I have always known that I am a fortunate teacher. I work in a district that supports the integration of technology into the classrooms for the benefit of the students and the faculty. I could list several reasons why I felt so positive about my school. However, I would not have been able to specifically tell you what we needed to do next in order to move forward. Having completed a school environment evaluation, I can now say that I know where we have been as a district and some ideas as to what we can do to improve in the area of technology.
I began by using the template you see embedded below. I ranked our elementary school’s technology in five separate filters: administrative, curricular, support, connectivity, and innovation. It was interesting to see the differences in how our administration/staff utilized technology for data purposes, versus how we utilized technology for instructional purposes. Organizing what we have/utilize in this way helped break things down into an easy to understand table.
I used this information to organize an evaluation. I found results that didn’t surprise me. I knew what we had in our school, however I was not able to articulate the information as well as I should have. By organizing the information, I am now able to share exactly where I think we are doing well and where we need improvement.
I find that our district is in the integrated category in resources and infrastructure. We do have a lot of good things going on and we have a very supportive administration. I was able to find some areas we could improve; going paperless and strengthening our network.
The behaviors in our school put us in the islands category. Our faculty has done some wonderful things and utilized several different technologies. Some of these are required by the district: email, Calendar, assessment tools, etc. Some of the technologies that are not required but encouraged are not utilized by all. These higher level tools (video, Skype, iPads) need to be further integrated if students are to reap the full benefits they offer.
Throughout this course, I have been working to complete several AECT Standards. This project has addressed some of these standards. Standard 4 addresses the area of management. Having been a part of our school’s technology committee for several years now, I have seen a lot of positive advances. Completing this school environment evaluation has allowed me to complete a valuable tool that can assist my committee and its’ managing of our technology integration.
Standard 5 addresses the area of evaluation. Being able to gather, categorize, and summarize our school’s technology integration has been a valuable experience. I was able to evaluate our progress as well as find our weaknesses. Teachers recognize the importance of evaluation in making an effective plan for future learning.
I feel optimistic, humbled, and anxious to see where our committee will go from here. In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful for this opportunity to evaluate our school’s technology integration. The next project in this course will hopefully provide the experience and encourage me to utilize the information I have found to benefit my school.