Posts tagged technology
The National Education Technology Plan has been drafted with two goals in mind. Goal one is to increase college graduates from 39% to 60%. Goal two is to graduate students at the high school level ready for college (U.S. Department of, 2010). In order to compete in this global economy, our school system will need to change. The current draft states that “technology-based learning and assessment systems will be pivotal in improving student learning and generating data that can be used to continuously improve the education system at all levels” (U.S. Department of, 2010).
Two key words that stand out in the plan are engage and empower. As an educator, I feel it is important to use every resource available in order to help students achieve success. The plan indicates that technology could alleviate the amount of time spent on standardized tests. I understand the need for accountability. I think having the ability to have more class time will be a great way to increase productivity. The most unique piece of information I found in the report was from page 32, “technology can support connections with online communities of individuals who do have the expertise and interest to be judges of students’ work” (U.S. Department of, 2010). The paragraph goes on to say that a teacher or educator could bring in people who are specialist in their field. These experts can then provide feedback of student work. I think that is a great way to further student learning and gives them a chance to see a glimpse of the real world.
U.S. Department of Education, National Educational Technology Plan. (2010). Transforming american education: learning powered by technology Retrieved from www.ed.gov/technology
Even though I work in higher education, it is still important for me to view the technology plans at the K-12 level. The technology plan constructed by K – 12 districts will have a direct affect on the type of freshman college students universities will see in future semesters. The technology plan of my city, Granbury, Texas includes improvement plans for Teaching and Learning, Educator Preparation and Development, Leadership, Administration and Support Services, and Infrastructure for Technology. These four areas of improvement come from the Texas Star Chart.
In Teaching and Learning, Granbury ISD spends $66,500.00. These funds are designed to support “students achieve [through] technology proficiency and academic success
” (“2009-10 Technology plan,” 2009).
In Educator Preparation and Development, Granbury ISD spends $86,500.00. These funds are designed to “promote growth of educators’ effectiveness in integrating technology into the curriculum, achieve proficiency in SBEC Technology Standards, and transform teaching practices by promoting student-centered learning.” (“2009-10 Technology plan,” 2009).
In Leadership, Administration and Support Services, Granbury ISD spends $137,000.00. These funds help “improve quality of communication to facilitate data drivendecision making processes in the areas of student records (achievement, attendance, discipline, and special education), community partnerships/parent awareness and involvement, and other support services.” (“2009-10 Technology plan,” 2009).
In Infrastructure for Technology. Granbury ISD spends $975,000.00. These funds are allocated to achieve “cost-efficient, effective, and safe educational technology infrastructure” (“2009-10 Technology plan,” 2009).
Overall, Granbury ISD has a comprehensive Technology Plan that aligns with the E-Rate system. Each areas has an allotted amount of money to ensure success in that area.
2009-10 technology plan (2009, March 3). Retrieved from http://www.granburyisd.org/984106111545987/lib/984106111545987/_files/Granbury_ISD_Technology_Plan_%282009_-_2010_Submitted_03-31-2009%29.pdf
Understanding student and faculty technology competencies is very important when planning and implementing future technology on university campuses. My department, Online Instructional Support, have developed more interactive trainings over the past few years for faculty and students in order to help them navigate our learning management system and other instructional tools. My department first learned that faculty and students needed more training materials from data collected during several semesters. At the end of each semester we give students and faculty an opportunity to fill out an anonymous survey regarding the services we provide and the satisfaction they have received from our department in the areas of customer service and resources. Anonymous surveys from the past few semesters have indicated that training has been a missing ingredient for student and faculty success. I believe this shows how imperative it is for individuals who are in leadership roles of technology implementation understand the skill set of students and faculty.
In order to further our mission of expanding faculty technology skills, the model we have in place at Tarleton is one-on-one training or whole group trainings based on various topics. Understanding the skills of faculty will help pinpoint professional development opportunities and help develop the pace of technology implementation. This model has worked very successfully for us. Often times it has allowed several faculty members to network, learn, and grow together.
Through active engagement, a school district or company can gauge the pace of advancing technology through continued technology assessment. Without assessing students or faculty, it might be possible to create an atmosphere where too much technology has been implemented at one time. This could lead to confusion, frustration, or feelings of being overwhelmed. It is very important to have faculty and student “buy-in.” Most recently, we have switched e-mail providers at the university. This change was a result of conversations with our student government, technology department, and faculty senate. Each of these leadership groups understood the current limitations of the e-mail system in place and a need to move to a system with more features for an expanding university. As a result, each party involved came to a decision to elect one system over several other candidates. In this regard, it is very important to involve several people who may be affected by a decision.
Still, there may be times where technology assessment is detrimental. With each freshman class, we are seeing an increase in mobile devices on campus. We are still several semesters away from having any wireless infrastructure in place to support all the wireless devices that students have or will have. Although students and faculty have spoken of their perceived needs in this arena, in this case a wireless connection, the university will require more funds allocated to such an initiative. Several questions then arise at who would consume the cost and what exactly are faculty and students using wireless devices in a face to face class and finally do these wireless devices promote active engagement in the classroom. As a result of these questions, many issues are still present before a viable solution can be created. This type of scenario is seen everyday across school districts and college campuses. These healthy questions are the driving force to change.