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July 14, 2006

Friday- Reflection

developing the goals, indicators, benchmarks and evaluation can be a tricky process. at first i thought you were going to go ddeeeeeeppp into developing this. it was a good exercise to develop one goal and explain the goal. we got caught up on the wording and tried to explain it to in depth. goals can be tricky depending on who is writing them. i see a goal as concise and simple easy interpreted. to hear the way others thought through the process was interesting to me. there are all different populations represented on the planning committee and this is an example to hurdles and challenges for the future.

July 11, 2006

tuesday

when reviewing the article, zhao and conway, it was disheartening to see that indiana is not identifying faculty and educational goals more in depth. they are in the middle of creating a group/committee to write the plan for the state of indiana, which i am curious to see.. with the 1:1 program i am sure it will address several key issues.
our tech plans only have to be three pages and could stand to be a little longer. as our assistant superintendent of technology travels to other states to view higher end examples of technology. he has verbally told us, state directors/coordinators, that many of the sites that say they are technologically advanced are actually behind on what we are doing in our schools.

July 10, 2006

Monday- reflection

several interesting topics arose... i understand the concept of different standards and intertwining academic and technology standards. we are currently working on creating the specific standards for our corporation: operating a mouse, turning on computer, using paint, doing features in different productivity tools, etc... we are making them parallel to the academic standards and showing examples of the standards within the document. these will be based off of the NETS-S.
review of the articles in bulleted points helps with hashing the articles together and seeing the linkage between them.

July 8, 2006

Technology in Schools

i had browsed this article awhile back and then a principal of ours sent it to me to review late last school year. it is a nice piece... i broke down by question and category.
1. Planning and policy
we have several technology policies in place and are constantly updating and adding. a new one i am working on is for cell phones and laptops (we are working on placing a centrally managed wireless network)
our last tech plan was constructed by me... i created a planning committee to do this in the future for better representation of the different schools. our plan was just turned in in december and is projected for three years. our planning committee will evaluate each phase of the plan along with building level administrators

2. Finance
our expenditures are one of the best in our service center region, which is good for our department and corporation. i break down my budget in percentages. right now 50% is going to hardware as i am trying to build up the environment. 20-30% is spent on prof development and the rest is broken into software, contracts, maintenance and upgrades.(infrastructure is broken into hardware) i have repeatedly investigated going to a total lifecycle with our network and pc's.

3. Equipment
i am in the middle of a whole rebuild of equipment. next year i am purchasing 3 new computers for students per classroom and looking at purchasing all 4th and 5th grade classrooms promethean boards with LCD projecfors. several hours of pro dev would be bundled into the costs. we do not have equipment for checkout for students but do for facutly. we do have a wide range of equipment for them while in school.
our infrastructure is all switched with dark fiber and each building has its own server, with resources.

4. Applications
one of our main applications is renaissance learning, most of their offerings. i am looking into improving to renplace in the future.. it carries with it a hefty price tag though and is detering many whole see the price point.
we have technicians who handle break/fix and OS/application support for all computers in the environment. we are a microsoft shop and use outlook for our communication and looking at voip with xml programs on the phones for attendance and so forth.

5. Maintenance
we have two full time technicians, a network tech and a systems tech in our corporation. each building has a go to person for tier I support which then gets escalated to our department. we work with the maintenance department on wiring/cabling issues to get power and network which is compliant with building code.

6. Pro Development
we offer pro dev several times throughout the school year and are trying to offer at different times. this is an area where we need improvement but are constantly trying new things. we offer micorsoft courses but not much as far as 'how' to incorporate within the curriculum. i am really looking forward to the content/delivery of the integration coursework.

7.Integration
we have come a long way but sitll have a long way to go. our survey at the end of last year told me that the majority of the faculty do not use the computer lab but use the computers in their classrooms frequently. i would like to impllement a training program for administrators to have a little more knowledge with technology skills. for the most part, i am really lucky with the administrators and their willingness to get technology going in their buildings. i have just purchased ISTE's electronic briefcase for all administrators to give to them before school starts in the fall.

July 7, 2006

Educators Guide to Evaluating Technology

li ove the way the document is laid out with graphics/worksheets and mapping of overviews (like the planners toolkit!). the effect of training on teacher and student technology skills should be clear yet it doesnt seem to be. evaluating is a problem of mine that i need to really work on. i want hard data to prove that the money spent is helping the students do better in life and school. in my opinion, the biggest part of a grant proposal is the evaluation piece. people spending the money want evidence that their money is going to a worthy cause.
professional development offerings need to happen at different times than just after school. i too have a lousy turn out for wonderful programs. some feel like if it is for work it should be a part of the work day. i would like to help them learn and would offer any time they would like but there are contractual issues.
looking at school board minutes doesnt help with me. i can see what is being discussed but if technology is a topic then i am present at the meeting. in the book, Leadership by guilliani, he held meetings every morning with all heads of departments and discussed round table fashion what was happening. when a press conference was called, depending on the topic, he would bring the head of the department with him for specific questions. everyone was on the same page and things got done because of accountability.
knowing what others want to know about technology is tough too, because all people want different things and want to learn different skills. that is tough for our department because we do not have an integration specialist.. that too falls with me along with other tasks in the day. challenges make the world tick...
Iniicators and benchmarks are critical in evaluation, timelines for reaching benchmarks need to be established… they also should be dynamic along with technology.
piloting and testing are important for successful programs. many programs that get implemented faid away with lack of funding and direction. i also like the piece the talks of the ways to evaluate: surveys, focus groups, observations, school records, etc… are good ways to evaluate

EDTech Plan- 1996

there are many differences from 96-06. 4 percent of schools have a computer for every five students (a ratio deemed adequate to allow regular use) and only 9 percent of classrooms are connected to the Internet. our corporation is 100% connected in each classroom, 4 computers for students per classroom + teacher station and we are at a 3:1 ratio as of now. i want to lasso back a little because of licensing and tech support issues.
technology itself is rapidly evolving and has changed dramatically since the 90's. one difference is that the government was going to spend $11 billion a year on funding of technology and now with title II, D the numbers are in the thirty billion dollar arena. WOW, but they want to cut 100% of that funding. just this year in eschool news, our administration wanted to cut tons of programs and eliminate all title II, D money. some corporations have all their funding coming from this. how would that works.
i have read several articles since in STL program that dealt with the technology literacty challenge grants.. i couldnt find any funding for this grant. and documentation i found online said that they are no longer doing this. is this what will happen with erate? but without the opportunity to wire an infrastructure and give funds to technology our childrens future is in jeopardy. in my research in education coursework during my MS i did a paper on increased test scores based on expenditures on technology.. the results were just what i thought. the more money spent on technology, the higher the test scores.
i remember writing my exit paper for my BS on the information superhighway and how it will effect the world. interesting how it has transformed the world of education. from schools turning to videodiscs to now streaming online content. universal design is also helping with sped students and helping them master complex problem solving.
creating smart classrooms and giving students and teachers the technology is really going strong now days... module classrooms with synergistics and labvolt are becoming common for technology education classrooms with simulations and digital content rolling into other disciplines now as well.
the role of higher education and supporting professional development needs to be strengthened and more universities need to outreach to other school corps that are not within driving distant.

National Tech Plan

What is interesting is that the government is wanting all the reform and improvement and money is being cut by the government to fund the programs necessary to meet their expectations... doesnt make sense to me. we have just recently hired a coordinator for school improvement on title I probation. there seems to be some problems from at our middle school with achievement gaps. some argue the sped population is tallied along and if you pulled their scores then the school would be above average on state testing. that is a hard call considering sped is a part of the population... tough situation, they may pull our title I funding next year.
i love the information about the 2-5 year olds using the internet. i also like it that the 85+ year olds are growing in internet usage. the high numbers are to be expected from the 10-18 year old group. much of there communications are done online. the problem is the digital divide that is happening...but, 'Even students from low-income groups are seeking to find access'. the problem here is with internet cafe's. they were popping up all over the place in my home town. parents would have to go find their kids at all hours and bring them home. the internet is a tool and some are becoming addicted to it
there is still a high percentage of students who say college is important, and now the majority of students in post secondary are female. although many say that technology adoption is done more by males. what are happening to the numbers once they enroll? do they stick with college and earn a degree or do they drop out after a couple of years... interesting how the shift in gender is happening now.
i quote in the document that i thought was ridiculous was the one that stated, 'give us more bandwidth and less firewall'... i heard more power less security- scary to me! although the same quote, 'enable hookups from home, give the teachers more training and give us more computer classes.' all makes sense.. give and take i suppose.
many of the school solutions are now coming SIF compliant for the interoperability of each other and being able to pull and sync with other systems more intuitively. the topic of open source was addressed. indiana is the first state in the nation to do a large scale 1:1 program with desktops and open source as the main OS and the productivity application is star office. the corporation gets star office for $8.00.. yes, $8.00. to put on all equipment in the corporation. star office was ranked in eweek as an award winner for productivity solutions.

strengthen leadership- our leaders are always learning new strategies to implement and guide/mentor
innovative budgeting- i am lucky to have 100% of my budget come from capital projects
improve teacher training- this is a constant battle and changing the culture is not an easy task
e-learning and virtual schools- we are working on a distance program right now
encourage broadband access- this will be a little easy situation once wimax is standardized
move toward digital content- i am trying to introduce a corporation portal, stoneware, for all associated with our schools
integrate data systems- i am also trying to build a data warehouse with all our solutions for DDDM.

interesting how just a few years ago... they were on track with technology, but times they are a changen.

July 2, 2006

e-Learning

based on the national education goals:
goal 1: right now, high 90+% of schools are wired to the internet
with e-rate most schools are wired, and depending on which priority level you file you could rebuild and schedule network support twice in your five year window. the question is whether erate will stick around or not. most vendors that are dealing with web services are offering their products as e-ratable.
there is still the digital divide in schools and in homes... school models for supplying students and employees with internet access needs to be more financially possible to ensure equal access for all.

goal 2: ALL teachers use technology... is this realistic? I would love this to happen
as the state of indiana is tracking highly qualified teachers, there needs to be more emphasis on technology skills

goal 3: most students have tech skills but @ what grade level are the skills to be developed?
corporations are starting to line up academic, technology and computer industry standards with one another to promote the learning of all essential skills when they leave the schools

goal 4: online curriculum mapping and DDDM
DDDM is happening now, our corporation is not doing this though, but is in the beginning stages of discussion. sped is using ICANN to improve teaching and learning

goal 5: web 2.0 is doing this now
transformation of how curriculum is delivered and how students collaborate and respond to assignments and each other

are these still relevant goals or should they be edited?

from the leadership standpoint... there are some issues. with money tight, computers tend to stay around for 5-6 years on their cycles and not all classrooms have the same port to port ratio because of early construction and wiring is expensive. administrators skills also need to be addressed since these persons will be modeling and bringing in professional development for staff. technology plans need to be done at the buidling level with committees to address how they want to incorporate and strategies used.
selling old computers to faculty will help staff use the computer at home to aid in learning. work at home rights with software licensing, portals and epp programs also plays a role in helping with learning and supplying facutly with the tools they need at home.