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July 13, 2006

Thursday, 7/13: Class Discussion/Summary

Technology Integrationists choose and use technology to enhance the curriculum and make an impact on student learning. There is an intersection of content knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and technology knowledge, and at this point is true technology integration.

We need to prepare our students for the 21st century that they will be entering. Technology keeps changing and so does technology knowledge. Once a technology is used everywhere it is typically no longer considered technology.

If you withhold technology from a student for misbehavior (i.e. inappropriate internet usage) it may be objectifying the technology. It is not very integrated. Students make poor decisions, how can you assist them in not making an inappropriate decision in the future (rearrange lab layout to observe them closer, get hacker involved in security, etc.)

July 12, 2006

July 12: Reflection/Summary

I would bet that there are only 2-3 people at Carver-Scott who even know that we have a tech plan. I needed a copy of the plan for the Cy Pres award information so I asked the Superintendent if we even had a plan. We do, however, it needs to be re-written because a consultant was hired to write the plan based on the state guidelines. It is not the living, working document which it needs to be.

I keep getting knocked out of this bleeping, blogging software and losing what I write. Is anyone else having this problem?

July 11, 2006

Tuesday, July 11 Class Discussion/Summary

We looked at the tech plans for the state as well as the federal. The plan that our group looked at is the newest federal plan. The goals of this plan are:
o Strengthen Leadership
o Consider Innovative Budgeting
o Improve Teacher Training
o Support e-Learning and Virtual Schools
o Encourage Broadband Access
o Move Toward Digital Content
o Integrate Data Systems

We discussed these goals and actually thought the federal plan was better written and more prescriptive than the state plan. However, it is still a political document in that the beginning talks about how poorly our students are doing as a reflection of the immediate past presidency (our thought). It mentions the Reagan presidency yet not the Clinton. Every page has reference to NCLB as well!

We used a program called MindGenius to map our conceptional plan.

July 10, 2006

Monday, July 10 Class Reflection/Summary

Reviewed three articles on Technology Planning steps and discussed the application of these planning steps in real life planning situations. NCREL's (McNabb), Porter and Barnett. The three articles were similar in their steps. Great discussions followed with much to digest. What is CSEC's vision for technology and school improvement? We have some serious questions to wrestle with.

July 9, 2006

Toward a Golden Age in American Education

The report is full of statistics regarding how per pupil funding has changed in the U.S. with no change in reading, math, science proficiencies. In addition, disaggregated information on ethnic groups in this regard is given as well. If I need to look up statistics and data it is illustrated well in this report.

It labels the Millennial Generation and states that they are interested in the world and plan to change things. A chart depicting internet use by age shows that nearly 100% of 12-18 year olds are currently connected.

Major themes emerged from the students’ comments at NetDay survey (QUOTED):
• Today’s students are very technology-savvy, feel strongly about the positive value of technology and rely upon technology as an essential and preferred component of every aspect of their lives.
• Students are not just using technology differently today but are approaching their lives and their daily activities differently because of the technology.
• As students get older, their use of technology becomes more sophisticated, but, comparatively, the younger students are on a fast track to becoming greater technology users and advocates.
• The access point for technology use, particularly for older students, is home-focused, not school-focused.
• Today’s students are ultra-communicators.

If students are saying these things, it is no wonder that a large number become disengaged in school. Teachers need to utilize their students' skills in designing applicable and engaging curriculum.

e-learning

NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY GOALS
"Goal 1: All students and teachers will have access to information technology in their classrooms, schools, communities and homes.
Goal 2: All teachers will use technology effectively to help students achieve high academic standards.
Goal 3: All students will have technology and information literacy skills.
Goal 4: Research and evaluation will improve the next generation of technology applications for teaching and learning.
Goal 5: Digital content and networked applications will transform teaching and learning."

There is strong support for technology use in the classroom to improve student learning as evidenced by:
"• 69 percent of Americans believe that the use of computer technology has improved the quality of
instruction in their locals schools; and
• 82 percent believe that schools should invest more in computer technology for instructional purposes."

Four opportunities to enhance learning through the use of technology were highlighted and are as follows (Quoted):
1) Helping students to comprehend difficult-to-understand concepts;
2) Helping students to engage in learning;
3) Providing students with access to information and resources; and
4) Better meeting students’ individual needs.

When put this way, the applications of technology to achieve these things is evident.

Another aspect of the report was in technology leadership and planning. It is imperative that sustained and predictable funding be ensured, technology plans are based on student needs and updated frequently, school technologies are easy to use and up-to-date, schools are modern and up-to-date, equity in access is achieved.

There is a definite need for archiving research and determining national direction. There is alot of reinventing the wheel at all levels of education. There needs to be dissemination of projects and proposals so that not everyone is doing their own thing.

Roblyer: Getting our NETS Worth

Article articulated the history of ISTE (international Society for Technology in Education) and the development of the NETS standards for administrators, teachers and students. The NETS standards began through the realization that there was a need to develop consensus on the meaning of being a technology-ready individual. Hundreds of people were involved in this consensus building process.

NETS AT A GLANCE
Each area (students, teachers, administrators) includes six standard categories listed below.

NETS for Students
1. Basic operations and concepts
2. Social, ethical, and human issues
3. Technology productivity tools
4. Technology communication tools
5. Technology research tools
6. Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools

NETS for Teachers
1. Technology operations and concepts
2. Planning and designing learning
3. Teaching, learning, and the curriculum
4. Assessment and evaluation
5. Productivity and professional tools
6. Social, ethical, legal, and human issues

NETS for Administrators
1. Leadership and vision
2. Learning and teaching
3. Productivity and professional practice
4. Support, management, and operations
5. Assessment and evaluation
6. Social, legal, and ethical issues

The NETS project standards are being used in program accreditation and state curriculum and certification requirements.

There are criticisms of the project as well. Typically these revolve around standards critics and three different perspectives: standards as beginnings vs. endings (places to start vs. standardization of curriculum); authentic standards vs. their "evil twin" (high-stakes testing); testing vs. accountability systems (using standardized tests as only decision making criteria).

GLEF: For Best Results, Schools Need Partners

Duh! The more people involved in the schools and young people's lives the better the system and the better they do academically. "Developing strong partnerships among schools, families, businesses, and community and religious groups is the best way to make our educational system thrive" U.S. Department of Education.

Barnett: Successful K-12 Tech Planning-10 steps

Barnetts's 10 steps to successful planning:
1. Create a vision-how will students use the technology?
2. Involve all stakeholders
3. Gather data-where are you currently?
4. Review the research-technology impacts most when: students have easy access, tech is in the classroom, ongoing teacher training is available, teacher serves as guide and facilitator, software is matched to student needs and objectives of instruction.
5. Integrate technology into the curriculum-Barriers to integration: leadership, access, time, cost, training, reform.
6. Commit to professional development-Teachers' adoption of technology can go through 5 stages: entry, adoption, adaptation, appropriation, and invention. Professional development needs to guide and support teachers as they (hopefully) move through these stages.
7. Ensure a sound infrastructure
8. Allocate appropriate funding and budget-Recommended formula for tech budget: 40% for hardware; 20% for software; 20% for professional development; 20% for upgrades and additional needs. Tech support should be budgeted separately and must be available 24/7.
9. Plan for ongoing monitoring and assessment-Collect data, develop benchmarks and timelines, modify and adjust where necessary.
10. Prepare for tomorrow-We need to always keep an eye on tomorrow. Money should be set aside for teachers to be able to try new technologies before implementing them full-scale.

Porter: Technology Planning

Author discusses the need for technology planning to be tied to school improvement plans. This is not happening in most places. They tend to be separate planning functions, however, the technology planning process is involving more people in most areas than the typical school improvement planning process.

Author delineates a three phase planning process in which districts can place themselves.
Phase 1 predominately includes purchasing technology with little change in the system anticipated (she calls this phase: Equipment Acquisition)
Phase 2 involves beginning to do things differently-including collaboration, staff development, evaluation and assessment tools, accountability, etc. (Equipment Acquisition + Learning)
Phase 3 involves doing different things (contrary to doing things differently)-large group of stakeholders involved, technology is used as a change agent to redefine schools and learning, everyone expected to be involved, assessment and accountability essential and planned and planning is results driven (Results + Equitable Experiences + Accountability)

I had a question regarding a statement the author made "A growing proportion of student time will need to be in problem solving, decision making, original thinking, and authentic work to prepare students for 21st century jobs." How do we do this? I am at an alternative school and I know we need to move students in this direction but am stumped by the how.

Minnesota's Tech Planning Guide

The planning guide was put together to help schools write their plans in accordance with the federal requirements of NCLB. It organizes the criteria for the plans and then helps with leading questions for the district committees to answer in the formulation of their own plans. The areas that are involved include: Planning and Needs Assessment; Vision, Goals, Objectives, and Strategies; Policies and Procedures; Infrastructure; Role of Media Center; Staff Development and Training; Budget; Implementation Plan; and Evaluation Plan.

It appears to be a very useful planning guide, although I wonder if schools ventured out of the prescriptive boxes when developing their plans or if they simply followed the steps. I know that in my district our plan follows the questions and guide exactly.

Zhao, Conway: What's In, What's Out-State's Tech Plans

This paper analyzed 15 states' technology plans in an effort to determine what was included in the plans, and more importantly, what may be missing from them. The same message occurs over and over in many of these articles: students are not using technology to improve their learning because a) they don't have access to adequate technology and b) their teachers are not prepared well enough to promote the use. To counteract these problems, NCLB technology requirements, state technology plans, and local district technology plans are being written at a frenzied pace.

After analyzing the technology plans, the authors came to the following conclusions regarding the state plans:
1) They favor new technology over old, and know that change will occur through technology integration
2) They say that technology would improve student's test scores but say nothing about the student learning aspects
3) They note that teachers are important but do not identify ways for them to creative adapt technology to improve student learning (Most plans see teachers as gatekeepers to the use of technology)
4) Plans "privilege the goal of economic programs or social efficiency over democratic equality"

Many of the plans were written in glowing language to reach the emotions of people. You don't want your children to not have this so…pony up. Many of the plans were more like sales pitches and glossed over accountability and equity. They also tend to promote technology as the answer to all of the educational woes. We have to remember that the plans are predominately written for rallying of political support and the reality of implementation lies with us.