Posted in 1.2 Message Design, 501 Introduction to Educational Technology

Elements of Educational Technology

Originally Published October, 2011

In my discussions about educational technologies I’ve found people often use the same term to talk about very different practices. Robert Reiser talks about some of the difficulties linguistics play in defining a field in his article History of Instructional
 Design and Technology:
Part I: A History of Instructional Media. He points out that, for many people, the term instructional technologies conjured up ideas limited to instructional technologies such as CD-ROMS, computers, and projectors. (Reiser & Ely, 1997). Herein he points out that how we define a subject frames future conversations.

According to The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) the current definition of educational technologies is, “The study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.” (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008, p. 1). This definition encompasses management systems, design, learning tools, and instructional media. Yet, to establish a common starting point for discussion we should look at the role of each element individually.

For me, the components of this definition have a hierarchy. Improving performance is the goal. Managing the process outlines the path; the study, creation, facilitation, and usage all provide a means to the end. Prioritizing element helps drill through a complex term with a broad meaning. As the former employee of a corporate e-learning company, our conversations with new clients followed this same sequence. What is your company’s mission? How does management support that? What gaps need to be filled? What content do you need delivered? What is the best delivery method for your employees? We had to ask questions in this manner to evaluate how well our product could meet their needs. When it comes to educational technology not enough conversation happens around how it can be used to better manage the education process.

As I reflect on life as an educator, I’m amazed at how the road map to success twists–and then twists again. Objectives shift from preparing student for a 21st century work force to raising test scores. In my observations, a clear vision and well thought-out implementation plan for adoption of educational technologies leads to authentic integration.

The US Department of Education states their mission is to:

  • Strengthen the Federal commitment to assure access to equal educational opportunity for every individual;
  • Increased involvement in public education of the public, parents, and students in Federal education programs;
  • Promote improvements in the quality and usefulness of education
  • Improve the coordination of Federal education programs;
  • Improve the management of Federal education activities; and
  • Increase the accountability of Federal education programs

Based on this vision, the discussion should be how are we managing the implementation of educational technologies to meet these goals.

If we look to other large US agencies we can see how common vision and management implementation are critical for the organizations ability to function properly. In the 911 Commission Report published August 2004, the Commission revealed a systemic problem within the intelligence community.

The U.S. government did not find a way of sharing intelligence and using it to guide the planning and assignment of responsibilities for joint operations involving entities as disparate as the CIA, the FBI, the State Department, the military, and the agencies involved in homeland security.

Similar to the problem highlighted by 911 Commission, our education system needs to reassess how we pool information and resources to ensure equal access to quality education.

The landscape of the 21st century is entirely different from it was at the birth of American education system. One teacher delivering content to classroom 25-30 students is a model developed at time when information could only be delivered to the masses through people and print. Through years of research, we now know that learners have different learning styles, intelligences, skills, disabilities, points of motivation, and interests. To apply this knowledge in a meaningful ways we need to analyze how technology can help us improve how we manage the education process.

To summarize, improved management through technology has the ability to advance processes. Educators face the daily challenge of meeting each individual’s needs with “just-in-time” tools and resources. Technologies like learning/content management systems and data collection have already transformed the way corporations train employees and market to consumers. These same applications applied to education will leverage resources and increase student success.

References

Reiser, R.A., & Ely, D.P. (1997). The field of educational technology as reflected through its definitions. Edu- cational Technology Research and Development, 45(3), 63-72.

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Chapter 1: Definition. In Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1 – 14). NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.

US Department of Education. (2011), Overview, Mission http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/mission/mission.html

The 911 Commission. (2004), The 911 Commission Report, Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States–EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report_Exec.htm

Posted in 5.1 Problem Analysis, 5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation, 5.4 Long-Range Planning, 501 Introduction to Educational Technology

School Evaluation Project

For my organization assessment I measure the district and local school site using the Maturity Benchmark Model. This rubric model offers evaluation of a schools technology adoption and integration under five different filters including: Connectivity, Administration, Curricular, Support, and Innovation.  This project addresses the AECT standards 5 in the following ways.

STANDARD 5: EVALUATION

Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

  • 5.1 Problem Analysis
    Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.

 

  • 5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation
    Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.

 

  • 5.4 Long-Range Planning
    Long-range planning that focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning….Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.

School Demographics
ABC Elementary School is Title 1 School located in coastal Georgia. The school was built 15 years ago and is nearing its capacity of 700 students. The average class size is 25. The principal is in his second year of leadership.

School Background
Five years ago the district received $300 million in funding from a ESPLOST (Education Specialize Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) to make physical structure improvements to school buildings. As a result schools in the district have a 5:1 ratio of students to computers. The school was part of a redistricting at the end of the 2009 school year creating a surge in population primarily of Hispanics in pre-k and kindergarten.

About the Evaluation Summary
The summary is organized in order from tier one, or top “emergent” or “island” priorities to lower tier two priorities or “integrated” or “intelligent” ratings. The principal of ABC school as well as the Networking Engineer, Director or Technology and Media Integration, and multiple teachers were consulted on this survey.

Overall Ratings
1. Administrative Integrated
2. Support Emergent
3. Curricular Emergent
4. Connectivity Intelligent
5. Innovation Integrated

Tier I Priority: Emergent or Island rating.
Support-Emergent

Stakeholder

  • Behavior= Island.
  • Resource/ Infrastructure= Emergent

Summary: The Technology Planning Committee consists of 4 member: Chief Data & Information Officer, Networking Engineer, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Director of Technology and Media Integration. The original 5 year EPLOST technology use plan was designed by these individuals and voted on by the board of education. Future planning should involvement key stakeholders including: parents, administration, teacher, students, business partners, and community members.

Admin Support = Island

Summary: This rating scale should be redefined to be more specific. Statements like limited support, peripheral involvement, ongoing discussions, and extensive involvement must be clearly defined to be measured accurately. In my survey, I specified how often and the way in which administration is involved in district wide technology use planning. For example, were they involved in pre-planning survey, brainstorming, drafting, or pre- publication previews? Additionally, how much time is set aside for planning and implementation support? What kind of support systems, if any are in place?
I found administration is not directly involved in any of the long-term district wide planning outside of their schools. Principals and district staff may share ideas about how to use technology informally. However, there is no process in place or dedicated time for technology use planning.

Tier II Priority: Integrated Rating
Support

Training

  • Behavior= Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure= Intelligent

Technology & Infrastructure Support

  • Behavior= Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure= Intelligent

Summary: The district requires staff to attend many technology trainings such as Power Teacher for grading and attendance and integration of new CPS clickers. Other trainings like Neos, use of Moodle and website development are optional. Some training includes stipends to encourage staff to participate. The district provides all formal technology training. Training is introductory in nature and follow-up trainings on new technology are provided on certain types of technology like the district grading software. The Media technology coordinator has conducted two school professional development sessions over the course of three years. One consideration that should be taken to account teachers movement from positions and grade levels year to year and often miss trainings that have are relevant.
The district is outfitted with a Help Desk for tech support issues Monday-Friday. Most staff utilizes formal support provided by the district in terms of training and maintenance. Grade level teams share information both formally and informally about curriculum, data, and planning in their classroom. Information about how technology is being used often comes up in these conversations though there is no requirement that technology use is discussed formally.

Administration

Policy

  • Behavior = Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure = Intelligent

Planning

  • Behavior = Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure = Integrated

Budget

  • Behavior= Intelligent
  • Resource/ Infrastructure = Integrated

Administrative Information

  • Behavior= Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure= Intelligent.

Summary: A formalized process has been integrated to use technology to maintain grades, take attendance, communicate through email with other staff members, and manage the library and cafeteria management systems. In addition, the district’s acceptable use policy describing how students and faculty can use the school equipment are available online.  However some systems such as tardiness, students excuses overlap between paper and electronic processing.

The school’s Yearly Improvement Plan is reviewed by the district and must be aligned with district initiatives. School-wide comprehensive planning receives informal review also because it is often connected to school-wide funding. Schools often look to the district and adopt technologies they have recommended. There is no formal review and no opportunity for faculty to view how technology adoptions are related to other planning in the school or district. Janitors, long-term subs don’t have access to email. Long term subs can’t access gradebook, attendance, copiers, or email. All students 1-5 access computers for 40 minutes 2 times per week. Free internet activities and school purchase

Curricular

Electronic Information

  • Behavior= Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure = Integrated

Assessment

  • Behavior = Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure = Integrated

Curriculum Integration

  • Behavior = Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure = Intelligent

Teacher Use

  • Behavior = Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure = Intelligent

Student Use

  • Behavior = Integrated
  • Resource/Infrastructure = Integrated

Summary: Teachers use technology in their daily activities to email, read district news, access standards and curriculum maps. Teachers also use Power School for grades and benchmarks assessment are scored electronically. Teachers in 2nd and 4th grade use Study Island to assess student needs based on standard area. Assessment reporting tools are integrated within products like this but are not integrated into the students’ personal records or year-to-year reporting. Many free Internet activities are also accessible but not all teachers seek them out or use them. Curriculum and instruction are not dependent upon technology.
Students access programs paid for through the district like Brainpop, Education City, Study Island, and United Streaming. All students grades 1-5 access computers for 40 minutes 2 times per week. The Internet provides resources on every area covered by standards. Not all classrooms have access to student computers or computer projection systems and student performance outcomes are not hinged on use of technology. The district purchases equipment for test grade levels first and then purchases equipment on an as needs basis for other grade levels.

Innovation

New Technologies

  • Behavior= Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure= Integrated

Comprehensive Technologies

  • Behavior= Integrated
  • Resource/ Infrastructure= Integrated

Summary: Many staff members accept new technologies. Experimentation could happen during planning periods, or while instructing students. However no systems are in place for surveying teachers to find out how often or how they integrate technology into their daily instruction.

Connectivity-Intelligent

Local Area Network

  • Behavioral: Intelligent
  • Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

District Area Network

  • Behavioral: Intelligent
  • Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

Internet Access

  • Behavioral: Integrated
  • Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

Communication Systems

  • Behavioral: Intelligent
  • Resource/Infrastructure: Intelligent

Summary: Staff use available networks for practice activities for students and content delivery. The use differs between faculty depending on their comfort level. All computers are connected with high-speed access to all working environments. comprehensive and expandable for data, voice, and video according to District Network Engineer.

 

 

Posted in 501 Introduction to Educational Technology

Acceptable Use Policies

Acceptable Use Policies, or AUP, can be likened to the “Terms of Service” agreements people sign off on when they access online software. The intention of the AUP is provide a framework for specific information security standards. AUP’s should be succinct, yet also cover how users are and aren’t able to use the IT system. With the rapid pace of technological advancements, the trick for many organizations is to find the balance between excessively restrictive policies and those that fall short of their legal obligations.

The purpose of AUPs is two-fold. The first is to protect people in a learning environment from malicious material. The second purpose is to open doors for students to learn and teachers to teach. Keeping AUPs aligned with web 2.0 tools requires constant attention. Some districts update AUPs when the Technology Plan is drafted. Others update yearly, and still others update multiple times in a single year. Some districts use generic language to allow their policies encompass new products.

Tips for Covering the bases with AUPs

  • Consistent enforcement among all staff and faculty
  • Clearly define if tools will be used as learning tools or personal tools
  • Specifically define how certain tools should be used such as a common class Google accounts or material recorded on cameras.
  • Compel all parents and teachers to know, teach, and enforce the districts AUPs.
  • Compose a copy of computer use rules at age appropriate levels in all computer labs.
  • Use computer lab rules that answer “how,” “who” and “when” to adapt to the changing technological landscape.

Here are some examples of AUPs that tackle mobile learning in different ways:

Speers Point Public School Mobile Phone Policy

Mercer County Mobile Device Acceptable Use Policy

Broward County School and District Technology Use

Chatham County Acceptable Policy Use

Resources

Consortium for School Networking. (Sept. 2011). Acceptable use policies in the web 2.0 and mobile era. Learning, Leadership & Policy A CoSn Leadership Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.cosn.org/Default.aspx?tabid=8139

Scrogan, L. (Jul. 2007) AUPs in a web 2.0 world. EDTECH Focus on K12. Retrieved from http://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2007/07/aups-in-a-web-20-world

Nagel, D. (Jan. 2011). A better approach to AUP’s for mobile devices: 5 questions with Anthony luscre. The Journal. Retrieved from http://thejournal.com/articles/2011/01/06/a-better-approach-to-aups-for-mobile-devices-5-questions-with-anthony-luscre.aspx