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Technology Environment Evaluation Summary for Towns High School

Demographics

by Chris Bush

Towns High School serves a large, diverse group of students, often with high mobility. Towns is the largest of two schools in the district, and serves grades 9-12 in one building. Towns student enrollment this year was 2,480 students of whom 51.7% classify as low-income, 2.3% classify as Limited English Proficient and has a graduation rate of 81.2%. Racial/Ethnic information can be found below, as well as student performance on the state assessment.

Technology Environment Evaluation Summary for Towns High School Demographics by Chris Bush Towns High School serves
Technology Environment Evaluation Summary for Towns High School Demographics by Chris Bush Towns High School serves

School evaluation Summary

The following summary is based on the Maturity Model Benchmarks from the Technology Use Plan Primer by Peter H.R. Sibley and is summarized below.

The Emergent Systems Stage is characterized by:

Lack of formal support when using computing technology for instruction

No formal plans, policies or procedures exist to ensure the efficient and appropriate

acquisition or use of technology throughout the Institution Computers are used sporadically throughout the Institution

Institution wide coordination to ensure grade level and program level access is absent

Formal support for teacher training is minimal

The Islands of Technology Stage is characterized by:

Regular use of computers at one or more grade levels and program levels at each school within the Institution on a regularly scheduled basis

Formal plans, policies and procedures exist to facilitate the optimal use of technology in

both instructional and administrative areas throughout the Institution Institution sponsored and school sponsored training is available

Technology has budgetary visibility at the Institutional level and school/program level

The instructional delivery system is somewhat dependent on technology

The Integrated Systems Stage is characterized by:

Regular planned access for students to technology as a means of instruction and a focus of instruction

Teachers' systems also support administrative functions, such as grading, attendance and

electronic mail Technology has a high budgetary visibility at the Institutional and school/program level

Comprehensive plans, policies and procedures for instructional and administrative use of

technology are reviewed and revised regularly The Institution is an advocate of technology training for all personnel

The instructional delivery system is very dependent on technology

The Intelligent Systems Stage is characterized by:

Student access to technology as an indispensable component of instruction

Every curriculum is augmented by intelligent learning systems

Administrative functions are automated, integrated and paper less

Student, teachers and stake holders have access to appropriate systems from home

Technology is one of the three highest expenditures of Institution funds

Technology planning is an integral part of Institution planning

The systematic adoption of new technologies is ongoing

Technology advocates at each organizational unit assist in the introduction of the new

technologies Instructional and administrative personnel are knowledgeable in the use of technology

To get a comprehensive picture of the school’s current state of technological maturity, it was evaluated for these levels through five filters: Administrative, Curricular, Support, Connectivity, and Innovation. The results are displayed in the table on the following pages with rationals included to explain each rating.

Administrative Filter

Category
Category
Rating
Rating
Summary
Summary

Policy:

Island

While the ideas for

Behavioral

improvement exist, no actual progress has been made towards it.

Policy:

Integrated

Only limited policies

Resource/I

exist. Those policies

nfrastruct

that do exist are

ure

ignored for other budget concerns.

Planning:

Emergent

The technology in

Behavioral

the classroom has remained untouched for 5-8 years due to budget concerns. Any plan that may exists is not useful

Planning:

Island

An outline exists,

Resource/I

but has not been

nfrastruct

used.

ure

Budget:

Emergent

A budget does exist

Behavioral

for technology, however it appears to have the lowest priority possible.

Budget:

Island

Only limited

Resource/I

spending on

nfrastruct

technology can

ure

occur from other budgets. For example, science

can’t buy software

to use in the science

computer lab that is only useful to classes taught in science. That money must come from the technology budget, of which there is a limited amount.

     

Administr

Integrated

While many pen and

ative

paper administrative

Informatio

systems have been

n:

replaces, some still

Behavioral

exist. Progress is

     
   

currently being made to replace those that remain

Administr

Intelligent

Depending on their

ative

role, administrators

Informatio

and staff have

n:

access to and utilize

Resource/I

administrative

nfrastruct

systems

ure

 

Curricular Filter

Category

Rating

Summary

Electronic

Island

Resources are

Informatio

available, however

n:

they are massively

Behavioral

underutilized. When they are used for instruction, students use them in a haphazard manner, are not taught how to utilize them correctly, nor are they dependant on them.

Electronic

Integrated

Resources are

Informatio

plentiful, but are

n:

not used.

Resource/I

Resources include

nfrastruct

over 40

ure

subscription based resources, online textbooks and multimedia resources. They are however rarely used.

Assessmen

Island

Online grade books

t:

are required to be

Behavioral

used, and other teaching tools, such as those to check the internet to see if a paper has been plagiarised are

   

available, however other than online grading, technology is rarely used.

Assessmen

Island

The tools exist, and

t:

the school is willing

Resource/I

to support them,

nfrastruct

however there is a

ure

culture of resistance to technology that means the staff rarely uses them.

Curricular

Island

Several

Integratio

departments are

n:

heavily dependant

Behavioral

on technology while some do not use technology beyond word processing.

Curricular

Integrated

The technology is

Integratio

available, but it’s

n:

use varies wildly

Resource/I

teacher to teacher.

nfrastruct

No broadview

ure

exists.

Teacher

Island

Most teachers use

Use:

some technology,

Behavioral

but is often limited to the use of projectors, powerpoint, and the internet.

Teacher

Integrated

There is a teacher

Use:

computer per

Resource/I

classroom, however

nfrastruct

in the offices it is

ure

often 2-3 computers for 12- 20 teachers. The technology exists but it is frequently hard to access.

Student

Island

Student use is

Use:

frequently limited

Behavioral

to word processing and internet access. Some high

   

level use is evident in some departments. For example, the science department often utilizes online experiments.

Student

Emergent

Students rarely use

Use:

technology in the

Resource/I

classroom more

nfrastruct

than a few times a

ure

month. Existing and planned technology often seems aimed more at teachers than students

 

Support Filter

Category

Rating

Summary

Stakehold

Emergent

The only attempt to

er

involve teachers

Involveme

and other staff in

nt:

the decision making

Behavioral

process was to form a committee to discuss the changes. To date, the committee has only met once to be given a presentation on the current state of technology. No other opportunity exists.

Stakehold

Emergent

Almost no

er

participation is

Involveme

allowed.

nt:

Resource/I

nfrastruct

ure

Administr

Island

In general, even

ative

the administration

Support:

has limited

Behavioral

involvment with

     
   

technology planning. While some input is given, it is either turned down or ignored. Only the technology office and high levels of administration seem to make the decisions.

Administr

Island

Almost no support

ative

is given, at most

Support:

twenty minutes of

Resource/I

staff development

nfrastruct

time is set aside for

ure

technology integration

Training:

Emergent

Staff is unwilling to

Behavioral

give up time outside of work hours to train on new forms of technology and the administration is unwilling to use staff development time.

Training:

Emergent

Training is nearly

Resource/I

non-existent. On

nfrastruct

rare occasions

ure

training is offered it is generally a quick overview and then ignored. Most technology training takes place in the form of class taught by other teachers and both taught and attended on a volunteer basis.

Technical/

Emergent

Technical support

Infrastruc

is frequently

ture

informal on a

Support:

limited basis.

Behavioral

Formal technical support is generally limited to hardware issues and are

   

usually not fixed in a time-sensitive manner.

Technical/

Emergent

Technical support

Infrastruc

consists three full

ture

time staff.

Support:

However, of those

Resource/I

three, one is

nfrastruct

responsible for the

ure

district as a whole, and one is responsible solely for running a group of students that serve as roaming technical support.

 

Connectivity Filter

Category

Rating

Summary

Local Area

Integrated

The school is fully

Networkin

wired to a network

g (LAN):

with at least one

Behavioral

computer in each room having a connection. The wireless network has limited connectivity.

Local Area

Island

Each staff member

Networkin

has their own

g (LAN):

network drive, with

Resource/I

another serving as

nfrastruct

a public drive for

ure

the district. Limited by computer access which has been discussed previously

     

District

Island

District network is

Area

for data only.

Networkin

g (WAN):

Behavioral

     

District

Island

District network

Area

 

had frequent issues

Networkin

and limited

g (WAN):

connection speed if

Resource/I

accessed from

nfrastruct

outside the schools

ure

network.

Internet

Island

Internet connection

Access:

speed and access is

Behavioral

limited. High regulation of content means that only the most basic of internet searches are useful.

Internet

Integrated

All classrooms have

Access:

internet access,

Resource/I

although even for

nfrastruct

teachers it is

ure

limited. Staff are constantly warned to limit bandwidth use, and even then the internet is frequently slow to the point of being unusable.

Communic

Intelligent

Email is the

ation

primary method of

Systems:

communication

Behavioral

between staff as well as the administration. However, the way several items are set up, including mobile access and district wide address books need to be looked at.

Communic

Island

All staff has an

ation

email address that

Systems:

is frequently used.

Resource/I

Starting last year,

nfrastruct

all freshman

ure

students were giving gmail accounts. However, all personal student accounts are

   

frequently blocked, and with no staff development time spent on google apps, staff use of google apps with students is limited.

Innovation Filter

Category

Rating

Summary

New

Emergent

Some teachers

Technolog

frequently adopt

ies:

new technologies,

Behavioral

but they are the minority. Some departments have taken to having staff share new technology every month, but even during those meetings staff resistance to new methods is quite high.

New

Island

New technologies

Technolog

are encouraged,

ies:

but rarely

Resource/

supported

Infrastruc

ture

Comprehe

Island

Limited forms of

nsive

new technologies

Technolog

and is limited

ies:

primarily to basic

Behavioral

software, projectors and scanners. Audio/Visual or the use of voice recognition is discouraged.

Comprehe

Island

The technology

nsive

currently supported

Technolog

is widely used, but

ies:

there are many

Resource/

roadblocks, both in

Infrastruc

 

terms of behavior

ture

and infrastructure to support any additional forms of technology.

Conclusion

In general, the best way to categorized Towns High School would be somewhere between Emergent and Island. Numerous attempts to increase the technology use in the building have been attempted by various groups, however they have all mostly failed. The reasons for this are numerous including budget issues, current infrastructure that prevents easy adoption of new technology, and resistance not only from the administration, but including the staff and even board of education. This is what I find to be the most concerning aspect of the technology issues and Towns High School, not that they exist, but the numerous roadblocks that exist in trying to overcome it. Barring a funding bonanza or drastic change in the attitude of the administration, the best thing to focus on is ways to improve the technology that we have. Teachers need to work on changing the attitude of other staff through demonstrations in what they have accomplished in their own classrooms. In addition, with the changes coming in state standards that require the use of technology staff need to push through and find ways to incorporate technology in their classroom. Administrators need to find ways to secure funding through upcoming grants. Unfortunately, the best use of any money received should be in the technological backbone, increasing the internet and network capabilities of the school. While it is the least interesting use of money for the staff and students, as it stands and new technology, be it computers, tablets, or other mobile devices will be hampered by the overall lack of infrastructure present in the school. Overall, technology is likely the largest challenge facing Towns High School for the next several years.