Features

Kadion Phillips – Oxford Public Schools  

Integrating technology for a better student experience  

The role of technology in education has become increasingly important, especially in today’s digital age. As schools strive to provide students with the best possible learning experience, the director of technology plays a crucial role in integrating technology in school districts.  

Kadion Phillips | Director of Technology | Oxford Public Schools  

Kadion Phillips | Director of Technology | Oxford Public Schools

One such visionary is Kadion Phillips, the director of technology for Oxford Public Schools in Massachusetts. With a strong focus on student experience and effective communication, Phillips has spearheaded several projects that have revolutionized how technology is used in the district. 

“Technology is an essential tool that empowers students to explore, collaborate and create, enabling them to become active participants in their own education,” Phillips tells Toggle magazine. “My team and I have worked tirelessly to equip every student with the necessary tools for success.” 

Oxford Public Schools serves nearly 1,600 students from pre-K through 12th grade. Phillips believes that each student, regardless of age, grade level, or socio-economic background, deserves a modern educational experience.  

A modern classroom experience 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about unprecedented challenges for the education sector. However, it also accelerated the adoption of educational technology. Phillips acknowledges the role of the pandemic in driving technology adoption among staff members.  

The sudden shift to remote learning forced teachers and students to embrace technology to stay connected and continue the learning process. The experience during the pandemic highlighted the benefits of technology in the classroom and created opportunities for greater adoption and integration of technology tools. 

Kadion Phillips | Director of Technology | Oxford Public Schools  

Phillips firmly believes that teachers need to see the value of a tool to be more likely to utilize it. The pandemic served as a catalyst for change, demonstrating technology’s adaptability and potential benefits for all stakeholders—students, staff and parents. 

“With the pandemic behind us, we are moving forward and remain committed to upgrading the district’s technology infrastructure,” he says.  

Oxford Public Schools has made impressive strides in terms of technology integration. The district operates on a 1:1 device ratio, with every student from kindergarten to twelfth grade receiving a Chromebook. Phillips emphasizes the significance of ensuring equitable access to technology resources.  

The district levels the playing field by providing every student with a device and creating opportunities for equal learning experiences. He explains that the district also provides device insurance and a repair system, demonstrating its commitment to maintaining technology resources. Furthermore, each classroom has interactive projectors and dedicated desktops, enabling teachers to create dynamic and engaging lessons that enhance the learning experience. 

“It is also important that we constantly enhance communication with families and provide them with a more immersive experience through newsletter-style digital communications,” he explains. 

Improvements and upgrades 

Looking ahead, Phillips and his team have exciting plans for 2024.  

A key focus is the ongoing upgrade of Chromebooks throughout the district. Phillips emphasizes the importance of keeping up with technological advancements and says the district’s students deserve to have access to the latest devices and tools that will prepare them for the future. 

The district’s commitment to providing students with the best possible technology resources is evident in its efforts to secure funding and replace aging devices. But the investment isn’t limited to only students—teachers are equipped with laptops in the classroom and at home, ensuring seamless technology integration into their teaching practices. 

“And thanks to the Emergency Connectivity Fund, we can upgrade the devices students and teachers rely on in their daily academic lives,” Phillips says.  

Having a modern device is nice, but ensuring the students are using the devices properly and taking advantage of the devices’ tools is just as important.  

With the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence, schools must address its role in the classroom. Although the district has no official policy, Phillips recognizes the importance of not blocking AI tools. Instead, teachers are encouraged to incorporate these tools into their curriculum, allowing for innovative teaching practices and the development of deeper learning skills. 

“AI has the capacity to personalize learning experiences, provide immediate feedback, and support students in developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” he notes. “But it has to be used to empower students to become adaptive learners, prepared for the challenges of the digital age.” 

A love of tech 

Phillips’ interest in technology dates back to his college days, when he majored in physics at Middlebury College before earning a master’s degree in education from Lehman College in the Bronx. Starting with a position at an IT helpdesk in college, he gained experience supporting students and repairing devices. This exposure ignited his desire to have a greater impact, and with his wife being a teacher, he found a way to combine his love for technology and education. He spent three years as a teacher in New York City and a year as an assistant principal before his passion for technology led him down a different path.  

“When I was teaching, I took on additional responsibilities outside the classroom,” he says. “I created custom software for data tracking and day-to-day operations, leading to my administrative position.”  

Kadion Phillips | Director of Technology | Oxford Public Schools  

Phillips says sustaining programs and securing funding has been his biggest challenge throughout his career. In his current role, he has had to navigate conflicting priorities within the district and other departments. Despite these challenges, his commitment to providing students with the best possible educational experience remains unwavering. 

Building a strong partnership between the technology department, school administrators, teachers and the community is essential for sustained success, he says.  

“I will always advocate for the importance of technology in education and emphasize its role in preparing students for future opportunities,” Phillips says.  

View this feature in the Winter I 2024 Edition here.

Published on: February 5, 2024

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