Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Positive Academic Results with Technology Infused Curriculum

The 2009 National Trends Report: Focus on Technology Integration in America's Schools describes how five states incorporated the use of technology and increased academic achievement in specific content areas.

English, Math, Science and Social Studies--Georgia
The Instructional Technology Enhanced Environment (ITEE) grant teachers at Georgia's Claxton High School, 11th grade, represent all four academic core content areas: English/language arts, science, social science, and mathematics. Teachers plan common units which incorporate technology. Significant gains were made in all areas with the greatest gains in math and science with a 15% and 16% increase, respectively.

The Vallejo EETT-C Project involved Franklin Middle, Solano Middle, Springstowne Middle, and Vallejo Middle Schools. The project focused on the lowest performing students in 6th and 7th grade. While typically these are students who do not engage fully in learning, the different types of technology in this program turned that around. The district saw gains on CST scores for the target students, the 50 lowest performing students in each middle school. Approximately 40% moved up one performance band in the first year, essentially accomplishing the two-year objectives the first year.

Math--New Jersey
The Alfred C. MacKinnon Middle School in New Jersey received the Math Achievement to Realize Individual eXcellence (MATRIX) grant for technology integration in math instruction for special needs 7th grade students. Students planned and designed the construction of a new bridge connecting New York and New Jersey. Seventh grade special education students won first place for their bridge designs and models during the 2006 National Council of Teachers of Mathematics National Conference. Last year the percentage of students scoring in the GEPA proficient ranges increased to the highest percentage in the district's history (74.4%).

Great Prairie consortium developed a new initiative that focused on 8th grade math achievement. Great Prairie focused on professional development at the middle school level as the primary change agent for improving student achievement. Comparison of student growth in math achievement for proficient and non-proficient students in six participating school districts showed a statistically significant closing of the gap between proficient (n=327) and non proficient (n=131) students during the 8th grade.

Reading and Math--Oregon
The LIVE-C--Learning through Interactive Video Experiences at Three Rivers School District (1st-12th grades) was designed to bring the world to the geographically isolated, culturally limited and high poverty students through the use of mobile interactive video conferencing equipment. Teachers invite experts from around the world to enter their classrooms as co-teachers, as well as connecting their students to students around the globe. Fifth grade reading/lit Statewide Assessment scores at Fruitdale Elementary rose from 61.4% in 2006-07 of students meeting or exceeding the standard to 95% in 2007-2008. In math, 86.7% of students met or exceeded in 2007-08, up from 63.6% in 2006-07.

These examples add to a growing body of research focused on student achievement and the use of technology. School leaders have the opportunity to study the models and learn strategies for implementation by contacting schools where they have been successful.

Class of 2020 Action Plan for Education

SETDA (State Educational Technology Directors Association) recently published a series of white papers called "Class of 2020: Action Plan for Education" that focuses on topics relevant to the use of technology in schools. The following paragraphs from this series may be useful in our work with school leaders:
Student Bill of Rights
I. Each student has the right to feel safe in and proud of a school.
II. Each student deserves an engaging educational experience that provides opportunities for learning and for the future, including the acquisition of 21st Century Skills required for the global workforce.
III. Each student deserves to have highly qualified and effective teachers that have the necessary support in terms of resources, professional development, planninhg time, and leadership.
IV. Each student deserves an individualized learning experience addressing his/her abilities, strengths, weaknesses.
V. Each student has a right to the tools, technology, and resources needed for developing life-long learners and creators of knowledge.
Action Steps To Support Our Students
1. Ensure that technology tools and resources are used continuously and seamlessly for instruction, collaboration and assessment.
2. Expose ALL students (Pre-K through 12) to STEM fields and careers.
3. Make ongoing, sustainable professional development available to all teachers.
4. Utilize virtual learning opportunities for teachers to further their professional development, such as online communities and education portals.
5. Incorporate innovative, consistent and timely assessments into daily instruction.
6. Strengthen the home and school connection by using technology to communicate with parents on student progress.
7. Provide the necessary resources so that every community has the infrastructure to support learning with technology, including assessments and virtual learning.
8. Obtain societal support for education that utilizes technology from all stakeholders--students, parents, teachers, state and district administrators, business leaders, legislators and local communities.
9. Provide federal leadership to support states and districts regarding technology's role in school reform by passing the ATTAIN Act.
10. Increase available funding for E-rate so that school districts and schools can acquire telecommunication services, Internet access, internal connections and maintenance of those connections.
For additional information on topics highlighted in the Class of 2020 Action Plan visit SETDA's Class of 2020 Website at http://www.setda.org/2020.