School Summary: Technological Maturity
The school that I am evaluating is a public high school in Los Angeles Unified School District. The high school has more than 3,500 students and over 99% of them are Latino, mainly Mexican. Of the remaining there are a handful of whites (4?), blacks (whom could be Latino), and maybe a few Asian students. It is a program improvement school and a Title I school, it’s most recent API score was 652. Despite some of the challenges that the school has, the community is wonderfully supportive and there is a spirit of improvement at the school.
Overall, in the area of ‘administrative’, the school was seen as being at the ‘emergent’ stage. I felt that the reason that it got high marks in the ‘administrative information’ category is because most schools I’ve seen these days do the bulk of the day-to-day administrative tasks in programs that combine grades, attendance, etc. But it fits in with the ‘emergent’ nature of my school that it’s program that does these tasks is less accessible than one I used in another school 5 years ago. Maybe they need to revisit their technology plan and see what options there are to have a better software program.
This section fared better than the previous section. Overall, if you average the scores based on a four-point system, the school is in the ‘Islands’ stage, slowly moving to ‘integrated’.
In the area of ‘assessment’, it saddened me to see us so low of the benchmarks set out because this is such an important area. We are failing our students and ourselves as professionals by not utilizing data-bases, using technology for assessments, etc.
In the area of ‘teacher use’, we scored relatively high, but with one caveat, it is a first come, first served situation. If you do not get your hands on the document readers, teacher laptops or LCD projectors before they have all been distributed, you might not be able to access one from the school.
In this area there was an overall score of 1.8, ‘emergent’ leaning towards ‘islands’. One of the problems I saw was that in terms of ‘stakeholder involvement’, I just never hear about anything tech related. I think it’s all done on the administration level or with the School Based Management committee, which is comprised of teachers, so hopefully it is good. Furthermore, we have had trainings for people who have Smartboards in their rooms, but the training was not ongoing, so we still stay at an ‘emergent’ level.
However, we scored very high in the area of IT support. We used to have three full-time gentlemen who fixed mainly computer problems, but did a host of other things as well (i.e. set up hardware and software). It is now down to one full time and one half-time, but still, it is great to have Mario!
|Local Area Networking (LAN)||behavioral||x|
|District Area Networking (WAN)||behavioral||x|
In 2011, one would be safe to bet that most schools would score high in this category. The only reason we scored a little low on ‘internet access’ is because it would be ideal to have wi-fi that covered the whole school, and not just sections. Also, the desktop computers don’t always work. That has caused problems with attendance and submitting grades at times.
We also scored a little low in ‘communication systems’ because there is no school effort to push for email addresses for the students. But these days, most students have to have email if they want to register for certain games or go on Facebook, so we might be in the clear.
Going back to stakeholder involvement and the feeling that most teachers do not have a clear picture of the schools stance and direction when it comes to technology related concerns, I am not sure about the ‘new technologies’ category. However, we did score high in the ‘comprehensive technologies’ area due to the fact that we have a lot of basic technology that covers the areas stipulated in the benchmarks.
After looking at all of my responses in the survey, it looks like the school overall is performing on an ‘island’ moving quickly to ‘integration’ stage. I have to add though that we scored a huge majority of our ‘intelligent’ ratings for things that most schools have now by 2011. Therefore, maybe the school is at a firm ‘island’ stage. According to definitions of each maturity level, ‘island’ means that we are regularly using computers, have a formal plan, training is available and our delivery of the curriculum is somewhat dependent on technology. From looking at this definition, either those ‘connectivity’ scores really skewed my survey data or I have a biased opinion of how well the school is doing.
This is to say, when I look at the definition for ‘emergent’, it seems my school is more at that level. One of the big reasons is that I don’t know of any formal or ongoing tech plan. It seems that the school may be going the route discussed in the guidebook put forth by the Mississippi State grad students; we have a few computer labs, 2 laptop carts, and a basic computer skills class and feel content. I know that before I started the class I felt content with this. I felt proud of having students use laptops to type final essays and teaching them how to do Powerpoint. Now that I realize my own plans were not very systematic, and they were shallow, I can see how we could be at an ‘emergent’ stage and not even know it. It’s like a dictator who is surrounded by yes-men who don’t tell her how bad the country really is. The school bought Smartboards for about 7 teachers, and from what I hear, a majority are not used at all. One of them spent the whole year sitting in the teacher bathroom room! That is unacceptable if we are going to take our classrooms and everyone inside them to the next level.
All told, I am not readily able to explain why my school would be at the emergent level. I don’t know if it’s a monetary thing or a lack of vision, or something else. I feel that we could score higher, with little to no cost, by focusing on areas like teacher dependence on technology (i.e. we could at least be using Powerpoints thusly engaging multiple intelligences), stakeholder involvement (i.e. let teachers know the goals of the school in the tech area), and it would be nice to have periodic trainings that take the time they give us to collaborate and where people just talk most of the time after the meeting starts 20 minutes late. If we could just focus on those three areas for starters, we could begin to frugally inch our way into a realm that will indubitably help the students progress.