that do not follow the typical U.S. school year calendar (school begins in August and concludes in May), archived modules are available. Contact the eMINTS National Center for more information.
- eMINTS PD schedules (listed by program and year)
Teacher devices (including software)
Teacher and student devices should provide the same functionality with the exception of the following elements that are specific to teachers.
- The teacher device must be a laptop that meets the functionality specifications.
- Teacher device must be available and fully functional before PD session #1.
Teacher and student devices (including software)
- Teacher device must be available and fully functional before PD session #1.
- Student device installation may begin month 5; must be available and fully functional for all students before PD session #19.
Printer and scanner
- Must be installed and fully functional by Month 1.
- Must be installed and fully functional by Month 3, before PD session #8.
- Whiteboards must be permanently mounted to wall.
Note: Only qualified technicians should install interactive whiteboards.
Help with Windows 7 OS and SMART tools (WMV 9.2 MB – video opens in a separate window)
- Must be installed and fully functional by Month 3; must be completed before PD session #8.
- Must be provided and fully functional in Month 2-4, before PD session #10.
Software and other resources allowed without additional eMINTS approval
Due to the needs of classes in specific grade levels, additional equipment or content-specific software may be acceptable in official eMINTS classrooms. These are neither mandatory nor required but may be included without seeking permission from the eMINTS National Center.
Participants enrolled in the eMINTS Professional Development program (eMINTS PD) who wish to be considered official eMINTS or eMINTS4All teachers are not allowed to install on eMINTS computers any alternative software. Alternative software is defined as commercial instructional software packages beyond the software defined in current functionality specifications. It is also highly preferred that teachers/schools refrain from loading non-specified commercial software on a server and providing students in eMINTS classrooms with access to it.
The goal of the eMINTS program is to help teachers move teaching strategies away from teacher-directed instruction (textbooks and software packages) toward student-centered, project-based learning activities that address the school’s curriculum aligned to state and national education standards. eMINTS teachers plan learning activities that require cooperative learning, student research and analysis of information to solve meaningful problems. Technology resources such as access to the Internet and email and productivity tools are used to support these teaching strategies. eMINTS program evaluation results have shown that students in eMINTS classrooms where teachers fully implement the eMINTS instructional model score significantly higher on assessments in all subject areas and on assessment of 21st century skills. The eMINTS program seeks to achieve this goal for all students in the program. Non-approved commercial software installed on student computers damages the validity of eMINTS program research and limits the possibilities that all students will reach the stated goals of the program.
- Teachers or districts may install management software such as a grade book program or Student Information Systems (SIS) on teacher devices. Professional development and support for using such systems or software is the school’s or district’s responsibility.
- Teachers or districts may provide students with access to keyboarding programs so long as the time spent on keyboarding activities is not disproportionate to other learning activities.
- Teachers or districts may install software programs for students with disabilities required on Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
- Teachers or districts may use video streaming services.
- Allowable additional software is listed in the IT specifications section of the eMINTS website
- When districts have completed their initial two-year eMINTS professional development programs, the software restrictions will no longer be enforced; however, teachers and districts are strongly advised to maintain the eMINTS software specifications.
- From time to time, districts and teachers may be asked to participate in pilot studies of software by the eMINTS program. These pilot studies are exempt from the software restrictions.