School Technological Evaluation

School Technological Evaluation

There are those who hear the term “private school”, and envision tweed uniforms, polo ponies, and snooty parents with over privileged children. Although, as we generally know, this is usually not the case. When I got a job at a private school that we will call “Town Academy” for the sake of this piece, I thought that I would be entering a school that was on the cutting edge of technology and educational tools. I myself went to a private school in Houston, Texas and it was a wonderful experience. However, when I went to work at Town Academy I was surprised to see that technologically speaking, the school was sorely lacking. I had previously taught at a public school in Florida that had all the latest technology, large classrooms, and plenty of tech help and support. That school however, had funds available from taxes and the “Adopt a Classroom” program. Town Academy depended on tuition and fundraisers. The technological evaluation made me realize where we were lacking and why.

Demographic: Private school in a rural area. School population was approximately 80% White and 20% Black, Asian, and Hispanic.

Administration

Policy 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – islands

Planning 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – emergent

Budget 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – islands

Administration Information 

Behavioral – islands

Resource/infrastructure – islands

Although there was technology available many did not utilize it. There was a policy in place and certain criteria such as having lesson plans that integrated technology, but it was never followed up on or enforced. As for planning, behavioral, was mainly an island since there was one administrator who really tried to integrate technology, but even then, it remained isolated to a certain subject and not across all subjects. The resource/infrastructure of planning was emergent since there was no formal plan for using technology. For the most part, the administration left it up to the teaching staff. There was a technology budget,  but it was mainly on paper. Most of the fundraising meant for technology would end up being used in part to build new classrooms. As for administration information, behavior and infrastructure is listed as an island. There are many resources that were used by the staff, but not on a regular basis.

Curriculum

Electronic Information 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Assessment 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Curricular Integration 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Teacher Use 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Student Use 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Many of the educators at Town Academy did not know where to begin in using technology in the classroom. Many stuck to the notion they were from the “old school” and if it’s not broke don’t fix it.  The school had electronic resources available for teachers through internet and one smartboard. Teachers had to plan way ahead of time to use the smartboard, but the internet was readily available. Using technology for assessment was used, but mainly for reading in math. There was hardly any exploration in using technology is assessment. Any curriculum integration that went on depended completely on teacher interest and motivation. Many teachers were not able to see the relative advantage of using technology, and some simply did not understand how to integrate technology. As with integrating it in the curriculum, many were just unaware with how to use technology in their classroom.  Students knew how to use technology, but the access was limited. If there were computers for students to use in the classroom it was usually not connected to the internet and it was hard to get slots in the library to use computers that were online.

Support

Stakeholder Involvement 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Administrative Support 

Behavior – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Training 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

Technical/Infrastructure Support 

Behavioral – emergent

Resources/Infrastructure – emergent

The stakeholder involvement is listed as an island in behavioral because they were beginning to understand the importance of technology and a push towards implementing it more. However the resources/infrastructure were emergent since no one really knew how to go about it. It was more talk than action at that point. The school leadership wanted a cutting edge school, but were not sure what all that entailed and believed that enlarging the physical school was more important. However, they were supportive in the use of technology.  There was no training in the use of technology. We would have professional development, but it dealt with how to implement student centered projects and work. Of course this is vital, but professional development never covered technology use. Each classroom usually has one computer that is connected to the internet. Unfortunately, students are not allowed to have access to that computer. There was no formal training or a designated IT person.

Connectivity

LAN  

Behavioral – Integrated

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

WAN 

Behavioral – Integrated

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

Internet Access 

Behavioral – Islands

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

Communication 

Behavioral – Integrated

Resources/Infrastructure – Integrated

The LAN networks at the school both behavioral and resource/infrastructure were integrated in the schools. As well as for WAN networks. They were the main sources for communications between colleges and the leadership. Internet access resources were integrated and readily available for teachers and students if computers were available. During my time as a teacher there, the school went “wireless” which made it easier for teachers to bring laptops into the classroom and work with the internet in a more mobile way. Behavior was labeled an island since many teachers were trying to learn how to integrate it into the classroom curriculum. Communication systems are also labeled as integrated both in behavior and in resources. The main form was mass and individual emails.

Innovation

New Technology 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

Comprehensive Technology 

Behavioral – islands

Resources/Infrastructure – islands

New technology as well as comprehensive technology are labeled an island both behavioral and resource/infrastructure. The administration began to really look into new technology, especially after they installed a smart board in the library and realized all the advantages for using it in the classroom. After the installation of the smart board, there were requests by more teachers and parents for such technology in the individual classroom.

Even though Town Academy did not have much in the way of technology, I don’t want it to seem like the school was bad academically. Kids were still challenged, and the school was going through a period of growth.  Parents were beginning to see the advantages of having technology integrated into curriculum, but have been slower pushing the topic because they feel like their children are getting an adequate education without it. With more teachers putting technology into their classroom, usually by using their own money, parents were hearing their children talk more about what was going on in the classroom and how engaging or “fun” it was to learn. When I arrived at the school, they were trying to move away from using worksheets and  having more project based learning. There is a lot to be said for that. I just hope that they continue to see the advantage of using technology in the classroom as well.


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