School Evaluation Summary

The goal of the assignment was to choose a school that you are familiar with and thoroughly examine it’s technology integration. I chose Michigan High School where I work. We were given the a Maturity Model Benchmark reference guide to help us analyze the school. It focuses on 5 main areas: Administrative, Curriculum, Support, Connectivity, and Innovation.

I have been critical of my school’s integration of technology in the past. However, this assignment has helped me realize that the school is actually pretty strong in many areas. I tend to be a critical person, but should be more appreciative of what the school is offering. All the staff may not be taking advantage of it, but I am fortunate enough to have it available for my classroom. In addition, the school is not that far from a really strong well rounded integration. This evaluation helped me pick out the individual areas of strength and weakness. I hope to do two things with this. One is share it with Tech Committee so that they have my outside opinion (outside as in not a part of the committee and have to “horse in the race” regarding any particular program/technology). Also, this opened my eyes to some of the tools available that I could take better advantage of.

Below are my overall analysis and the survey I filled out.

Tech Trends: Lesson Plan

For this week’s assignment, I have created a lesson plan that utilizes the Dropbox App. Dropbox allows a user to save files on one computer and have them automatically saved and accessible on any other computer, tablet, or smart phone. This is important for me as a teacher because there often isn’t enough time (or availability) to spend a whole week in the computer labs working on a project. If students find media, sources, or need to revise their work, they need to be able to do it from school, home, the bus on the way to their baseball game, etc. Flash drives are ok, but they are often misplaced, forgotten, and they don’t plug into smart phones. Personal email like Google would meet the student needs, however, where I work, all personal email sites (Google, Yahoo, etc) are blocked. This leaves a program like Dropbox as the best solution. Students can work on their projects in school, at home, and on the go.

For this assignment, students will need to present a portfolio and resume highlighting the accomplishments of a famed Renaissance artist. Besides basic facts about the life of the artist, it must also include samples of work, analysis of the work, and the reasoning as to why the artist was a key member of the Renaissance. The time spent in the computer lab will only be enough for students to get started and receive feedback on a rough draft. There is not enough time to complete the entire assignment in class. Therefore, Dropbox will be used to save media, websites, Word documents, etc. so that students can start the project in school and seamlessly build on it anywhere.

The AECT Standards that seem to most with this lesson are 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies, 2.4 Integrated Technologies, 3.1 Media Utilization, and 5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation. This lesson connects to Computer-Based Technologies because it is putting students on the computer in order to find research and create a polished product. I also included Integrated Technologies. Students will be looking for text information, images, video, and audio about their Renaissance figure. Using the computer, they will then be able to integrate them into their final project. Media Utilization involves a planned use of resources. The Dropbox app will allow students much more freedom in managing and planning how they will work on the project. It also will create a clear and  surefire way for the teacher to be able to assess the project and resources as the students are developing them. There is time built in where students will have to share their Dropbox. The teacher will be able to see the media being used, sources found, and the rough draft of the project. The teacher can then offer feedback. This is formative assessment. The teacher can give ideas for improvement. The summative assessment will come after students have had opportunities to make improvements. The assignment will be graded per the rubric.

RSS For Education

The RSS Feed is a great time saving tool that educators can use in their classroom and in their advocacy for students. I can immediately envision myself using it in two ways. I have taught a “Current Events” social studies class and know that RSS could be part of a lesson that integrates technology with the core objectives of the class. Also, as a special ed. case manager, RSS can be an important tool for staying up to date on education law, policy, and best practices.

In the Current Events class, we regularly use the internet to search for articles regarding current happenings in the world. There are many topics which we continually examine, whether America’s economy or the political upheaval in the Middle East, RSS could be a great tool for staying up to date on happenings around the world. For example, if we were following the Presidential Election, I could find or help students find some high quality sources for information on the election. Then, on a regular basis, students could browse through the updates from their RSS Feeds to find articles to use for class. It may  help save time when searching and allow myself to easily share quality sources. If I broke students into groups based on their topic, it would allow them to build a personalized RSS Feed for their topic.

Inside the class is not the only place I see RSS Feeds being helpful. As a special education case manager, their are regularly new policies, practices, and political discourses which impact my students. The RSS Feed allows me one place to come to for updated information. Instead of regularly having to visit multiple websites, I can have all my favorite sites bundled into one site. By staying current on the issues, I can better provide advice and instruction to my students and their parents.