Staying Undisrupted During a Global Pandemic

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Listen and learn : Panel

Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy  
Carl Hooker  
Sandra Paul  
Dr. Adam Phyall  
Brett Salakas  
Andrew Wallace  

Tech leaders are used to handling all sorts of disruptions, but the global pandemic of 2020 has created a new set of challenges that has taken our collective minds to tackle. Hear how tech leaders from across the country have stepped up to meet the challenges.

Audience: Chief technology officers/superintendents/school board members, Curriculum/district specialists, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Distance, online & blended learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Education Leaders:
Visionary Planner
  • Evaluate progress on the strategic plan, make course corrections, measure impact and scale effective approaches for using technology to transform learning.
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
Systems Designer
  • Ensure that resources for supporting the effective use of technology for learning are sufficient and scalable to meet future demand.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In this session, the panelist will explore how the global pandemic of 2020 and Social Changes created a new set of challenges that forced them to adapt and adjust to meet the needs of students, teachers, parents, and their respective communities.
The panel will tackle topics about how they provided devices and internet access, provide professional learning, created virtual graduations, and provided onsite and offsite support to all stakeholders in their systems. The panel will explore all of the challenges they faced and will not shy away from sharing the failures and overcoming these hurdles.
The panel will also explore how they have addressed social change and digital citizenship in their district.


This session will begin with an introduction of the panelist and a brief introduction of their school systems.
We will then move to the immediate top three challenges that each district faced when the pandemic began and how they addressed each. The audience will have the opportunity to add to the presentation the biggest challenges they faced during the pandemic. The panel will discuss how they provided internet access to students and share funding sources and vendors that were used to fill the need in their systems. They will move into how the provided support to devices and share any tips that they picked up along the way. The audience will have the chance to use padlet to share how they supported devices in their systems. The panel will then share how they have used technology to address the social changes that have been occurring and how they are planning to continue to support social activism.

Supporting research

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Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy, Gulfport School District

Dr. Tracy Daniel-Hardy is the Director of Technology for Gulfport School District, Tech & Learning Advisor, Future Ready Tech Leader Advisor, Past President of the Mississippi Educational Computing Association (2020), member of the Mississippi Department of Education's Technology Advisory Committee, Board Member of Lighthouse Business and Professional Women, and member of many other civic and community organizations. Dr. Hardy champions causes and movements within her affiliated organizations that promote and encourage equity for women, people of color, and others who are disenfranchised and/or under represented. She is the foreword author of Women Who Lead in Technology Vol. 4.

Carl Hooker, HookerTech LLC

Carl Hooker has been part of the educational shift that includes technology integration since becoming an educator. During his 22 years in education, he’s been a teacher, virtualization coordinator and director of innovation, always focused on ensuring students drive their own learning. As director of innovation and digital learning at Eanes Independent School District in Texas, Hooker helped spearhead the launch of the Learning & Engaging Through Access & Personalization program (LEAP), which put 1:1 iPads in the hands of all K-12 students in his 8,000-student district. His unique blend of educational background, technical expertise and humor make him a driving force for this change. Hooker is the author of a six-book series for ISTE titled Mobile Learning Mindset. The books focus on each education stakeholder and the role they play in a successful mobile learning initiative. He also recently launched a self-paced online course called “The Remote Learning Coach.” In addition to his work as an author and district leader, Hooker is also a keynote speaker and consultant through his company HookerTech LLC, and an adviser to edtech startup companies. He’s been named Tech & Learning Magazine’s Leader of the Year, and is a member of the Apple Distinguished Educator class of 2013. He’s also the host of ISTE’s “Learning Unleashed” podcast and Future Ready’s “UnDisrupted” Podcast.

Sandra Paul, Township of Union Public Schools
Dr. Adam Phyall, Future Ready Schools

Adam Phyall, Ed.D., is a former high school science teacher and the current director of technology and media services for Newton County School System in Georgia. Since getting his first laptop in college, Phyall has been hooked on the fantastic things technology can add. Early in his teaching career, Phyall began having students create videos and podcasts to explain advanced science concepts. Once he saw the impact technology had on learning in his classroom, he began to share his activities and strategies with his peers. This led to him becoming a building instructional technology leader and then a technology facilitator. Throughout his career, Phyall has worked extensively with Title I and urban schools to improve technology integration for economically disadvantaged students. He has planned and developed mobile learning plans for school districts in Georgia and Missouri that led to 1:1 device initiatives. His philosophy on teaching is, “If you’re having fun teaching it, then your students will have fun learning it.”

Brett Salakas, NSW

Brett Salakas is an international keynote speaker; author; founder of #aussieED, the largest online network of teachers in Australia; and co-founder of the ED Poets Society and #TheWalkingED. He’s also a primary school teacher and experienced leader who, over the past 20 years, has taught in South East Asia and Australia. He’s committed to turning educational theory into real classroom practice, and he focuses his keynote presentations on connection, collaboration and inspiration. Salakas has led professional learning for schools and systems in Australia and North America. He has leadership experience within the New South Wales Public Education System and was a curriculum and digital technologies officer while teaching in Singapore.

Andrew Wallace, South Portland Schools

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