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Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast
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Ed Tech Thoughts on the Space Coast

Professional Development

FETC Take Aways - First Edition - The T-Shirt Discovery

Cut to the chase Shupester, don't bore me with the story of how a t-shirt led to your new discovery!
Growing up in a beach surf culture in the 1970's engendered an extraordinary interest in t-shirts. Promoting rock concerts and doing rock radio in the 80's just reinforced my obsession and collective hoarding. What a fun way to show whose tribe I belong to, what products I like, what jams I listen to.

So when I am at a conference, watching for interesting t-shirts is a part of the experience.

A Measure of Technology Integration

So I made a brash statement...
In a previous blog entry I lamented that 80% of today’s teachers don’t feel compelled or prepared to really integrate what could be considered 21st century technology skills.
As I wrote this, it occurred to me that this was really just a guess on my part. Although I have traveled to quite a few schools across the nation to do professional development, I had not read any research upon which to base such a statement. So the scientist in me said, “Let’s find out!”.
So I constructed a Google Doc’s Survey (survey now closed).
It was a simple survey that was really only asking two questions:
  1. What percentage of the teachers at your institution could be considered technology literate in personal practice?
  2. What percentage of the teachers at your institution use lesson plans that provide students with activities that incorporate 21st century technology?
There were also seven demographic types of questions, so that the responses to the two questions could be desegregated into subgroups.
Not a Perfectly Sound Scientific Study
I appreciate solid, well-thought-out research. This Google form was thrown together in a couple of hours with distractions. Here are some admitted weaknesses:
  • Technology Literacy was defined in terms that for some people may be too limiting, and for others may have been too broad:
    Web 2.0 defined as participating in social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc. commenting, rating, tagging, shared collections of bookmarks, photos, videos, or blogs. 21st Century Skills would include such things as online text, audio and video conferencing and collaboration, a use and ability to edit digtital files such as video, photo or audio files. Standard computer skills include page layout, presentation design, use of spreadsheets and databases.
  • The number of respondents over the 10 day period was only 124.

  • The data collected reflects an opinion of an individual, as opposed to an objective measure of each school. So I really feel this type of survey might be useful to think about our teacher and student’s experience in terms of a generalized trend.
almost 20% of the respondents were from schools where each student was issued a computer
  • The sample was not really ‘random’ by most measures. This survey was promoted primarily through Twitter followers many of whom were at the higher end of tech savvy educators. This was a mixed blessing– these survey respondents were probably better suited to answer these questions from an educated view point than (for example) a random parent who has limited direct experience with all the teachers at a given institution.
    However, it also meant that almost 20% of the respondents were from schools where each student was issued a computer- a much higher ratio of technology per student than the national or international average. One would expect that teachers were teaching at a much higher level of technology integration in such a setting!
  • It was pointed out to me (by a parent) that I had not included 0% in my scale for a possible answer. (What can I say?– I am an optimist and generally try and promote my professionHappy)

Breadth of Survey Response Geographically
  • 28 out of 50 states of the USA were represented
  • 21 respondents were from countries other than the United States (leading the pack were 4 from both Canada and the United Kingdom and 3 from Australia)
Private versus Public Schools
Almost exactly 1/4 of the school respondents were from private schools.

Here we get down to the meat of the survey. I suspected that more teachers are personally using technology, and was pleased to see that 35% of the schools felt that at least half of the teachers were personally using technology extensively.

On the other hand, one wonders how schools that have only 10% of their teachers personally using technology are going lead their student population into the new decade. This group represented almost 20% of the schools!

The Real Question- How much of this Technology is Reaching the Students?!!
Next we have something of an answer to the real important question, because it is the students that matter. Is the opportunity to learn with technology reaching the students? When you look at this as a chance that one child will receive technology infused instruction, it is much better than I thought– but there is still a long way to go. Almost a third of the schools provide only one chance out of 10 to receive this experience. My next step is to isolate the responses from the
Standard schools, I predict that the 1:1 schools have pushed the integration numbers up considerably. I think looking at the Standard schools will betray much lower technology integration in the average classroom.

What do these responses say to you? Please leave your comments below!

Getting Engaged

It is so easy to complain...

Ruts are really quite comfortable. I have been down this path before, I know where it leads...

Kids today don’t want to learn. They don’t pay attention. They are so rude!

Maybe they can’t see me down here in this rut...

AM I READY for something new? AM I WILLING TO TRY?

So different... I expect different results

Early this month I had the opportunity to do some work with a team of nine other Apple Professional Development trainers in Upper Township, New Jersey. They were rolling out a teacher laptop program and they really wanted to capitalize on the excitement of new modern mobile technology. Each teacher was getting a Smartboard System and MacBooks.

What really set this training apart was that in all ten of the training rooms, there was a district administrator participating in the workshop. Not so much supervising as participating. From the superintendent down to the dean... participating.

What does the administration communicate by doing this?

  • I am a lifelong learner.
  • I don’t know it all.
  • This training is important.
  • Your time here is important.
  • I am interested in this.
  • I want to know what is possible.
  • I want to see how hard this is.
  • I want to know how this could impact learning in our school system.

I really expect the results of this training are going to be very different from most trainings I do, because this district knows how to lead by example.

Workshop Time!!!

It is so hard to keep current with Technology... I look forward to the months for this reason.

Here is an excellent podcast that will certainly help you with your vocabulary, it is fun and interesting as well.

Here is my quoted material.