You are on page 1of 7

Technology Maturity Benchmarks John Cheddar Burger Family School is located in a big city.

Cheddar Burger School admits students in grades Pre-K through eighth grade. Keeping with Mr. Cheddar Burgers philanthropic interests of providing youths with outside interests, John Cheddar Burger Family School has an adjacent Youth Club as well as numerous after school programs which academically and athletically enrich the students education. The esteemed Principal of Cheddar Burger is African-American, mid-forties and a former teacher. Mr. Dominguez is our Vice-Principal. He is Latino, mid-fifties and also a former school teacher. Both men have experience teaching in the district where they are leaders. Therefore, they understand the environment, teaching obstacles and are confident they can lead the students and staff to achieve greatness, which includes excelling in the State Academic Assessment. Instructional classrooms are equipped interactive Zippy Screens, IP phones and enhanced audio systems. All classrooms have automatic senor lighting and lavatory controls, along with computerized thermostat controls. John Cheddar Burger allows all technology to connect wirelessly anywhere in the building. The school also contains a state-of-the-art science lab, dedicated distance learning lab, media center, large gymnasium, art room, research lab and courtyard.

ADMINISTRATIVE Policy The leadership at John Cheddar Burger Family School is outstanding. Built several years ago, the school was the pilot school where each school thereafter would be modeled. In its conception, John Cheddar Burger was created to be a technology school with all administration supporting this core philosophy. The policies at John Cheddar Burger encourage the integration of new technology. Most staff members embrace this because it is part of the foundation of this school. Technology use is woven through the fiber of the daily routine of the school. This includes communication mostly through email, file sharing though the network drives and distance learning for students and staff. For staff members who are uncomfortable or require additional technology training the Tech Trainer holds Tech Day Trainings. She loves technology and has personal goal of taking John Cheddar Burger to the next level using technology. She also welcomes new ideas and encourages technology pioneers who want to bring technology into their classrooms to enhance learning. Planning Each school has its own budget. Effective budget planning is the key to providing students with the highest quality education and staff with the necessary resources to deliver outstanding instruction. Last year, the school updated a computer lab with 29 new computers. There are 28 student machines and one for the instructor. This year, the school is updating a PC Laptop lab with 25 new PC computers which includes one for the instructor. With the availability of two different platforms in the school, students have the opportunity of learning on both platforms with a variety of software. Both computer labs are also equipped with webcams, green screen kits

and lighting to create video. With a move toward digital learning, this equipment can also be used for micro distance learning from classroom to classroom. Distance learning can be expanded throughout the district with John Cheddar Burger the pilot school. Budget While true budgetary data is unavailable, each teacher has over one hundred dollars to spend on classroom supplies. The Pre-K budget is provided by the Early Learners Academy. The Technology Department is partially responsible for the budget for the computer labs. Last year, I purchased green screen equipment, a professional quality microphone and stand and 30 pairs of earphones. This equipment will be used in the spring for a variety of projects including a Student Channel including weather reports, travel information and other media segments upon request. Every schools administration chooses how they want to spend their allocated budget. At John Cheddar Burger, the administration wants each teacher to receive the same budget so the teachers can purchase the materials they need and each teacher feels equally valued. CURRICULAR Electronic Information With advancements in technology and the need for data collection, companies are developing tools that teach necessary skills and allow teachers to see the progress the students have made, where their weaknesses lie and how classroom instruction can close these gaps to ensure all students acquire the necessary knowledge to be successfully progress throughout their academic careers. All school employees and students have email accounts. While students in Pre-K and kindergarten do not use email, their parents as well as parents of students in upper grades can access student grade books online. Furthermore, our school website provides staff, students and their families with information about school and community events as well as information regarding websites that can enhance their childs education. The website provides links to staff email and websites. It is requested that staff check their email twice daily to ensure that all information is being disseminated in a timely manner and that all staff is aware of pertinent school and district information. Information disseminated electronically ensures that it reaches the entire school and does not interrupt instruction throughout the day. Assessment / Curricular Integration One assessment tool that has been integrated in grades two through eight is Mr. Math. Designed and hosed by mathematics experts, Mr. Math is a web based program that provides students practice in math skills at various levels. Students

log into the program and begin practicing drills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions and so on. When students achieve an acceptable level of mastery at a particular skill level, the students can play games to enhance the new skill. The program tracks the students progress and displays the results so students are aware of their progress. This also contributes to building their confidence to continue to use the program. Read To Me is used at the elementary level to enhance literacy instruction. Teachers are provided with kits which include reading materials that can be used in small group instruction. Read To Me does not replace the literacy curriculum but enhances skills taught in the classroom. There are also additional materials located on the Read To Me website and an assessment to ensure students acquire the necessary reading comprehension skills. Literacy Squared is an intervention program which brings students who are reading below grade level to an acceptable level. Literacy Squared provides reading, writing, and vocabulary instruction based upon ongoing assessments conducted in each program component. The program differentiates instruction in order to meet specific student needs. With the integration of Zippy Screens in each classroom, teachers can use the resources found on the Zippy Screen website. On the website, teachers can create a free user account to access lessons in all subject areas that can be used to engage the students and reinforce content taught in the classroom. SUPPORT This is probably the only area where John Cheddar Burger is in the emergent stages. I think that the stakeholders (teachers and students) should have a limited role. The individuals who make the decisions are extremely competent and forward thinking. If there were more staff members involved, I do not think that sound technology decisions would be made because the decisions would be made based on a personal comfort level rather than a forward thinking approach. For example, the Tech Trainer spoke with me about the purchase of new computers for my classroom. I was confident in her choices and therefore, did not feel the need to discuss specific technology further. Also, when new furniture was chosen, we discussed the choices and both agreed on the same tables. She and I see eye to eye on many things and therefore, any purchase for my classroom is at the integrated stage. Administrative Support The Administrative staff is extremely supportive of staff members who have foresight and want to provide their students with an exceptional education beyond the curriculum requirements. Department meetings are held weekly with administration to convey information, answer questions and share teaching

strategies. These strategies may include successes, less than perfect lessons or classroom management techniques. In the special area department which encompasses Computer Literacy, Library Science, Physical Education and Health, Art, Music and Spanish language, discussion topics include the tie in of these special areas to literacy, math, science and social studies curriculum to ensure that students are experiencing the curriculum in new ways. This will also enhance the topics taught in the classroom in new and interesting ways. Training John Cheddar Burger continuously offers training each Tuesday with Tech Day Training which specifically targets new technology initiatives and refreshment in areas where teachers would like to revisit specific technology topics. Teachers are also encouraged to use their two professional days each year to take training classes which peak their interest. Every teacher has a Find Learning Fun account which allows them to access audio, video, images, websites and printable materials to enhance instruction. A top rated best professional development website, its a place for educators to connect across the globe. Here, all users can read the blogs and discussion boards. Find Learning Fun Educators (any educator that has a Fun account) has the ability to comment on the blogs, post to the discussion boards, and register for Find Learning Fun Network events. During the school year, Fun participants are asked to share their knowledge with the staff so we can all benefit from their newly acquired technology knowledge. Technical/Infrastructure Support The Tech Trainer is not only a superb technology educator but is also extremely competent when troubleshooting technology issues and diligent when placing requests to fix technology issues that are beyond the scope of her position (Zippy Screen repairs, hardware installations) as well as introducing new technology at John Cheddar Burger. Part of her position involves arranging and facilitating distance learning activities in our distance learning lab. The lab is equipped with distance learning equipment which can be used to facilitate inter-district trainings and those that are at a greater distance. Each school is also assigned certified district technicians. Our school technical and network technician have superb skills and are extremely competent. As soon as the new PC lab arrived, our school technician came to the school to create an image of one of the computers with the software specifications of my choice. I also wanted to include a non-standard web browser, school favorites for math, literacy and my homepage, and other websites used during my instruction periods. I also included additional add-ons to ensure the Web 2.0 tools used in the classroom are able to function with the new computers.

CONNECTIVITY John Cheddar Burger is designed so staff and students can connect anywhere in the building wirelessly. This allows students to use various devices easily. One example of this utilization was a butterfly experiment in the school courtyard. This past fall, teachers were able to digitally record the students interacting with butterflies in the school courtyard using their tablets. While the courtyard is contained within the parameter of the school, the wireless connectivity reaches this area which allowed both teachers and students to capture this scientific interaction easily. Likewise, the PC Lab is also a wireless classroom. Students can share what they are learning with other students by disconnecting the power cords when necessary and turning their laptop toward their classmates or me. Throughout the District, every school generally as the same Internet connectivity speed. While some schools have new wiring because they have been built within the past seven years, all of the schools have newer computer labs and many have wireless Internet connectivity. This is extremely helpful for lesson integration when schools are using tablets, mini laptops or other wireless devices. When there are bandwidth issues, they are addressed by the technology department. Currently, the District is migrating all phones to an IP (Internet Protocol) phone system. The newer schools in the district are also receiving the new technology. With this integration, data transmission is faster. Voicemail can be accessed using email and conference calls can be administered more easily. For the New Year, several computer teachers would like to conduct a distance learning lesson from their classrooms. The infrastructure is in place and a test lesson can be conducted after school hours to ensure the outcome is successful. Furthermore, the lesson will be used to achieve state proficiency standards and to introduce the students to distance learning. In the past, the District has used their voice, data and WAN resources for an all district webinar where staff interacted from a general area in each school. With advancements in data speed, there will be push to conduct the same types of seminars to a personal computer in the teachers classroom (which can be displayed on a Zippy Board). These resources can also be used to teach students particular material in a computer lab because each student would have their own computer to view and interact with and the teacher can answer questions (both academic and technical) if needed. INNOVATION John Cheddar Burger Family School prides itself on being on the cutting edge of technology. The administration encourages staff members to integrate new technology into their lessons to engage students and introduce them to technology that they can use in upper level coursework or in class projects.

While some teachers pride themselves with introducing and utilizing new technology in their classes, other teachers are resistant to change. In many cases the school or the district insists that teacher use or integrate a particular technology into their instruction to increase knowledge acquisition. Other uses of technology are for book keeping purposes or data entry. In some instances, an educator may find a website or Web 2.0 tool that has been blocked by the school district and requires the site or tool to be unblocked. There are several tools that are promoted by the Technology Department such as Talky Talky or My Blog on a Wog. A district license has been purchased for My Blog on a Wog and therefore, this tool should be utilized by technology teachers in their classrooms. While Talky Talky is a free website, the use of this website helps standardize the education throughout the district. In a school district where students move continuously, it is important that their work follow them to build confidence and consistency. In addition, some new tools which teachers would like to use need to be justified and approved. While teachers are asked to be inventive and forward thinking, all ideas need to be approved regardless of applicability. CONCLUSION Evaluating a school environment objectively without bias is challenging. Examining the school environment with the purpose of providing both the staff and students with a better academic environment makes this task a bit easier, but not necessarily a stroll in the park. An ongoing goal for John Cheddar Burger Family School is reaching an intelligent level in every maturity benchmark. As the first new school in the District, the individuals at John Cheddar Burger continuously strive for excellence. After carefully reviewing the Maturity Benchmarks that were integrated and not intelligent, there was one common thread that limits intelligent achievement at John Cheddar Burger: control. The district technology leaders need to allow competent school leaders to have more control over their technology choices. Recognizing shortcomings can be positive when is it viewed as a vehicle for positive improvement. One of the foundations of John Cheddar Burger Family School is that is was the beginning of a new chapter in urban education. John Cheddar Burger continues to strive toward creating success by continuously reevaluating its academics, processes and leadership. Successes are always celebrated at John Cheddar Burger. By recognizing success, additional success is an attainable goal because it is part of the core of John Cheddar Burger Family School. To reach the intelligent stage in the Maturity Benchmarks, the technology leaders should recognize the intelligence and talent within the teaching staff of the District and John Cheddar Burger Family School. Once the reigns are loosened, the creative ideas will flow and true success will be achieved.