MTI Elementary Technology Evaluation

Demographics

MTI Elementary services grades 3-5.  Students attending this school are between the ages of 7 and 11.  There are approximately 423 students attending. The racial demographics are 65% african american, 28% caucasian, 5% hispanic, and 2% other.  Nearly  20% of the population is transient, meaning they will move to other schools inside and outside the district during the year; about 1% leave and come back during the same school year.  The population is 78% FARM (free and reduced meals) which qualifies the school to be Title One.  Seventeen percent of the population receives services through special education, not including speech or occupational therapy.  Fifty percent of the students test below their reading reading level, at least 25% are below by two or more grade levels. Most of these students do not qualify for special education.  English language learners make up less than 5% of the population.

There are 7 third grade teachers, 6 fourth grade teachers, and 6 fifth grade teachers.  The school has a full time media teacher, music teacher, and physical education teacher. It also has a traveling  physical education teacher and art teacher (they are at the school on certain days each cycle).  There are also 2 Title One teachers that offer remedial and enrichment lessons to students that are identified through formal assessment.  

The four special education teachers that service the whole school have an average caseload of sixteen students.  Most special education students are serviced in the classroom.  The fifth special education teacher has an  inclusive classroom with 9 students that includes students from all three grade levels. The school also has a speech teacher and an occupational teacher that come 1-2 days a week to service students.

There are approximately 12 instructional assistants in the school.  Some assistants spend the day assigned to one class only, while others are assigned to up to three classes.  The inclusive classroom has 2 instructional assistants assigned to it. One instructional assistant is assigned to the  “in-school suspension” room.  

The school also has a set of coaches that are assigned to 2 or more schools.  MTI elementary has a reading and math coach that come in weekly.  There are also 2 technology coaches who come in on request, as they are assigned to several schools.  

The school cycle is based on a 6 day week - A through F days.  Each day contains a special (media, music, physical education, or art).  One day a week the schedule will contain 2 specials, usually back to back.  Classroom teachers generally have a 45 minute planning period daily.  One day a week the planning will be between one hour and 15 minutes to one hour and 30 minutes. They a ½ hour duty-free lunch.  

Each regular classroom has a SMART Board, document camera, and teacher computer.  There is a set of 5 laptops housed in each classroom. There is a computer lab with 30 computers available to use by any class.  Finally 3 laptop carts house enough laptops for 1-2 classes to use simultaneously.  A classroom set of ipads is available when a technology coach is present.

Administrative

Policy

Behavioral: Integrated; Resources/Infrastructure:Intelligent

MTI Elementary’s school district has a technology plan that is formalized and approved by the school district’s school board.  The plan itself is published on the school board’s website.  Technology rules are monitored by the technology department and enforced.

Planning

Behavioral: Integrated; Resources/Infrastructure:Intelligent

MTI elementary has a school improvement committes made up of teachers, staff, and administration.  This committee reviews technology use in the school and using the district’s plan as a guide will make decisions for upcoming technology use dependent on curriculum needs.  There is a overview of the plan at the beginning of the year with all staff.

Budget

Behavioral: Integrated; Resources/Infrastructure:Integrated

Technology budgeting is mostly on the district level as they make the decisions for big equipment and apps.  Schools can request certain equipment and apps but it is subject to district approval.  School has, in the past, budgeted for certain technology items that it felt was in its own budget.  There is a specific technology budget on district level.  The school level budgets technology as a line item.

Administrative Information

Behavioral: Integrated; Resources/Infrastructure:Intelligent

E-mails with microsoft Outlook, grading with X2, leave requests, some discipline action requests, clocking in and out with Kronos, and finding substitutes with Aesop are on-line.  Many human resources forms are online.  Payroll forms are still paper formatted although direct deposit is encouraged.  The ability to see your paystub is paperless if you use direct deposit.  Time sheets are paperless for teachers while support staff still have to fill out a lunch break form on paper.  All administration and staff use the administrative systems daily.

Curricular

Electronic Information

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Integrated

MTI has a group of innovative teachers that use the internet and apps provided by the district daily as part of the learning curriculum.  However, there are many classroom teachers that chose to use traditional forms of teaching with electronic information used sporadically.  

The district provides a fairly diverse number of comprehensive apps to be used however, they do not provide a depth that will helpful with the curriculum.  For instance, there is a new app being used this year called Gizmo,  it allows students to do science experimentation on line.  It is a great app but can it only has a few experiments that are aligned with current grade level curriculum.  This happens frequently with the apps chosen by the board.  They have broad topics but limited use for each grade level according to the curriculum.

Assessment

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Islands

The innovative teachers at MTI use technology based lessons which include graded work from those lessons however, most assessments are paper and pencil quizzes/tests.  Student self-assessment is not a focus at the school presently.

The school uses SRI(scholastic reading inventory) to assess students reading levels 3 times a year. The SRI assessment is to assist teachers identifying needs and how to place students in small groups.  The other two assessments are used to evaluate student learning and teacher effectiveness.  This year the school is slated to give the yearly state assessment online.  In years past, the MSA science for 5th grade has been given online only.  Currently, the assessment reporting app used for benchmarks and MSA is Performance Matters.

Curricular Integration

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Islands

SMART Boards are installed in every classroom at MTI.  They are used daily.  Many

teachers use videos for reading, math, science, and social studies.  They also use apps and internet sites for reading and math when appropriate. Curriculum is dependent of SMART board use daily however the other technology tools are at the teacher’s discretion.  This leads to a mix of use in the school.  

Technology related resources are available for all curricular areas if a teacher is willing to do the research to find them.  There are not readily available apps for social studies provided by the district.  There are apps available to use specifically for reading, math, and science that are designed to be used regularly.  The math app used most frequently at MTI is First in Math.  It is used by most teachers daily or weekly as a small group station.  The reading and science apps however, have limited scope.  For instance, the district promotes a good reading app called Compass Learning.  Most of the lessons and skills taught on this app need to be read by the student.  MTI’s 50% below reading level demographics makes this app unusable.  

Teacher Use

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Integrated

SMART Boards are used daily at MTI. Around 75% of the teachers use some type of available technology daily.  They will use internet for research,videos to introduce a concept, apps for  practice, remediation and enrichment.  A few are starting to use Google programs as part of their lessons fairly regularly.  There are still about 25% do not use technology daily.  All teachers at MTI have access to appropriate technology in their work area.

Student Use

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Integrated

Students use technology often in most classrooms.  It is limited to teacher knowledge of how to use technology in the curriculum.  Many classrooms use the apps from district as a small group station to practice a math  or reading skill taught by the teacher.  There is internet use for research.  Over 50% of the teachers allow students to create presentations, use google docs, and do webquests.  There is no use of social media or blogging.  I Pads are limited to one classroom set for the whole school.  As stated about 75% of the teachers give students daily access to technology available at MTI.

There is another factor at MTI Elementary for student use of technology.  The student  population does not have a strong sense of respect for property.  Many teachers limit the use of computers and such because the equipment from headphones to monitor screens have been damaged by students not caring for it properly when they use it.  Also theft has been a problem in the past with portable devices.

Support

Stakeholder Involvement

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Emergent

The district technology plan has a committee that includes board staff only.   There are no committee members that work at a school level or teach in the classroom. The plan is uploaded on the website for perusal and schools/staff are e-mailed when implementation will occur in a timely manner.

Administrative Support

Behavioral: Integrated; Resources/Infrastructure:Islands

The administrative support through the district is intelligent but at a school level it is islands.  At district level there is extensive involvement in planning, practice, and implementation.  Overall, the district administration makes technology decisions through the district technology plan committee.  It is mainly district based with a yearly technology use survey sent to staff yearly.  Am unsure how much time district allows for the planning committee to meet.

Training

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure: Islands

District or school based approved apps such as Gizmo, Outlook and Performance Matters are given introductory training time during professional development days and sometimes during staff meetings.  All teachers must participate in the introductory training.  

For in depth training, there are online tutorials available and some technology courses provided by the district. The technology coaches will give cursory training on some apps during planning time at a teacher’s request.  There are a few on-site after school trainings available for certain technology apps during the school year. At MTI, 15-25% of the teachers at any one time take advantage of the in depth training opportunities.

Technical/Infrastructure Support

Behavioral:Emergent; Resources/Infrastructure:Integrated

All teachers are required to attend any introductory technology training. Instructional support staff are not included in these trainings.  The additional trainings are underutilized by MTI staff.

There is a technology staff member who is responsible for 2 or more schools.  They are at MTI 2-3 days a week.  It is possible to contact the staff member through a district portal app on the computer.  The staff member has been instructed to discourage phone requests as district wants to track use and repsonse time.

Connectivity

Local Area Networking (LAN)

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Islands

All staff members use the networks daily.  It used for administrationly - e-mails, leave forms, time-in, and substitute requests.  The networks are also accessed for internet and apps.  

High-speed networking is accessible in all areas of the school.  There are limitations.  This year, school policy changed so that every student has a password and needs to log on when using a computer/lapto.  The logging on process can take up to 10 minutes.  Small group usually have between 15-20 per station.  Also when many laptops are on at the same time connectivity is not as strong.

District Area Networking (WAN)

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Islands

Staff uses the district services daily for adminstrative uses, finding lesson ideas, plans, websites, use of district apps.

Applications are limited based on district choosing for a broad use across the district without consideration of school populations.  Dedicated lines are towers for intenet service are available however, it can take up to 10 minutes for teacher/student to log onto a computer/laptop.  When class sets of laptops are used connectivity is compromised.

Internet Access

Behavioral: Integrated; Resources/Infrastructure:Intelligent

There is frequent use of the internet by teachers and students.  Teachers use it to create lesson plans while students are directed to certain sites for practice purposes, introduction to concepts, to research, and this year to use google for writing and presenting. The use of the internet is based on teacher choice and not dictated by curriculum.  There is district internet access in all classrooms.

Communication Systems

Behavioral: Islands; Resources/Infrastructure:Islands

E-mail is used often for administrative subjects.  Teachers generally check e-mails before school and after school for important announcements. Questions to administration are not always answered in a timely manner so many teachers just go to the office during planning time or will call an administrator if something is needed in a timely manner. Students do not have access to e-mail at school.  Some teachers use e-mail to contact parents, however; phoning parent is the more popular.  

Innovation

New Technologies

Behavioral: Emergent; Resources/Infrastructure:Emergent

Staff members at MTI  are not attuned to change; therefore, there are usually complaints about the new technologies made available by the district.  A few teachers will try new technologies.  The lack of time available during school hours, the limitation of app available for the MTI population, and with only introductory training most teachers choose not to experiment or implement new technologies and apps.

Comprehensive Technologies

Behavioral: Emergent; Resources/Infrastructure:Islands

MTI teachers have access to computers, document cameras, SMART Boards, digital cameras, laptops, and one classroom set of I Pads (for the whole school).  Most staff members use their SMART board, computers, and document cameras.

SUMMARY

MTI Elementary’s overall technology use planning falls into the island category.  The school teachers and staff regularly use the computers in all grade levels for administrative and lesson purposes.  Seventy-five percent of the teachers use computers daily in their teaching however it is based on teacher skill and comfort level with the apps, internet, and technology.  Teachers and staff are reluctant to learn new technologies based on limited training opportunities that fit their schedule and needs. Many view new technologies as “one more hoop I have to jump through”.

There is a formal district technology plan in place that guides MTI’s administrative and instructional use.  The technology plan that is created, updated, approved and in place is based on a committee of district staff.  They are the assistant superintendent of admin. services,  director of elementary education, director of curriculum, coordinator of instructional technology, coordinator of assistive technology, coordinator educational technology, comptroller, and others will similar titles.  There is a once a year survey of technology use that is sent to staff members with “encouragement” to respond.  This is the only district-wide feedback the committee requests. There is no representation of teachers or students in this committee.

There is district training and limited school training on applications throughout the year.  

The district tends to purchase broad base “cookie cutter” apps that are used for broad purposes.  This leads to limited use with a school with MTI’s population even with training on the apps. If there is a problem with apps, which happens, the technical support person is not always available due to servicing 2-3 schools.

The district budget has a section for technology while the school budget has technology line items.  Some of the instructional delivery system is dependent on technology but this is based on the individual teacher’s choice and skill with technology.

All in all MTI is lucky in that they have computers and SMART boards available for use.  However, with limited professional development and apps that are limiting in curriculum usefulness, MTI has a way to go to have an intelligent technology use plan.