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The following is a grant proposal that would fund the purchase of two mobile laboratories of tablet computers, along with necessary accessories and teacher professional development. These tablets would be used to enhance technology skills and promote content learning with increased focus on raising proficiency rates on state testing in middle school students.
Boise State University EDTECH 551 Technical and Grant Writing 5/4/2012
Table of Contents
Needs Assessment ............................................................. 3
Goals and Objectives ........................................................ 5
Budget ................................................................................ 8
Evaluation ....................................................................... 10
Technology skills are becoming increasingly more important in daily life. Without basic technology skills, people will begin to find themselves at a disadvantage in many situations. In educational settings, a lack of technology skills can present numerous problems. Utilizing technology, students can communicate with teachers and fellow students easier, access grade reports, submit assignments, and do various forms of research with little effort; and this is not nearly an exhaustive list. With basic technology skills, students can explore productivity software and learn much on their own; however, to properly use the software to its fullest potential, students should be allowed access to the technology for these educational purposes on a consistent basis. Additionally, teachers should be encouraged to create technology-enriched lessons to build the technology skills of their students. At Licking Heights Central Middle School, in Pataskala, Ohio, access to technology is very limited. Without more access, many students miss out on the consistent interactions that are necessary to build a foundation of technology skills and how they can be utilized across the curriculum. The biggest issue Licking Heights faces is the amount of resources they have to provide a technology-enriched education. In 2010, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Licking Heights Local Schools was the second fastest growing school district in the entire state of Ohio. According to the most current building report card, Licking Heights Central, servicing sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students, had an average daily enrollment of 757 students. This number will likely be higher when reported for the current school year, since the sixth grade class entering the building was larger than the eighth grade class that transitioned to the high school. Early estimations of the population are approximately 800 students enrolled at Licking Heights Central. Each classroom in the building is equipped with one computer designated for teacher use. While many classrooms have two or three computers for student use, several others are limited to the one teacher computer. Within Licking Heights Central, there are only two rooms that are designated as computer labs, each equipped with 25 computers. When it comes to whole-class use of computers, the teachers are forced to sign up and share one of the computer labs, as the other is limited to computer application classes which are offered as an elective course to sixth and seventh grade students. While this is obviously not an ideal situation, it becomes even less than ideal for classes that are larger than 25 students. Thus, students often get little class time to work with computers under the guidance of their teachers. However, available computers are not the only resource Licking Heights Central lacks. If Licking Heights Central plans to purchase more computers for student use in the building, there are no rooms in the building that can be used for another permanent computer lab. Any additional technology purchased for the building would have to be mobile. Mobile technology would allow the teachers to transform their own classrooms into computer labs to provide their technology-enriched lessons. Mobile computing devices would also alleviate another issue Licking Heights Central faces. While the intended use of the devices is to allow more opportunities for students to learn through technology during the school day, there would also be the capabilities to provide technology resources to disadvantaged students at home. Licking Heights Central has been designated as a Low-Income School by the United States Department of Education since the 2008/2009 school year. According to the local report card, 44.2% of the Licking Heights Central student body is
identified as economically disadvantaged. Many Licking Heights Central students do not have the capabilities to work with technology to complete assignments outside of school. With mobile technology, an overnight loan program could be established to provide access to technology outside of the school day. Finally, teachers have reported several problems with using the computers in the lab due to the speed of the computers. A commonly reported problem is that it takes students too long to log on/log off the computer, decreasing the amount of instructional time. The teachers reported the desire for faster loading computers to increase the instructional time for the lessons that they prepared. With tablet computers, the startup time decreases to only a few seconds which increases the amount of instructional time available to learning activities.
Goals and Objectives
The focus of this grant proposal is to increase student achievement through the integration of technology into the curriculum. Technology has shown to produce a more meaningful learning experience for students by providing interactive activities that promote higher order thinking. According to state report cards, student achievement in reading, mathematics and science are as follows:
Images courtesy of the Ohio Department of Education
While there has been steady improvement in many tested areas at Licking Heights Central, some scores have fluctuated and most have hovered closely to the state standard, which is a 75% proficiency rate in all tested subjects. The school’s goal is that all students meet proficiency standards. Specifically for the next school year, Licking Heights Central intends to improve their proficiency rates by 10% over the previous school year. Integrating and utilizing technology is one of several ways to achieve this goal. With the limited resources available to teachers of Licking Heights, many students miss out on valuable opportunities to learn content through the rich experiences that technology can provide. Grant funds would be used to purchase tablet computers that could be used to provide these rich experiences on a more regular basis. With the purchase of tablets, Licking Heights aims to increase student proficiency rates through the following methods.
Provide more options for whole classroom instruction through technology Currently, Licking Heights Central Middle School has only one computer lab that is available for technology integration. The lab contains only 25 computers, many of which experience some type of malfunction throughout the year because of their age or the occasional instance of student abuse. This poses availability issues for many teachers where class sizes are close to, if not more than, 25 students. Additionally, if there were more computers available for integration into the curriculum, Licking Heights Central would not have another classroom available for the creation of a lab, as all rooms that would be suitable are currently occupied for other instructional purposes. With the addition of tablet computers into the building, the need for another computer lab would be dismissed. Tablets would be mobile and able to be transported from classroom to classroom, as needed. By purchasing two sets of 30 devices, the available resources for whole-classroom, technology-guided instruction would be more than tripled. Teachers report the lack of motivation to incorporate technology-based instruction due to the popularity of the computer lab as an educational environment. Long-term planning is required in most cases because of how often, and how far out, some teachers schedule time in the computer lab. With increased availability of technology resources, more teachers report the willingness to create more technologically rich activities to promote student learning. Provide additional instructional time for technology-related learning activities Another significantly reported problem is the amount of time left for instructional activities when using the computer lab. At Licking Heights Central, the school day is divided into nine class periods which are each 42 minutes long. When doing computer based activities, teachers commonly report the need for additional tasks such as: walking to the computer lab with their classes, extra time for attendance, long login procedures, and long shut down procedures, each having a significant impact on the amount of time left for the actual instructional activity. Tablets alleviate many of these factors. Since the computers are already in the classroom, there would be no travelling time between different classrooms nor longer than usual attendance procedures. Also, the startup and shutoff time for a tablet is only a few seconds which is significantly less than the startup and shutdown times for desktop/laptop computer. Finally, the need for logging into different profiles from student to student is eliminated since user profiles are not currently used on tablet computers. Provide professional development for teachers on best practices for tablet use in the classroom. The final concern is to alleviate teacher hesitation to integrate tablets into their curriculum. To do this, grant funds would be allocated to provide professional development for a group of teachers on best educational practices for tablet use. Teachers agree that they would be less
hesitant to use tablets if they were properly trained on how to incorporate them in their lessons. Professional development would be specific to the tablet selected for implementation. Apple, Incorporated, maker of the iPad, personally offers several forms of professional development. This group of teachers would be asked periodically to demonstrate the knowledge learned during this workshop to other faculty members so that every teacher would feel more at ease with tablet implementation.
This grant proposal aims to increase the opportunity to utilize technology to promote learning at Licking Heights Central Middle School to increase proficiency rates on the state administered examinations: the Ohio Achievement Assessment (OAA). Since each room of Licking Heights Central is utilized for one of a variety of educational, administrative, or maintenance-related purposes, the purchase of mobile computer laboratories would be appropriate for their current situation. This would allow any classroom to be quickly set up as a computer lab as needed for the teachers and students of the building. In order to increase the learning potential, Licking Heights Central is looking for funds that would be used to purchase two mobile computer laboratories. Each mobile laboratory would consist of the following items: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. One (1) Bretford Power Sync Cart for iPad Thirty (30) 16 Gb (Wi-Fi only) iPads One (1) Epson NX430 Small-in-One Color Inkjet Printer One (1) Cisco Linksys - Smart Wi-Fi N900 Router Two (2) Apple Wireless Keyboards Two (2) Rocketfish Styli One (1) Apple VGA Adapter $2599.95 $14,370.00 $99.95 $179.99 $138.00 $33.98 $29
This would bring the total price per lab to $17,450.87, and the total price for two labs would be $34,901.74. With the exception of the styli and the N900 router, the items were priced through the Apple Store. The styli and N900 router were each priced through BestBuy.com, as comparable accessories were not offered through the Apple Store. The iPads would be the main component of the learning environments created through this grant. The Power Sync Cart would be used not only to house and transport the iPads throughout the school but also will be used to perform necessary syncs and charging of the iPads. With the school now operating with limited wireless capabilities, it would be necessary to create a wireless environment with the N900 router, which would enable several devices to be connected easily. Teachers would definitely have a need to display images and screenshots from one iPad to the whole class. The Apple VGA Adapter makes it possible to display any iPad without difficulty. Since learning activities are technology based, there is a need for a printer so assignments could be physically turned in to the teacher when necessary. Finally, to provide assistive technology to students who may struggle with the touch screen interface of the iPad, each lab would be equipped with two wireless keyboards (connected through Bluetooth technology) for typing and two styli for improved touch accuracy. With the iPads as the main component of the learning environments, the need arises for purchases of various educational apps and/or eBooks. Apps and eBooks can be purchased
inexpensively from Apple iTunes though their Volume Purchasing Program. The Volume Purchasing Program allows many apps to be bought at a significantly reduced rate when buying in large volume. With this quantity of iPads in use at Licking Heights Central, this would be the most cost-efficient way of providing apps for student and teacher use. This budget proposal provides money for the purchase of a $500 voucher that could be used in this fashion. Finally, the budget proposed provides money to fund a professional development opportunity to the teachers of Licking Heights Central presented by Apple. While many of our teachers have used iPads and other tablets in their personal lives, not many have had the chance to utilize them in a whole classroom setting. Through the Apple Professional Development Series, teachers would gain experience on how to maximize the learning potential of iPads when used in the classroom. The opportunity would be a 2-day series on best practices of the use of iPads in the classroom. The Apple Professional Development Series allows up to 16 participants at one time. The opportunity could cover such topics as: iPad basics, accessibility features, podcasting, apps for teachers, and productivity software. For this two day series, the cost would be $4500 paid to Apple.
To determine whether the maximum learning potential of the mobile laboratories has been achieved, teachers and students will complete a variety of surveys, as well as perform and undergo observations. Additionally, to examine possible increase in student proficiency rates, there will be a variety of data collection and analysis on practice and actual Ohio Achievement Assessments. With the exception of the set of surveys, each sample will be randomly selected from the population it represents. Each survey will be brief and administered through Google Docs, so that data collection will be quick and organized.
Effect of Apple Professional Development Workshop The first set of surveys will be administered to teachers participating in the Apple Professional Development opportunity. This opportunity allows a maximum of sixteen (16) participants. Each teacher or faculty member participating will be required to complete a pre- and postworkshop survey. This will be made a condition of participation for each staff member selected. For the pre-workshop survey, the participants will be asked questions related to current knowledge and intended uses of iPads in the classroom. Surveys may include, but not limited to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Do you currently own an iPad? If so, what type of iPad is it? Do you own any other type of tablet computer? If so, what type of device is it? What do you intend to learn through this Professional Development Opportunity? Have you ever used an iPad with your students in order to promote content learning? What advantages do you foresee with using iPads in the classroom? What difficulties or disadvantages do you see using iPads in the classroom? Do you currently have an activity planned for your students that will incorporate the use of iPads? If so, briefly describe the activity.
This survey may be found by clicking on the following link: Pre-Workshop Survey After attending the workshop, each participant will complete another survey. Surveys may include, but not limited to: 1. 2. 3. 4. What have you learned from this opportunity? What advantages do you now see with using iPads in the classroom? What disadvantages do you now see with using iPads in the classroom? If offered again, would you recommend other staff members take part in this opportunity? 5. If you have already planned an activity for your students, can you now think of any revisions that would be necessary?
6. If you had not planned an activity prior to the workshop, name one activity that you learned that you will most likely use in your classroom. 7. How do you plan to share this knowledge with other teachers that were unable to attend? This survey may be found by clicking on the following link: Post-Workshop Survey Quarterly Teacher Surveys Some teachers of Licking Heights Central will be required to complete a brief survey that details their use of the iPads during the school year. This survey will be administered four (4) times throughout the school year. With each administration of this survey, a randomly selected group of 15 teachers will complete the survey. Surveys can include, but not limited to: 1. How many times have you utilized the mobile labs to promote student learning? a. Never b. 1-5 times c. 6-10 times d. 11 times or more 2. If you have used the iPads as a part of whole-classroom instruction, in what ways have you used them. Briefly describe one activity. 3. What difficulties have you had when using the mobile lab? 4. What improvements would you suggest for the mobile labs? You may include any accessories and/or apps. This survey may be found by clicking on the following link: Quarterly Teacher Survey Quarterly Student Surveys Some students will also be required to complete a brief survey that details their use and feelings of the iPads during the school year. This survey will also be administered four (4) times throughout the school year. With each administration of this survey, a randomly selected group of 15 students per grade level will complete the survey. Surveys can include, but not limited to: 1. How many times have you utilized the mobile labs to promote student learning? a. Never b. 1-5 times c. 6-10 times d. 11 times or more 2. How would you describe your learning when using the iPads during a class? a. I learn a lot less when doing a learning activity with iPads. b. I learn less when doing a learning activity with iPads. c. I learn more when doing a learning activity with iPads. d. I learn a lot more when doing a learning activity with iPads.
3. I get excited about learning when I know that we are using the iPads in class. a. True b. False 4. What improvements do you feel are necessary for the mobile labs? You may include any accessories and/or apps. Please limit your response to three (3) possible improvements. This survey may be found by clicking on the following link: Quarterly Student Survey Learning Activity Observations Learning activities with the iPads will be observed from time to time. All teachers will be subject to an observation when using the iPads in their classrooms. Observations may come from administrators or another teacher that exemplifies best practices for iPad use in the classroom. Observers will take note of the following: Student involvement Student interest Learning Activity Success of Learning Activity
Student Testing Data Testing trends will be closely monitored throughout the school year. Licking Heights plans to complete two (2) practice Ohio Achievement Assessments, one (1) in October and one (1) in January. Trends in the data will be examined to verify growth of knowledge over the course of year. Furthermore, results of the actual Ohio Achievement Assessment will be compared to the previous year in a variety of aspects. The evaluators will examine if Adequate Yearly Progress is met and look closely at Value Added Measures to examine growth among students. Achievement will also be examined by comparing proficiency rates and performance index to past the year(s).
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