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Technology Maturity of Excellence Elementary 2012-2013 School Year Demographics

Excellence Elementary is an elementary school in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas. It is a small school of around 200 students. Over half of these are hispanic or Latino in heritage. A third are African American and the remaining third are White. The majority or the school is on Free and Reduced Lunch Program. This year we also piloted a program offering breakfast in the classroom for all students regardless of lunch status. We have seen very positive results from this program. Many of our students live in government subsidized housing and have limited access to technology. Some have a computer at home, but more often than not, internet access is limited to the school and the public library. Even video game systems are rare in our students homes. Because of this, the need for them to have this exposure at school is enormous.

Administrative Filter- Average: Islands


Behavioral: Islands In my building, there is a policy for teachers and students that states how technology is to be used and for what purposes. For students, the district has an acceptable use policy in the handbook given out at the beginning of every school year. This document is only reviewed in a basic manner and is more of a formality. Teachers have a district policy they must adhere to as well. Both of these address use of technology in general and are the same across the district. Because of this, many teachers and students are unaware of the policies or find them irrelevant. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands At the building level, the policy surrounding technology is very loose. We tried to create a contract for students, but never got the final approval to distribute it to the school. Students and teachers understand the importance of technology and about its use. They generally use it correctly, however without strong leadership behind any policy, it is difficult to have discussions around appropriate use in the classrooms. Planning Behavioral: Islands In general, across our 10 classrooms, teachers use technology sporadically. Many use it as a center, which has the students self select apps to enjoy and requires no planning. Planning that does occur around technology centers around the SMART board. Several teachers utilize this to teach a variety of lessons throughout the week. Anything beyond this includes specific projects, such as research, that require use of the iPads for a few days or weeks. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands Because most of the planning is project based, it many times doesnt connect with instruction. Students tend to use the technology for a short time to meet a specific goal. No classroom uses technology as a regular part of instruction, nor do they plan to incorporate it on a regular basis. Budget Behavioral: Emergent Our money for technology came from the School Improvement Grant. This grant allowed for a certain dollar amount to be spent on new technology each year. The decision on which technology to purchase ultimately came down to our Principal. He did take advice from several district and state people, however, the decision was ultimately his to defend. While I dont agree with the types of technology purchased, I do wish more thought was put into their purchase. We ended up with 40 2G iPod Touches that are relatively useless as they are not able to be updated or run newer applications. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands Our budget for technology came from the School Improvement Grant, which lasts for three years. We are currently on year three, and thus will lose funding after this year for technology. The district has a basic plan, however, even they do not have a specific goal and

plan for future technology. We will be hard pressed to find money to replace and repair technology as time goes on. Administrative Information Behavioral: Emergent The principal and I are the only ones in the building that know the administrative codes for most of the technology. Teachers are encouraged to use things as is. If any specialization is needed, currently I take care of it. This is mainly because of purchasing and software issues. Many of the teachers struggle with the technology they have and cannot or do not want the rights to change things. Resource/Infrastructure: Emergent The district as a whole doesnt encourage teachers to have administrative rights to systems. They restrict the access to these programs on student laptops and computers, as well as some teacher devices. This has set the tone for schools across our city, and indeed in my building. Passwords are available if someone wants to ask, however, most dont want it.

Curricular Filter- Average: Integrated

Electronic Information Behavioral: Integrated Teacher, more than students, depend on electronic resources for their daily instruction. E-mail is regularly used by district personnel, building personnel, and individual teachers to send messages when a face to face conversation isnt available or for reminders. Many teachers have also become reliant on their iPads. They use them for research, easy e-mail access, and small group educational apps. Some students use technology on a daily basis in their classrooms, but this is not the norm. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated I assessed this to be integrated because, although we have a variety of technological options for our students and teachers to use, they are not consistently used by any group. Access is available to all persons in our building via iPod carts, laptop carts, and a computer lab. However, as has been the problem throughout this survey, there is very little use that comes out of it and when they are used, it is very limited in scope. Assessment Behavioral: Integrated Our district has implemented an online assessment system that tests our students on a very regular basis. We also have access to a learning program called Compass Learning that uses game-based learning resources to bolster in class topics. Both of these give our teachers and students feedback on progress. We also use this data to inform our teaching. Parents receive this information from teachers and know where their students are performing. Resource/Infrastructure: Integrated

Access to the data collected by our assessment systems is building wide. Students have access to their scores in the Compass Learning program as well as Scholastic Reading Counts quizzes. Many programs also offer parent logins, however, the demand for this at our building is not very great, as many parents do not have easy access to computers. Curriculum Integration Behavioral: Islands Technology use is sporadic at best. One classroom uses it in a consistent educational manner. Most other classrooms use it as a center, which I do not feel is a part of the curriculum. Each classroom has a SMARTboard, but only a few use them as an intentional part for daily instruction. Access to educational websites is also available, and many teachers make use of these. It seems that the more different the technology is from typical daily instruction, the less intentional use it gets. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent Although use is not building wide, the technology is available for every area of instruction. Compass Learning offers lessons on reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. The applications loaded on the iPads and iPods are constantly being updated and change to meet the standards. Teachers have access to many educational websites to pull from, yet few do so. Teacher Use Behavioral: Islands Many teachers find the websites and Compass Learning helpful in their planning and sometimes it makes it into their daily instruction. However, more often than not, technology is being used as a filler or in an impromptu way. Planning for technology use is very rare, and only a few rooms make good use of the technology we have. None use it purposefully and intentionally throughout the day. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent Each classroom has a SMARTboard and access to educational websites. Teachers are also assigned 6 student iPads for use in their classrooms and a teacher iPad. There are several laptop carts around the building and iPods are available for whole class use as well. The district assigned each teacher a MacBook Air this past year, so they have access to appropriate software as well. Student Use Behavioral: Emergent Classrooms that make use of the technology, mainly do so with centers. Students rotate in small groups into an iPad time. Usually around 20 minutes long, students self select applications to play and/or listen to. However, there is no goal during this time, and a product is not required from the students. Many classrooms make use of the Compass Learning program to enrich learning. Students are given assessments and goals are set, however, few teachers conference with the students to check on progress.

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent Although the use may be lacking, all students in my building do have access to technology on a daily basis. It may not be intentional or purposeful in its use, but there is nonetheless interactions with a variety of technologies. There are iPads in all classrooms as well as student computers.

Support Filter- Average- Islands

Stakeholder Involvement Behavioral: Islands The state and district officials as well as teachers are aware that our principal has the money available to spend towards technology. However, none of these groups are involved in the process of choosing what technology should be purchased and/or utilized. Once it is purchased, these groups are not involved in any support around the new technology either. Resource/Infrastructure: Emergent Since no one is involved in the process of planning for technology, they are similarly not represented. The state comes in to evaluate its use, and provide some feedback. District officials tend to take the same approach, but on a smaller scale. Building level personal collaborate on many things, but not around technology. Administrative Support Behavioral: Islands The administration in my building consists of our Principal, Teacher Leader, and Family Specialist. This group of people is minimally involved in classroom applications of technology. They encourage the use of technology within each classroom, however, its use is not mandatory nor standardized. Hopefully in the future, as we become more familiar with our resources, we will see a move toward technology integration. Resource/Infrastructure:Emergent Because things are so lax around technology planning and implementation, none of the administrative team take time to formalize any planning with teachers. We have had some major changes in our building, and the administration has given the staff a chance to implement new curriculum and standards before tackling technology. Training Behavioral: Emergent Our staff is quite small, so only a few teachers makes a large fraction. Several of our staff have attended district trainings around technology implementation. Although these trainings are beneficial, the effects of them have yet to be seen. Very little implementation has occurred because of them. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

Although the district provides these trainings, they are sporadic and not always attended by our staff. They are usually facilitated by the same one or two people. These inservices are decent, but require a certain level of comfort with technology and are not for very beginners. We really need to address all levels of comfort and ability when training teachers for technology use. Technical & Infrastructure Support Behavioral: Integrated When problems arise, most staff know where to go for support. Many times this involves another teacher in the building. There is also a troubleshooting book in the works so teachers can fix many problems on their own. Over the past few years, teachers have gotten much more comfortable finding things for themselves and asking for help when they need it. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands The resources available to staff for technology support are quite limited. Usually it involves going to one specific staff member and having her do the digging and provide tech support. This has included everything from adding printers to fixing the SMARTboard blinking lights. Structured support from the district is available, however, they are usually slow to respond. Most teachers are not quite ready to troubleshoot for themselves.

Connectivity Filter- Average: Integrated

Local Area Networking Behavioral: Integrated This is place where my building and district shine. We do have at our disposal a network that is vast enough to hold data, voice, and video needs. It is an integral part of our day as teachers, but less so for students. Several teachers use SKYPE to communicate quickly between classrooms and to send messages. Others use the shared drive to store lessons and share ideas with other teachers across the district. While use is currently limited to a few teachers, more are jumping on board as we become increasingly paperless. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The district provided us with a network that is more than adequate for our building. Many of our computers are wireless, and seldom does their use bog down the speed of the Internet for others. There is also a software sharing system in place by the district that allows software purchased by the district to be easily and quickly put in place in buildings. District Area Networking (WAN) Behavioral: Intelligent

Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The district provided access to the Internet is quite impressive. This year, teachers were given a MacBook Air as their teacher computer. These fast machines make use of our high-

speed Internet access, and large capacity for data and video storage. They have several shared storage options, and all are accessible outside the school network. Internet Access Behavioral: Islands Once again, although we have access to a great high-speed Internet connection, very few classrooms rely on it for daily instruction. Mainly it is used for programs like Compass Learning or the district online assessment system. Occasionally teachers use it for research projects, but this is not the norm in many classrooms. Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent The district has provided direct access to the high-speed Internet in all classrooms. Each classroom, as well as extra-curricular classrooms, have computers available to them and are covered by wireless access. Teachers have laptops and iPads at their disposal at all times, and are able to project via the SMARTboards in their rooms. Communication Systems Behavioral: Integrated The main form of communication within my building and throughout the district is e-mail. It provides quick means of asking questions and getting answers without interrupting classrooms or meetings with urgent phone calls. Now, even absences and transportation changes are communicated to teachers through e-mail. However, this use does not carry over into the students world. Being an elementary school, our students are too young to have an email address and their parents often do not have consistent access to the Internet. Resource/Infrastructure: Emergent As stated before, every staff member in the district has an e-mail, but this does not carry down to the students in my building. We feel that the responsibility of having an e-mail address and being able to use it correctly is above our students maturity level. Some students can handle it, and many have a Facebook, however, this is not a realm we wish to delve into as a school.

Innovation Filter- Average: Islands

New Technologies Behavioral: Islands In the past few years, my building has been inundated by new technology. Teachers have had to learn a new curriculum, new standards, and incorporate new technology into their daily schedules. This has proven to be a bit much. Teachers, while they have access to technology, often do not use it. They are not given time to play with it or given practice lessons to experiment with. Also, implementation is not a required thing, so many teachers can not find time to fit it in. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands

Teachers enjoy having their new laptops in lieu of the bulky desktops. They like using the iPad for personal and professional uses. They appreciate the student laptops when the computer lab is occupied or it is testing time. However, as an everyday application, many are not so sure. Comprehensive Technologies Behavioral: Intelligent Access to a variety of technology is a given. Teachers have a SKYPE account, and Edmodo account, Dropbox, Gmail, and many others. Some make good use of the programs available, others could use some improvement. Many of our accounts are designed for collaboration which is much easier to do in person in a building of our size. Resource/Infrastructure: Islands Although access is granted to a plethora of software, its use is not as universal. Most teachers are comfortable with the use of email and search engine type technologies. We are getting used to using Compass Learning to individualize our lessons. SKYPE and Dropbox are gaining popularity, however, some teachers just do not have a need for consistent access or collaboration software since our building is so small.

Our Technology Maturity

Excellence Elementary should be categorized as an Islands schools. It lacks the practical application of the resources it has been given, however, there are a multitude of possibilities for growth. Much of this growth lies in the hands of the teachers. Teachers are responsible for using the technology in their classrooms purposefully. When the technology was first purchased, the staff had many things to get used to. There was a new curriculum, new standards, a rigorous schedule of assessments, and eyes evaluating their every move. It was too much new. Technology, since it was a non-essential, got pushed to the side with the knowledge that eventually we would get to it. Now that the dust has settled and the newness has worn off, it is time for teachers to begin embracing this new era. They need to be pushed out of their boxes by the administration. The administration also has a large part to play in the growth or stagnation of 21st century learning. They are the starting point. What they view as important so will the rest of the staff. Administrators must be the ones that raise the expectation surrounding technology. Teachers need to become stakeholders in this process, helping to decide the best ways to move forward. This school has come a long way from where it was three years ago. But like everything, there is always room for growth. To continue to grow our students and assessment scores, technology must become an integrated part of every classroom. Teachers need support along they way as they learn and the freedom to experiment and fail. Students should be given the opportunity to guide their learning and show their responsibility. We should take advantage of the technology we have while it is new and usable.