What Does Effective Classroom Technology Look Like?

Program Design, Research  Tagged , 3 Comments »

The use of technology Digital Communicationin the classroom to engage and motivate students is hardly a new concept. The question that both teachers and policy-makers have been asking themselves almost from the moment that the first computer landed in a classroom is a simple one: “Which kinds of programs work?”

In 1998 the Milliken Family Foundation released a study that identified 7 dimensions of effective technology integration. Even though this report was released over 10 years ago, the focus and dimensions that were identified are hardly dated. In fact, 10 years of experience in the classroom and the release of standards such as those created by ISTE for both teachers and students have validated the domains of learning that lead to effective technology integration. (You can download and read the full report here in PDF format.)

Here’s a brief recap of the identified dimensions of technology integration that we’ll be using in Project SMaRt as we examine our program:

1. Learners: Are learners using the technology in ways that deepen their understanding of the content in the academic standards and, at the same time, advance their knowledge of the world around them? Does the student use contemporary technology, communication networks, and associated learning contexts to engage in relevant, real-life applications of academic concepts?

2. Learning Environments: Is the learning environment designed to achieve high academic performance by students through the alignment of standards, research-proven learning practices, and contemporary teaching methods? Does the school culture enable teachers to individually and collectively improve the learning and teaching process through the use of technology? Is there sufficient access to technology tools, data, and the means to examine and manipulate them?

3. Professional Competency: Are educators fluent with technology and do they use technology tools to impact student achievement? Do teachers provide learning contexts that require students to take on more independent roles in their own learning?

4. System Capacity: Is the education system re-engineering itself to systematically meet emerging needs of a changing global workforce and new educational objectives? Is there a system to build human capacity through training and mentoring?

5. Community Connections: Are key community and school stakeholders committed and involved in the planning, funding, implementing, and evaluating the system’s use of technology? Is their clear articulation of roles, expectations, implementation, time lines, and accountability?

6. Technology Capacity: Are there adequate technology, networks, electronic resources and support to meet the goals of the system? Is capacity evenly distributed? Do all students and teachers have equal opportunities?

7. Accountability: Is there agreement on what success with the successful use of technology looks like? Are there measures in place to track progress, report results, and change as needed?

While there may be individual points to argue in this study, there is much to be gained by asking these questions. As you examine your own priorities and the priorities of your school, how would you answer? What changes do you feel need to be made in the approach you are taking with technology integration? And where do you feel changes are needed?

Feel free to comment here, or save your questions for our face-to-face workshops where questions like these will be examined in more detail.

Clarification on Training Dates

Dates to Remember, Program News  Tagged No Comments »

Hi everyone–

My apologies for any confusion this has caused, but the memo that went out from Gary Weidenhamer to Project SMaRT participants had a date listed incorrectly. Here is the iron-clad definitive word on training dates:

SMaRT Ambassadors meet on Saturday, August 29th, 2009 at 9:00 am. Location: Lantana Middle School.

ALL Project SMaRT participants (LEAD teachers and SMaRT Ambassadors) meet on Saturday, September 26th, 2009 at 9:00 am. Location: Lantana Middle School.

Please review the Calendar of Events page for the trainings that have been scheduled through June 2010. Times, dates, and location are correct as posted.

We Will Now Take Your Questions…

Program News 14 Comments »

Have a question about the program? This is the place to ask away. While not every question can be answered at this time we’re happy to share with you the direction that the program is taking and some of the plans that we have in store.

Fire away!

Greetings! And Welcome Back!

Program News  Tagged 3 Comments »

Greetings all!

First of all, let me say how excited I am to be working with such a dynamic group of teachers! I’ve gotten to know many of you over the years as we’ve all worked in the educational technology field, and I look forward to making lots of new connections this year.

If you haven’t already done so, please review the letter sent on August 21st by Gary Weidenhamer, Director of Educational Technology. You can find a copy at the link above, or look through your e-mail. Either way, there is an August 26th, 2009 deadline to indicate your intention of remaining in the program by way of a simple online form. Or,  go to the “Intent to Participate” form here and indicate your intention to remain with the program.

We have an exciting year ahead of us with lots of terrific new opportunities! If you have comments you can post them here. For program questions please post to the “Questions and Answers” blog posting immediately below this one. Thanks!

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