TPACKing for a Wonderful Educational Trip/Group 5
We named our school MCCL to represent the large number of Iowa communities that have combined with other communities to create a blended district. With a diverse group of stakeholders, it is highly important to reach for consensus. The student body is 70% Caucasian, 10% African American, 5% Hispanic, and 5% Asian. Above 50% of these students receive free or reduced lunch. The students range from lower to average sophistication levels with technology.
Written by: Mande Alexander, Chelsey Heidemann, Clay Edwards, Linda Engel
Based upon our research, we believe that computer literacy is a basic right for all students, and everyone should use technology to support their learning or work. A 1:1 program offers students and teachers resources twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Further, providing all members of the learning community with equal access levels the terrain that all must navigate to be successful.
Providing a 1:1 environment allows for project-based learning that provides access for students at all levels. Teachers have opportunities to work collaboratively with those in similar situations, whether locally or across the world. Collaboration leads to a better learning environments. Students have the same opportunities to collaborate with peers and experts. Learning is no longer confined to a classroom. We feel that a 1:1 program increases student motivation because more real-world situations can be explored. Those with experiential learning and technology skills are more likely to succeed in higher education and business.
MCCL school develops citizens who are able to think critically, communicate, collaborate, and problem solve in a digital environment. Engaged students connect and apply that learning in the classroom and throughout the world that they help create. Making technology an integral part of the learning experiences rather than merely an optional, additional skill allows all involved to focus on learning deeply and applying that knowledge in meaningful ways.
The school in this analysis is below average is technological sophistication. Both the middle and high schools share computer carts, which hinders the use of technology for everyone. Additionally, teachers are not completely familiar with 21st century tools due the lack of technology. This assessment was gathered through teacher surveys in the district that explored types of technology currently in use and and readily available.
The curriculum is being aligned with Iowa Core standards, which requires teachers to include 21st Century Skills. Currently, there are gaps in areas regarding technology; teachers and administration will assess these gaps. After evaluating the assessments, curricula will be updated to integrate technology throughout the school.
The network is currently designed for very low traffic. After collaborating with the local Internet provider (who conducted an independent needs assessment), a major expansion of the network has been deemed essential. The upgrade occurs in the summer of 2012, and the network’s capabilities will be sufficient for over 200 devices by August.
Policies must be created to ensure students and teachers are using the devices appropriately. These policies include: acceptable-use, technological security, device maintenance, and determining the extent to which students may customize devices and add applications.
The administration has researched the effects of a 1:1 program in school districts our size through research and on-site visits. The research shows that a 1:1 learning environment provides genuine improvements in the learning environment. School visits provided opportunity to assess increases in scores on summative tests, such as the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Administrators are investigating which devices will best student and budget constraints. Along with choosing the proper devices, the administration was intimately involved with the decisions about infrastructure upgrades.
Despite rural demographics, the community encourages the adoption of a 1:1 learning environment for students. At the beginning of the school year, parents received emails requesting their participation in a survey that asked about computer availability in homes, the type of Internet connection, and parents’ thoughts on bringing more technology into the district. The promotion of renewing a PPEL grant was also undertaken; this grant provides funding for the 1:1 initiative in future school years. Meetings are planned with parents to discuss policies and procedures at the beginning of the school year, before students receive their devices,
Merely adding technology will not automatically improve learning environments or student engagement. Our school believes that the key is providing teachers with the proper tools. As part of this school's vision, teachers will incorporate technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge to create efficient and effective learning activities with students.
The MCCL group members are elementary, middle and high school teachers; only one currently teaches in a 1:1 environment. The group selected 7th grade Literacy standards for this project because literacy is important across academic levels and subject areas. In both the technology and curricular plans described in these documents, students and teachers have personal devices. The Iowa Core Standards website provides documentation of middle school standards beginning on page 44. During planning, the content was considered before placing technology into lessons.
The group organized the chosen standards and started considering various activities. The focus is on activities that develop higher-order thinking skills. The group strove to have the technology fit naturally with each activity. Many of the technologies mentioned in the lessons have proven to work well with students.
Moving traditional lesson plan design into the TPack paradigm presented some problems for group members unfamiliar with the grade level or subject area selected. The group has experience incorporating technology into more familiar subjects and grade levels. The Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) was invaluable in helping us upgrade the quality of technology usage in our lessons. Despite this helpful tool, creating content for unfamiliar grade levels and subject areas can be frustrating. Despite frustrations, the more one uses both the TPaCK process and the TIM, the more fluent and facile one becomes at seamlessly integrating technology into curriculum.
Our group presents a series of activities designed to provide teachers with concrete examples of TPaCK philosophy - TPack 7th Grade Literacy
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