Technology Professional Development Plan for the Implementation and Support of Wissahickon School District eClassrooms and MacBook Carts
Dianne P. Krause GRIT 687: Technology and the Administrator April 22, 2009
Table of Contents
Needs Assessment •
Goal 1: Hire an ITS
Goal 2: Needs Assessment and Professional Development Plan
Goal 3: Peer Coaching Model
Goal Go al 4: Iden Identi tify fy Le Lead ad Techn echnol ology ogy Teach eacher erss
page page 11
Goal 5: Online Support
Monitoring and Local Evaluation
Partnerships and Local Support
Budget Narrative & Sustainabilit y
With the addition of an Instructional Technology Technology Specialist and in collaboration with the current nine staff developers, this project strives to develop a strong professional development plan for the smooth implementation and continued support of the art of teaching in a classroom of today - fully equipped with an interactive whiteboard, projector, speakers, and student access to MacBook laptops and other peripherals like digital digital cameras, printers, scanners, video cameras, etc. In addition to a variety of technology-focused workshops, in-service days, after-school workshops and the summer institute, the professional development plan will consist of a peer-coaching model that will focus on technology integration and the evolution of teaching and learning. The two Instructional Technology Technology Specialists will work with the staff developers to enhance their technology skills as well as strengthen their knowledge base in the strategies needed to coach teachers in the effective infusion of technology. technology. The staff developers will then partner with the teachers to develop d evelop lessons, units and projects that effectively utilize the new tools and resources available to them and their st students. udents. In addition, this plan will will give teachers the opportunities they need to learn how to evolve into better educators and transform their teaching to better serve the needs ne eds of the students of today.
Needs Assessment Current Conditions
The past two years have been alive with change and innovation in the area of Instructional T Technology echnology in the Wissahickon Wissahickon School District. In February of 2007, the newly hired Director of Technology Technology formed the District Technology Planning Committee consisting consisting of staff, students, parents and community m members. embers. The goal of the committee was to create a vision and action plan for bringing technology back up to speed as a tool usable in classrooms and offices throughout throughout the district. The committee realized that the needs of the learner have indeed changed over the years and Wissahickon School District needed to develop a technology infrastructure that supports these 21st century learning skills. In addition, the district needed to build a “Learning Infrastructure” Infrastructure” in the classrooms to support 21st century learning. learning. This Learning Infrastructure would need to be comprised of the technology tools tools and resources to support teaching teaching and learning in th thee classroom. Although this committee committee has since been dissolved, the plans it made have not. Since then, there has been an influx influx of technology on all fron fronts. ts. Each faculty member currently ha hass a MacBook laptop for his or her professional and personal use, complete with the iLife, iWork, Office software suites and many other applications. There are several new administrative and instructional instructional systems such as the library database system (Destiny), student information and grading system (Sapphire), cafeteria system (NutriKids), transportation system, course management system (Moodle), substitute scheduling system (AESOP), new district website, a Professional Learning Network (Ning), (Ning), and other new applications and web resources. Each school in the district is now equipped with carts containing 30 MacBooks each - 2 at each elementary level (3 at one school), 15 at the middle school, and 14 at the high school – 13 funded by the PA Classrooms for the Future (CFF) Grant. In addition to the 13 1:1 classrooms at the high school, there are three other pilot 1:1 classrooms – in third, fifth and sixth grades. The high school and middle school still contain contain centralized computer labs in the library library,, music and art areas and those machines (mostly PCs) have been updated regularly regularly.. Individual classroom technology has also started to see a turn towards a more digital and multi-sensory model. For the past two school years, teachers have written proposals to have their classrooms equipp equipped ed as 4
"eClassrooms". According to WSD's definition, definition, an eClassroom is a classroom equipped with a SMART SMARTBoard Board interactive whiteboard with projector and speakers, still and video digital cameras, a printer/scanner/copier, printer/scanner/copier, and of course, the teacher's MacBook. Currently the district has 140 eClassroom spaces, includ including ing all the elementary and high school libraries. The plan for 2009-2010 is to convert all the remaining "core" subject areas into eClassrooms, including all elementary grade-level teachers, and at the secondary level, all teachers of English, Math, Social Studies and Science. Science. There will also also be 10 additional additional eClassrooms up up for proposal for for special area teachers. teachers. Then finally,, in the 2010-2011 school year, there will be SMART finally SMARTboards boards hanging in each instructional space in the district. The district’s district’s Strategic Plan states that student computer access will also increase until there is at least a 1:3 ratio at the elementary level, 1:2 at the middle school level and 1:1 at the high school, where the students will take the computers home with them. In-service days devoted to technology technology,, summer institute offerings and after school workshops throughout the school year are where the majority of technology professional development development occurs. When the MacBooks were introduced in the fall of 2008, all teachers attended a 6-hour “Meet your Mac” session where they learned the basics of using a Macintosh computer and how to make the transition from being a PC user easily. Al Alll new eClassroom teachers have attended one-day trainings that provides an overview of how to use the hardware of the board, demonstration and exploration of the SMART Notebook Notebook Software, and discussions on how to use this new audiovisual digital digital environment in teaching and learning. In-service days devoted to technology hav havee been “pick your workshop” types of days with a variety of offerings taught by teacherss, staff developers, and administrators. The workshops and trainings always have great feedback and the teachers learn the basics. However, they are "oneday shot" types of trainings, and some teachers walk away overwhelmed with all that was taught in such a short time period. For the past seven years, teachers in Wissahickon Wissahickon have had the opportunity to work with staff developers for many things: lesson planning, project development, development, discipline and behavior strategies, assessmen assessmentt design, and so forth. Not until the past two years have the staff developers been truly integrating integrating technology into their strategies and daily meetings with teachers. Although several of the staff develop developers ers are very tech savvy, others aren’t, which results in much inequity as far as how much technology staff development is occurring on a one-toone basis. To aid in this, the district hired an Instructional Technology Technology Specialist (ITS) who also serves as the 5
Classrooms for the Future coach. coach. The ITS works directly wi with th the teachers but because there are ov over er 400 teachers in the district, does not have the time or resources to delve into regular daily planning with them or accurately give them feedback on the technology integration integration they are attempting with their students. Therefore, I believe that the teachers have not been given the continued coaching needed to understand what their new digital classrooms can do for their classes and their students.
All this new equipment and access is tremendous, but there has naturally developed a need for staff development on the use of the eClassrooms, MacBooks, applications applications and web resources with students. Most teachers are embracing these tools and want to learn more about how to best use them effectively in their classes. No doubt, there are a lot of great things already going on in WSD with iMovie, Comic Life, V VoiceThread, oiceThread, Ning, Wikispaces, Wiki spaces, Blogger, Moodle, and so forth. Some teachers are really starting to understand how the use of technology in their teaching can transform their students’ students’ llearning. earning. However, there are still teachers who don't see the need for such tools and don't understand that incorporating digital media and technology into their classes is what the students need and expect. As Picciano states, “Many teachers are not convinced of the benefits of using computer technology. technology. Some teachers feel threatened and see it as impersonal and an infringement” (240). Wissahickon Wiss ahickon surely has a few educators who feel that way wa y about technology. technology. Up until next school school year, eClassroom teachers teachers have been a select group. Most of the teachers who submitted proposals are considered to also be good with technology and have become school leaders in technology integration. Now, Now, starting in September, September, almost all the teachers teachers will be eClassroom eClassroom teachers. As in any district, district, our faculty has a wide range of abilities with technology, technology, but they will be expected to teach with the new SMARTboards SMAR Tboards hanging in their classrooms. In addition, they will have more access to MacBook laptops for their students to use. They classrooms in the Wissahickon Wissahickon School District are finally being equi equipped pped for the students of today. However, without without a strong support and training structure, the equipment may go unused or used improperly. improperly. Without Without the proper training, teachers will simply digitize digitize their current lessons and instead instead of lecturing from an old Elmo overhead projector, projector, they will lecture with notes projected on an expensive screen. If the 6
district really wants to get the most bang for their buck and transform the teaching and learning that is taking place within the classrooms, then the teachers need to be shown how to use the equipment and resources correctly, correctly, and not only that, to design lessons, units and projects that reflect understanding of how the tools can best be used in their subject areas. It is well known that using using multi-media in teaching teaching can transform dull, boring boring lectures into engaging and interesting interesting discussions discussions about the curricula. But, do all the teachers know know that? Opportunities mu must st exist for the teachers to learn new methodologies and strategies for teaching to the students of today. today. Professional development should not be served up in “one-shot” workshops or quick fixes as they have been in the past. A national national study conducted by Sheingold and Hadley in 1990 recommends recommends that “there should be ample support and time for teachers to not only learn how to use the technology but also to plan carefull carefully y for its use in the classroom. This This may even require fundamental chan changes ges in the way teachers teach.” (Piccian (Picciano o 241). Picciano also states “educators have observed that the natural evolution of technology is such that it changes the nature of teaching” (240). But why change the nature of teaching teaching at all? some some may ask. Plain and simple – our educational educational system as it stands today is not successfully preparing our youth youth for life after high school. A collaboration collaboration of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, The Conference Board, Corporate Voices Voices for Working Working Families, and the Society for Human Resources Management conducted an “in-depth study of the corporate perspective on the readiness of new entrants into the U.S. workforce by level of educational attainment” (Report 2). This study’s report shocking shows that “High School Graduates are: o
“Deficient” in the basic knowledge and skills of Writing in English, Mathematics, and Reading Comprehension,
“Deficient” in Written Communications and Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, both of which may ma y be dependent on basic knowledge and skills,
“Deficient” in Professionalism/ Work Work Ethic
“Adequate” in three “very important” applied skills: Information Technology Technology Applic Application, ation, Diversity, Diversity, and Teamwork/Collaboration. eamwork/Collaboration. “ (Report 11).
Common sense suggests that something needs to change. change. Although there are some teachers at Wissahickon Wissahickon breaking out of the mold of traditional teaching methods, the majority of them are still teaching the way they were taught. Although it is clear that change is needed, I believe a true support structure is not yet in place to sufficiently transform the teaching and learning that is occurring in the Wissahickon School District. 7
Teachers need to be continually supported and taught not only how to properly use the tools and software, but also how to evaluate and reflect on the way they deliver content and teach their curriculum. They need to be given the data, research, and resources to help them learn better ways of teaching and best practices in project based and authentic learning. And above all, they need to be provided with an understanding, supportive, supportive, and helpful technology staff development coach to guide them through the transition and evolution of their teaching and their students’ learning.
This project strives to support the teachers with the new equipment, tools, and resources available to them and their students and to also give them opportunities to learn how to change the wa way y they teach to better suit the students of today. today. I hope to develop a strong professional development plan for the smooth implementation implementation and continued support of the art of teaching in a classroom fully equipped with an interactive whiteboard, projector, speakers, and access to MacBook laptops and other peripherals like digital cameras, printers, scanners, video cameras, etc. Goal 1: Hire an Instructional Technolog Technology y Specialist Speciali st
I would begin by hiring an additional Instructional Instructional Tech Technology nology Specialist (ITS) so that there will be two one working at the elementary level and one at the secondary level. The new hire will work closely with the current ITS on programs, trainings, resources, and so forth. Then together, together, they will collaborate with the nine staff developers in the district. Although the ITS will also work with the teachers, the staff developers developers are the ones who have vast knowledge of the different curricula, experience with peer coaching and are better suited to work with teachers on a daily basis. With With the help of the ITS, the staff developers will begin to learn which technology tools and resources are best to use when and how to use them correctly with different subject areas and grade levels. Goal 2: Needs Assessment Assessment & Professional Professional Development Plan Design Design
Together with the Director of Technology and the Curriculum department, the two Instructional Technology Specialists will put together together a plan for technology professional development for the upcoming school year. year. Before the plan is created, however, a survey will need to be designed to assess the current technology expertise of the faculty.. This survey should include questions faculty questions pertaining to basic computer skills, specifi specificc applications, comfort level of integrating technology with with students, and individual learnin learning g styles and needs. From there, a committee should be formed to put the actual Technology Technology Staff Developmen Developmentt Plan in place. The committee should consist of teachers, administrators and students students so that all viewpoints can be represented. The student members could give valuable insight on what their generation already knows about the tools and resources and could provide feedback on how they learn best. 9
Although the actual plan will be put together after the new hire is in place and the assessment is conducted, the current ITS and Technology Director Director already have a sketch of what the professional development should look like. Since it is better to offer offer teachers “a variety of activities th that at take place over an extended peri period od of time to allow participants to practice and experiment” (Picciano 245), this plan provides many professional development opportunities to teachers on a range of topics concerning the use of the new tools and equipment: MacBooks, software, web resources, Moodle, SMART SMART Boards, etc. In addition to basic "how-to" workshop workshops, s, there will be sessions about project-based learning, authentic learning, differentiation with technology, inquiry-based learning, problem solving with technology technology and so forth. These workshops, conducted conducted by the ITS, staff developers and teachers, will be offered during school hours, after school, during in-service days, recorded on video, and through an online interactive environment such as a s Elluminate. Goal 3: Peer Coaching Coaching Model
The most important element of this plan is the implementation of a professional coaching model that will be served by the current nine staff developers in the district. “School-based coaching helps educators educators envision a world where professional development means showing and not telling; where teachers can learn and improve their practice in a reflective, supportive setting, and where coaches serve as liaisons between research and practice, bringing the latest findings to where they are most needed-the classroom” (Russo). Although Although past practice has been that the Curriculum department oversees the staff developers and their activities, I propose that the staff developers meet with the two Instructional Technology Technology Specialists at least twice a month to share, collaborate, and learn. The goal is to provide the current nine staff developers with consistent training and support so that they can be well versed in the technologies supported supported by the district as well as successful coaching methodologies methodologies.. They should receive ongoing support in the following following areas: basic use of MacBook applications and popular web resources as listed in the eToolBox eToolBox (http://etoolbox.wikispaces.com), (http://etoolbox.wikispaces.com), effective integration strategies for the supported resources, current and successful technology coaching methods, literacy and learning in the 21st century, project-based and constructivist learning, learning, new software and applications relevant to teaching. All in all, the staff developers need to be brought up to date and learn enough to feel confident in coaching teachers how to use and design lessons with the tools and resources. Two Two of the resources that will be used in staff development will be the ISTE NETS Standards for Students (www.iste.org/NETS/ (www.iste.org/NETS/ ) and the Framework for 21 st Century Learning 10
(www.21stcenturyskills.org ). If the ITS teach the staff developers, developers, and the staff develo developers pers teach the teachers, who teaches the IT ITS? S? This plan also consists of funding to allow for the ITS and staff developers to attend workshops, training sessions and conferences to expand their knowledge of the technologies available today and how to best use them in education. Teachers will also be encouraged to attend. Anyone who attends such conferences and trainin trainings gs will be expected to share what they learned so that all the staff developers and ITS can learn from the experience of the one who attended. Goal 4: Identify Identif y Lead Technology echnolog y Teachers
There have already been several teachers at Wissahickon Wissahickon who have “bubbled up” and have proven to be very good teachers with technology. technology. It is this plan’s plan’s goal to identify these teachers and to recognize and reward them in their endeavors. endeavors. These teachers will als also o be called upon to help train train and lead workshops in th thee technologies and best practices that they have employed employed in their daily instruction. In my opinion, although the ITS and staff developers are knowledgeable in methodologies and strategies, it is the teachers who are the true experts in their fields. If we can tap the knowledge of our our best teachers, we could very well creat createe a teacher technologymentoring program and offer regular demonstrations demonstrations of best practices. Wissahickon Wissahickon recently hosted an “Open Space Technology” Technology” in-service day during which the teachers formed the groups, chose the topics, and set the agendas themselves. The feedback from this in-service day was overwhelmingly positive positive and suggestions were made to make it even better. The teachers want to, and should, learn from each other. Goal 5: Online Support
This plan also calls for the continuation of the use and expansion of all of Wissahickon’ Wissahickon’ss online resources. The district website, Moodle, eToolBox eToolBox and Ning will be continually updated updated and expanded. The use of the Ning for sharing materials and lessons will be encouraged. Experience with my own Personal Learning Network (PLN) through Twitter, Twitter, blogs, blogs, and wikis has shown that the more teachers start to share resources and see others doing so, the more open they are to sharing. WSD’ WSD’ss Ning environment has yet to break out of the mold of "what's mine is mine" but I think with a bit more encouragement and coaching from the staff developers and ITS, teachers may be more confident and willing to share their resources and lessons. This plan strives to educate teachers in the concept of Personal Learning Networks and their value in their roles as educators today. today. In addition, building up a collegial 11
learning environment and a database of lessons, projects, units and resources would prove to be valuable for years to come.
Monitoring and Local Evaluation
Evaluation of this plan must begin with the teachers directly affected by the professional development workshops, training, training, and instructional coaching. Surveys should be given at the end of training sessions for feedback and suggestions for improvement. improvement. Periodic input (3 times a year) about staff developers is also important, and interviews and surveys should be conducted with teachers by the Instructional Technol Technology ogy Specialists and/or the Principals. Survey and interview results would be used to modify modify,, transform and change the way trainings and coaching interactions are conducted. Teachers Teachers will also be encouraged to suggest new types of workshops and new topics for training. The Instructional Technology Technology Specialists wil willl gather these ideas and design programs based on the needs of the teachers they are supporting. “Because a major purpose of staff development is to have teachers and others using technology in their classrooms or offices, evaluation should also provide for some follow-up to determine whether participants have in fact been able to transfer their training to actual application” (Picciano 248). I propose that teachers should be observed regularly (at least 3 times a year) by their ad administrator ministrator,, the ITS and/or the staff developers to gauge whether they are truly integrating integrating technology and and transforming their teaching teaching practices. Although eventually eventually this should lead to a revision of the formal teacher Observation and Evaluation, it could simply begin as an avenue to gather data to better train that teacher. teacher. With the combi combination nation of workshops, observations observations and follow-up with peer coaching, teachers will truly get the differentiated and personalized professional development that they want and need.
Partnerships and Local Support
As this plan is directly associated to professional development, it seeks to find knowledgeable persons from community members and make use of computer professionals, trainers, motivational speakers, education reformists, etc to conduct training, serve as guest speakers, and/or to advise the district in the area of instructional technology and the needs of employers today. today. The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit (MCIU) will be an integral partner in this endeavor as they provide many technology workshops during the school year and summer. The Instructional Technology Technology Specialists and trainers at MCIU could be brought to Wissahickon Wissahickon to conduct workshops and training sessions. sessions. Inquiries will be made at area colleges (Chestnut Hill College, Montgomery County Community College, Arcadia University, University, Gwynedd Merc Mercy y College) about internship programs and to offer our district as a place their their students are welcome to come to serv servee in a support or training cap capacity acity.. The ParentTeacher organizations of the district will be encouraged to support the infusion of technology and sponsor events to help fund vendor professional development development and training workshops. The community of Wissahickon Wissahickon is very generous and, I believe, could provide more support to the schools of the district in many areas, including technology.
Budget Narrative & Sustainability
The first thing that needs to be done when this project is implemented is to complete a budget detailed worksheet. “The use of a budget worksheet requires an examination of all the costs associated with the proposal proposal”” (Picciano 286) and therefore requires attention to the main categories of a technology program budget: hardware, software, personnel, training, repairs/upgrades, supplies/furniture, and other categories based on the district’s need (Picciano 290). Although the completed worksheet worksheet will include more exact numbers, the following elements must be considered for this plan:
Hardware & Supplies o
5 Digital Cameras for staff developer/ITS use - $500 - $1,000
Gifts and “take aways” for teacher leaders, presenters, guest speakers - $1,000
Upgrades/repair and misc. supply expenses for ITS and Staff Developers - $1,000 (will vary)
MacBook and case for new hire - $1.400
Expense budget for professional organization memberships, journals, journals, books, webinars, etc. $2,000
Costs associated with software upgrades, if any
Costs associated with survey development and hosting (Zoomerang.com) - $149
New Instructional Technology Technology Specialist salary – varies by experience but an anywhere ywhere from 50k-75k most likely
Staff developer and current ITS salary salar y – already included in current budget
Expense budget to pay for vendors and outside consultants for training purposes – varies by
presenter, but up to $10,000 could be budgeted. Additional money budgeted for workshop honorariums and other stipends for conducting afterschool or evening workshops - $3.000 14
Release time for teachers, ITS and staff developers to work together and collaborate at least twice a month.
Conference, workshop and training budget for the two ITS, staff developers, and teachers – varies by venue, but up to $10,000 could be budgeted.
How is this plan going to be funded? This plan could very well be included in the School Board’s Board’s budget for technology,, but there are other fund resources to consider. First and foremost, funds for the Classrooms for the technology Future coach position could be continued to be used to supply funding for the salary, benefits and conference attendance of the ITS/ CFF Coach. “On February 17th, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Act (ARRA) into law. As part of the nation's economic recovery recover y strategy, strategy, this stimulus bill includes at least $2.6 billion for Pennsylvania's schools” (www.pde.state.pa.us/stimulus (www.pde.state.pa.us/stimulus). According to documents documents posted on on the Pennsylvania Department of Education website, Wissahickon Wissahickon is due to receive stimulus funding that could be used towards this plan: $8,200 for Title Title IID and $220,700 for Fiscal Fiscal Stabilization Grant Grants. s. Although W WSD SD is also slated to receive more funding for IDEA, I do not believe those funds could be used for this plan. As outlined in the Pennsylvania School District Guide to the Federal Stimulus Education Investments published by the Pennsylvania Department of Education in March of 2009, the Title IID funds can be used for “ Integrating technology into the
school curriculum and providing providing related professional development” (Guide 2). The entire stimulus-funde stimulus-funded d amount for $8,200 could go toward this plan. In addition, the Stabilization funds funds,, according to the aforementioned Guide, can be used “to pay for ongoing costs of existing programs” (Guide 2). The “existing programs” in this plan are the nine staff developers, the summer institute workshops, the in-service days devoted to technology and any other professional development that has been previously established at Wissahickon. Wissahickon. Therefore, the Stabilization funding could also be used in this plan. Lastly, Lastly, the local community and businesses should be “tapped” for additional financial resources and grants.
As long as the support structure as it exists today remains in place, with the addition of the Instructional 15
Technology Specialist, this plan can be sustained very easily and inexpensively without much increase in funding after the first year. Eventually though, though, more peer coaches/staff developers may be hired which would add to the expense of personnel and training. training. Continued expenses include, include, but are not limited to: to: salaries and benefits for th thee Instructional Technology Technology Specialists and staff developers; distribution and upkeep of individual MacBook computers; expense of conferences, workshops, trainings, webinars, books, and journals for teachers, staff developers and ITS, and payment payment for guest speakers and vendo vendorr trainers. With the exception of the new staff staff member, the increased conference and supply expenses mentioned above and expert speakers, all of those expenses are already established in the current budget.
If accepted as outlined, I believe this project would lead to the successful creation and implementation of a professional development plan to fully and continually support the faculty of Wissahickon Wissahickon School District with technology integration integration strategies of the state-of-the-art equipment and resources available available to them. The five goals as outlined contribute to a comprehensive plan including including support from all levels of the district: students, teachers, staff developers, Instructional Technology Technology Specialists, administrators administrators and even community members. Evaluation and assessment strategies will be in place to provide a continual feedback loop of training-feedback-modification. Financial demands for this plan are not very high but the district can supplement their own technology budget with the help of state and federal funding. And, with the aid of local partners such as colleges and universities, the MCIU and business and industry, industry, the teachers of Wissahickon Wissahickon will be provided with the training and education they the y need to effectively integrate technology into their classes and to learn how to best transform their teaching to meet the needs of the students of today and the citizens of tomorrow.
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