Frankie Jackson, CETL

Chief Technology Officer

Cypress Fairbanks ISD, Houston, TX

Tell us about your role.

My role at Cypress Fairbanks ISD (CFISD) is Chief Technology Officer. CFISD has about 113,000 students. It’s the 3rd largest district in Texas and 24th largest in the nation, so there are a lot of moving parts!

How has the role of technology changed throughout your career?

During my tenure, beginning in 1994, I started as a Director of Technology Management Systems. My primary responsibility included managing Student Information Systems, Business Systems, computer repair, and T-1 line networks. With each passing year, the responsibilities grew and the expectations became more demanding. Now my role is to serve as an education technology leader, providing leadership, vision, strategic planning, and management oversight for all technology services in K-12.

In your view, how does technology impact teaching and learning?

Technology impacts every aspect of teaching and learning. Technology is now part of students’ everyday lives, with many students using more than 1 device daily. Surveys show that 67% cannot go more than an hour without connecting to social networks – and their attention spans are short. 40% of the time they don't even last 10 minutes before checking a device. Digital devices provide students immediate access to information for “quick searches," so in their view, learning isn’t about memorization. Also, online learning is a viable option for personalized and virtual learning. Then of course the global experience to learn through virtual experiences influences teaching and learning. There isn’t an end to the magnitude of impact when it comes to using technology for teaching and learning.

What is your biggest advice for school district technology leaders?

Plan the network infrastructure upgrades very carefully, anticipating the growth of online usage requirements and at the same time teaching students responsibility with the new technological resources. Also, don’t underestimate the challenge of using technology to be “human,” not technical. Build an effective team with staff that care about education and the success of students!

Where do you envision education technology being in five years?

I see education technology being 24/7 access to digital teaching and learning, using blended and virtual models for instructional delivery. Students' learning will be personalized with rich multimedia experiences that enable empowerment and creativity. We will not be bound by limits and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!