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Running Header: MAKING BLACKBOARD WORK FOR YOU

Johnny Tilton
January 14, 2014
Dr. Jo Williamson
Spring 2013
Making BlackBoard Work for You

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Making Technology Work For You

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Setting/Context

My capstone will be completed in a setting that will include teachers and administrators
from Allatoona High School located in Acworth, Georgia. Allatoona is a public high school that
serves approximately 1800 students in grades 9-12. It is a member of the Cobb County School
District. There are 87 full-time teachers at Allatoona. Allatoona’s faculty is very experienced,
with an average tenure of over twelve years. There are currently only two first year teachers at
the school. The demographic make-up of the faculty at Allatoona is 92 percent white and 8
percent African American. The median household income in our district is $61,560 in 2008
dollars.1 Sixteen percent of the student body are eligible for free or reduced lunches.2

Capstone Problem and Rationale
After visiting with the social studies department head and administrator and discussing
my assignment, we determined that there is a need for technology-based curriculum in our
classrooms. We have many valuable resources at Allatoona but feel that many are not being
used. The question is, why? We determined that in many cases, teachers are just not comfortable
using technology when it is not something very familiar to them. Spencer and Segerston (2014),
mention fear of not having the appropriate skills, humility, and lack of leadership as reasons that
teachers choose to avoid the use of technology in class. These reasons would affect teacher
motivation and confidence in implementing strategies that use technology. It is my hope to help
faculty members at Allatoona overcome some of these challenges. Even with the resources that
we have – computer labs (3), media center, iPads, and iRespond – teachers are still not using
them to support teaching tasks and enhance student learning. Here is where I believe that my

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http://verylocaldata.com/30101
http://projects.propublica.org/schools/schools/130129099997

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capstone may help. If I can show teachers where technology can benefit them, we can gradually
move more teachers to creating technology based lessons that require higher-order thinking.
Richardson (2010) mentions in his forward that teachers need to experience technology in order
to be able to teach with it. I find this to be a very profound statement. We have all, at some point
in our careers, been asked to teach a subject that is out of our primary degree areas. The feeling
of not knowing enough to help the students is a helpless feeling that all of us want to avoid. I
compare technology use to that same feeling of having to teach a subject that you don’t know
much about. My capstone is just step one to getting more teachers at Allatoona to embark on the
technology frontier. It is my goal to use it as a starting off point to bigger and better things. I plan
on helping the social studies department at Allatoona High School become very familiar with
blackboard and become more comfortable with its uses. I chose BlackBoard due to the fact that it
is the system that is being used in Cobb County for online blended content. Currently the
teachers in the social studies department use blackboard for basic blog postings. I plan on
teaching them more functional uses that will help them deliver their classes in new and exciting
ways.
The ability to understand more uses of BlackBoard will allow for teachers to create more
blended learning in their classes. As many school systems and teachers look for ways to flip the
classroom, I plan on giving the teachers at Allatoona a tool that they can use to increase student
involvement while they are not necessarily in the classroom.

Objectives/Deliverables
Obectives:

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Increase teacher’s knowledge and use of BlackBoard’s Learning Management System

Enable teachers to increase student involvement outside of the classroom

Allow teachers more time to do other task by using BlackBoard effectively

Enable teachers to safeguard academic honesty in their classrooms

Deliverables

Training materials on how to use the following BlackBoard features:
o SafeAssign
o Online Quizzes
o Discussion Boards
o Online Grading of written Assignments

Examples on how SafeAssign, quizzes, discussions, and grading features can be used
in classroom instruction.

PSC Standards
1.1 Shared Vision
Candidates facilitate the development and implementation of a shared vision for the use of
technology in teaching, learning, and leadership.
(PSC 1.1/ISTE 1a)
3.3 Online & Blended Learning
Candidates develop, model, and facilitate the use of online and blended learning, digital content, and
learning networks to support and extend student learning and expand opportunities and choices for
professional learning for teachers and administrators.
(PSC 3.3/ISTE 3c)
3.4 Adaptive and Assistive Technology
Candidates facilitate the use of adaptive and assistive technologies to support individual student
learning needs. (PSC 3.4/ISTE 3d)
3.5 Basic Troubleshooting
Candidates troubleshoot basic software and hardware problems common in digital learning
environments. (PSC 3.5/ISTE 3e)
3.6 Selecting and Evaluating Digital Tools & Resources

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Candidates collaborate with teachers and administrators to select and evaluate digital tools and
resources for accuracy, suitability, and compatibility with the school technology infrastructure. (PSC
3.6/ISTE 3f)

3.7 Communication & Collaboration
Candidates utilize digital communication and collaboration tools to communicate locally and globally
with students, parents, peers, and the larger community. (PSC 3.7/ISTE 3g)
5.1 Needs Assessment
Candidates conduct needs assessments to determine school-wide, faculty, grade-level, and subject
area strengths and weaknesses to inform the content and delivery of technology-based professional
learning programs. (PSC 5.1/ISTE 4a)
5.2 Professional Learning
Candidates develop and implement technology-based professional learning that aligns to state and
national professional learning standards, integrates technology to support face-to-face and online
components, models principles of adult learning, and promotes best practices in teaching, learning,
and assessment. (PSC 5.2/ISTE 4b)
5.3 Program Evaluation
Candidates design and implement program evaluations to determine the overall effectiveness of
professional learning on deepening teacher content knowledge, improving teacher pedagogical skills
and/or increasing student learning. (PSC 5.3/ISTE 4c)
6.1 Continuous Learning
Candidates demonstrate continual growth in knowledge and skills of current and emerging
technologies and apply them to improve personal productivity and professional practice. (PSC
6.1/ISTE 6a, 6b)
6.2 Reflection
Candidates regularly evaluate and reflect on their professional practice and dispositions to improve
and strengthen their ability to effectively model and facilitate technology-enhanced learning
experiences.
(PSC 6.2/ISTE 6c)

Project Description
I will begin my capstone by conducting a survey to evaluate current use of technology by
the faculty at Allatoona High School. I will focus specifically on their use of the two
technologies that I am focusing on in my capstone. After completing the surveys, I will focus my
efforts on ways to increase use of these technologies and attempt to create an environment in
which teachers are anxious to know more.

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I will put together a thirty minute class entitled “Making BlackBoard Work for you”, in
which I will show faculty members ways in which they can use the technology described to
make simple assignments easy for them and fun for the students. In regards to BlackBoard, I will
show them how to create an online quiz that students can do at home, how to create a SafeAssign
assignment, and how to use other features in BlackBoard to make a teacher’s life easier. I will
also create a quick “how to” on iResponds features like quizzes, tests, and review games.
Date
August 2014
August 2014
September 2014
September 2014
September 2014
October 2014
October 2014
October 2014
November 2014
November 2014

Item
Technology Based
Survey
Compile Data
Create SafeAssign
Lesson
Create Discussion
Board Lesson
Create Online Quiz
Lesson
Presentation
Presentation
Presentation
Follow – Up
Follow – Up Survey

Delivery Method
Email/BlackBoard

Hours
4hrs
2hrs
1hr
1hr
1hr

Computer Lab
Computer Lab
Computer Lab
Individual Teachers
Email/BlackBoard

Items Needed:

Computer Lab

Schedule for meeting with individual teachers

Copies of survey to distribute to faculty

1hr
1hr
1hr
2hrs
4hrs

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Evaluation Plan

I have to believe that teachers will be more apt to use some if the technology with a little
training and the perceived benefits. I will assess my objectives in two different ways. The first
will be in the class. I will take a quick survey of faculty members that are more likely to use
technology after receiving the short training session. I will schedule a follow up survey in the fall
to reassess if more teachers are, in fact, using technology more in their classrooms. I will collect
the before and after data to determine if teachers are, in fact, increasing their use of BlackBoard’s
technology. After training, I will schedule individual follow-up for teachers to answer any one on
one questions that they may have. I will focus on each teacher’s personal need for BlackBoard
and work to help them all move towards reaching their goal of use. As a part of the evaluation
plan, I will give teachers one assignment to complete in their own classrooms and I will collect
data to determine if they have been able to complete this assignment on their own. The
assignment will be a simple quiz that they can add to their class BlackBoard. I hope that this will
show the teachers that using Blackboard is not that difficult and can be a valuable tool in the
classroom. My main focus will, once again, be implementing more use of BlackBoard in the
social studies department.

References
Jonh T., S. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.educationrethink.com/2012/07/11-reasonsteachers-arent-using.html
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful Web tools for classrooms
(3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin.

Making Technology Work For You
Conrad, R., & Donaldson, J. A. (2011). Engaging the online learner, updated: activities and
resources for creative instruction (Updated ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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