School Technology-Use Evaluation Summary: Technological Maturity Jennifer Heckel EdTech 501- Spring 2012 Name of Institution

: PCA (Philadelphia Children’s Academy) Location: Extreme Northeast Philadelphia Demographics:
PCA is a private Christian school located inside a large church building. Since it is a private school, there is a diverse population of students from different backgrounds and family situations. Most families are middle-class families with two working parents. This chart shows the demographic breakdown at PCA: Total Students: Student-Body Type: School Type: Grades: Total Elementary Students: Total Middle/ High School Students: % Students of Color: Total Classroom Teachers: Teacher:Student Ratio: School Days per Calendar Year: School Hours per day: Median Household Family Income in NE Philly: Ethnicities at PCA: 1014 Co-Ed Combined (1 or more classes per grade) 3 Year Olds to 12th grade 460 544 13% 65 1:14 180 days 6 hours $44,776


Technology Currently in Place: ● One High School Computer Lab ● One Elementary Computer Lab ● One computer for teacher use per classroom connected to personal printer and

● ● ● ● ● ● ●

shared elementary/high school office printer Some classrooms have one computer for student center use One laptop cart with a projector for elementary use Two laptop carts with projectors for secondary use SMART boards installed in high school math/science classrooms as well as the 6th grade elementary classrooms SMART board for elementary use located in library Overhead projectors, tv, vcr, and dvd players in each classroom Local internet connection through hook-up; no wireless access available yet

Technological Maturity Study: The following contains the findings regarding a study of the use of technology at PCA in Northeast Philadelphia. This study is used to find not only if technology is being used, but how effectively it impacts the learning environment of this school. This study is broken down into five sections, named filters. Each filter will have a short summary at the beginning, and a listing of subsections. Under each subsection will be a short description of the reasoning for the ranking. Administrative Filter
The administrative filter is made up of different components listed below that affect mostly administrators and staff at a particular school. This shows how much planning is being done, how much emphasis on technology integration there is, and where a school’s focus is for the future by looking at the budget and different resources being obtained. Here is a summary of how I rate the subcategories of this filter at PCA:

○ Policy: Behavioral- Integrated Appropriate technology use is formalized and embraced in many parts of the school. The use of cell phones and email by students is not supported in the school, while other controlled technology such as filtered internet access and guided project development using technology is. ○ Policy: Resource/Infrastructure- Integrated Formal policy exists, but is not comprehensive in nature or has not been approved by the governing body. While this policy is known to administrators, it is not easily accessed by other staff at the school. Most of the technologies in the school have written policies describing the acceptable use. Due to emerging technology and upgrades, some policies need to be rewritten or updated. ○ Planning: Behavioral- Integrated School-wide comprehensive planning receives informal review and is connected to other planning efforts. The administrators have stated that


they have plans to use technology in new areas in the upcoming years, such as wireless internet access across the building, laptop/iPad carts, and increased use of technology for administrative purposes. Planning: Resource/Infrastructure- Integrated A comprehensive technology plan receives informal review during administrative meetings, and some connection to planning efforts is noted. All of the administrators and staff seem on board with this look to the use of technology in the future. While all are on board, the direction for administration to take is not agreed on yet. Budget: Behavioral- Integrated Technology budgeting process with high priority; multiple budgets considered, but long term budgeting is not. While there is a plan for the future, there is no set plan as to how to get the technology wanted. Most technology will be sought after through grants as they become available. Most of the resources of this school are focused on upgrading alreadyused technology and the research of grants. Budget: Resource/Infrastructure- Integrated Specific technology budget is provided in addition to line items in other budgets. The school has a set amount of money each year to buy technology for school use. In addition, each teacher has his/her own personal budget, and can use that personal budget to obtain technology that he/she wants for his/her personal classroom. Administrative Information: Behavioral- Integrated administrative systems are utilized by most of the staff members; some paperless systems are in place. Report cards, attendance, and grade books are all electronic, and are accessed by staff members to ease communication. Administrative Information: Resource/Infrastructure- Intelligent administrative systems are available to all administrators and staff.

Curricular Filter This filter deals with the use of technology in the actual information delivery during lessons and assessments. Basically, this goes over how much teachers and students actually use technology in a given day, and how much technology impacts the daily lives of teachers and students at school. ○ Electronic Information: Behavioral-Integrated Students and staff are very dependent upon information resources and utilize them regularly. While students have limited access, staff is more dependent on electronic information. It is apparent that in the high school more electronic information is accessed by students, and more emphasis is placed on searching for information electronically. The start of an

elementary computer program has aided in the use of electronic information in younger classrooms. Electronic Information: Resource/Infrastructure- Islands Resources are beyond basic, but lack depth and are not available to all areas of the school. There are two computer labs in the school; one for the elementary and one for the high school. In addition, there are many computers in the library for use. In most classrooms, there are only computers for teacher use. Unless you sign up for specific times, where first priority usually is given to older grades, you do not have access to a group of computers for student use. Assessment: Behavioral- Islands Some staff and no students use technology for evaluation of student work. In the high school there are signs of development in this area with the use of web blogs and posts for student interaction online. In elementary, no technology use was noted for assessment purposes other than recording grades into powerschool to create report cards. Assessment: Resource/Infrastructure- Islands Some reporting and assessment tools are available, with a focus on traditional assessment measures. This school does use Powerschool which allows teachers to enter grades into a gradebook to process report cards and attendance electronically. Most teachers do not take full advantage of this powerful tool, though. Curricular Integration: Behavioral- Emergent Some of the technology is used in the curriculum on a limited basis. There is no consistent technology integration in most classrooms. Curricular Integration: Resource/Infrastructure-Islands Technology related resources are available for some curricular areas. All high school math and science classrooms, as well as 6th grade classrooms, are equipped with SMART boards for higher-order thinking activities. Other than those specific areas, curricular integration is not regularly used. Teacher Use: Behavioral-Emergent Occasional use of technology by teachers for curriculum enrichment and material generation is noted. While it seems as though younger teachers already are comfortable using technology in the classroom, there is definitely a huge percentage of teachers who shy away from the use of technology. Teacher Use: Resource/Infrastructure- Islands Some teachers have access to appropriate technology in their work area. High school and middle school teachers have appropriate access to


technology. Upper-elementary teachers have more resources than lower elementary teachers. ○ Student Use: Behavioral- Islands Students use technology often, but in limited ways. Once again, this is found more on the high school/middle school level with more computer/digital classes being offered as electives, and some classes integrating SMART boards and interactive presentations. ○ Student Use: Resource/Infrastructure-Islands Some students have consistent and regular access to appropriate technologies. This depends mostly on what electives a student chooses in the high school. In the elementary school, students grade 2-6 have weekly computer class. Support Filter This filter deals with the amount of support that is given to teachers and supportstaff regarding the use of technology in the classroom, and training in the specific technology obtained in the school. It covers who is involved in the process of obtaining technology, how much administrators include other staff, the emphasis on training for educators and staff, and where technical support can be found. ○ Stakeholder Involvement: Behavioral- Islands Many of the groups are aware of the planning and implementation procedure, but few are engaged in the process. Most seem to shy away from the use of technology, tending to prefer their tried and true ways. ○ Stakeholder Involvement: Resource/Infrastructure-Islands Many of the groups are represented in the planning and implementation process. This includes administration, teachers, and support staff. Office staff seem not to be as involved in the process. While most are involved, not all actually participate or share ideas. ○ Administrative Support: Behavioral-Integrated On-going discussion with the administration was noted. ○ Administrative Support: Resource/Infrastructure- Integrated Some formal administration, time and support is allocated to the planning and implementation process. Most of this time is found during the weekly administration meetings and also during weekly staff meetings. About one staff meeting every marking period is devoted to just technology-use and planning. ○ Training: Behavioral-Integrated Most staff members participate in technology training activities. There are monthly faculty meetings that focus specifically on a new type of technology or a program that they already have that needs a refresher, such as Powerschool.

○ Training: Resource/Infrastructure-Integrated On-going teacher training is provided by site and district resources. Most training is led by teachers in the school who have personal training or experience in the technology area. ○ Technical Support: Behavioral-Islands Many staff utilize formal and informal support. Some staff become discouraged easily and do not seek help after trouble. ○ Technical Support: Resource/Infrastructure-Islands Limited formal technical assistance is provided through a mentor, teacher, consultant, etc. Most teachers try to find resources in their grade-level or school rather than outside help. Connectivity Filter This filter has to do with the availability of resources and the internet around the school. It is broken up into internet access, district-resource access, local-network access, and communication use such as email across the school. ○ LAN: Behavioral- Integrated Staff use is limited to data but is extensive and sophisticated. ○ LAN: Resource/Infrastructure-Integrated Access to high-speed networking is available in all working environments. Only ethernet internet access currently is available. There is no wireless internet access for teachers. ○ WAN: Behavioral- Emergent Little or no use of area services exists. ○ WAN: Resource/Infrastructure- Emergent There is little or no district-area networking infrastructure, with little or no applications or available data. ○ Internet Access: Behavioral- Islands Many staff and students use the internet frequently, and curriculum integration is limited. While staff use the internet frequently for research and communication, student use is limited due to policies. Also, curriculum integration is lacking. ○ Internet Access: Resource/Infrastructure- Intelligent Direct internet access is available in all locations. There is at least one computer connected to the internet per room along with student computer labs and the library for student support. ○ Communication Systems: Behavioral-Intelligent E-mail is an integral part of the school learning and support communications. E-mail is the main type of communication for teachers and administrators and also frequently is used to share school-wide announcements with families.

○ Communication Systems: Resource/Infrastructure-Integrated E-mail is available to all staff and many students. While all staff have email addresses and access, student access is limited and strictly monitored.

Innovation Filter This filter deals with the new technologies being used in the school. It relates directly to how current the technology is and what is being purchased for use. ○ New Technologies: Behavioral- Islands New technologies are accepted by many staff members, although opportunities for experimentation are limited. While there are plenty of opportunities at PCA, the number of staff members willing to try keep this school at the island level. ○ New Technologies: Resource/Infrastructure-Integrated New technologies are accepted readily by the staff with moderate implementation. The staff that is open and willing to try tend to implement technology moderately. This is a step in the right direction. ○ Comprehensive Technologies: Behavioral-Islands Technology is becoming more comprehensive including, A/V, digitizing and scanning. While there are more resources becoming available to teachers, the number of devices does not allow a lot of access to these new technologies. ○ Comprehensive Technologies: Resource/Infrastructure-Islands Available technology utilization is limited to one or two types of technology for most staff and students. Mostly SMART boards and projectors are used in the classroom. One projector is shared among all elementary teachers and two are shared among all high school teachers. No voice recognition tools or scanning devices have been implemented yet. Final Evaluation Overall, I feel as though PCA is currently in the late islands stage of technological maturity moving towards the integrated stage. The administration has a heart for technology use and has begun to really push the use of technology across the school, starting with the teachers and a focus on classroom use. They have allowed us to begin to experiment with different uses and types of technology and have been open to suggestions by the teachers who are willing to try. While those areas of the survey scored high, the actual curricular use by teachers and connectivity to resources scored low in the survey. One of the biggest issues that I witness is that we could have all of the technology in the world put in front of us, but until the teachers are willing to be open about student use and are willing to

try things that might not be particularly comfortable, we cannot transform learning for our students. I witnessed many great ideas for technology use, especially when it came to science and math in the upper elementary. The use of interactive diagrams and examples of difficult concepts have transformed the way the students learn. In the high school, one teacher in particular is very influential with the technology movement, and has begun to transform the way students learn English and Literature. She experiments with the use of QR codes to build interactive wall projects and scavenger hunts to explore books. Also, the use of classroom websites and online resources really have transformed the communication between parents and teachers in the high school. Until more resources exist, however, and especially until the IT department puts a greater emphasis on meeting the needs of the technology that we obtain, I believe we will stay in the islands/integrated stage. We must have an infrastructure that supports the use of technology, and everyone must be a team player when it comes to meeting the needs that technology brings with its use. Teachers must be willing to try the resources that administration gives us, and the IT department must be willing to find time in their already busy schedules to provide support to confused teachers. There are plenty of promising signs, especially the vision of the administration and the hiring of younger, more technological accustomed teachers. I believe that soon PCA will move into the fully integrated stage, and with the addition of some technology that the administration is looking into, including iPad/iPod touch carts, electronic assessment for reading and math, and digital cameras for projects and assessment, the quality of our education and student learning will improve!