Chapter 1 final draft


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Chapter 1 final draft

  1. 1. Implementation of document cameras and other technologies at Monte Gardens Elementary, Concord, CA<br />A Project Presented to the Faculty of the College of Education<br />By Megan Gerdts<br />Touro University<br />In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree of <br />MASTERS OF ARTS<br />In<br />Educational Technology<br />By<br />Megan Gerdts<br />May, 2010<br />Abstract<br />Our lives have been transformed by new technology and it is no surprise that technology is quickly making its way into the classroom. Teachers are using document cameras, computers, LCD projectors, and digital cameras to teach students. With this influx of technology has risen the problem of a lack of professional development and training. Many teachers lack the skills and desire to effectively use technology in preparing and delivering standards-based lessons. Monte Gardens Elementary, a school in Concord, California with which the researcher is very familiar, recently purchased document cameras and LCD projectors for all of its teachers. This implementation project provided the training and staff development required for the Monte Gardens’ staff to successfully use the technology in delivering effective, engaging, standards-based lessons.<br />Chapter 1<br />With the 21st century, came many new technologies for both personal and educational use. Parents used to check the mailbox for correspondence from a high-school friend; they now check their electronic mail on a cellular telephone. Students used to come home from school and play outdoors in the dirt with neighborhood friends; they now play video and computer games indoors with their friends. Teachers used to write on chalkboards and use ditto machines, but are now using document cameras, projectors, and computers as tools in teaching their students. We now live in a technology-rich society.<br />As technology rapidly entered our society, it trickled into schools at a slower pace. As an elementary teacher at a middle-class, suburban school, the researcher saw the trickle gain momentum as grant money poured into the school’s coffers this year. The principal at Monte Gardens Elementary decided that document cameras and LCD projectors would be the best use of the money. She felt that these technologies were something that the majority of teachers would use with proper training and staff development. Research also supports the idea that students learn more when the concepts are presented using appropriate technology (Taylor, Casto & Walls, 2007). <br />Pusey, Sadera & Kenton (2007) found that successful technology integration includes coaching and instruction as well as technical support. As the document cameras and projectors arrived, the staff was trained on the basics of using the document cameras and LCD projectors. This process was much less difficult than what the researcher anticipated. The new technology was met with enthusiasm instead of grumbling. The next step is to do more in-depth training with the staff introducing all of the components and functions of the document cameras. This project will focus on looking into document camera use as well as how to properly integrate technology into the elementary classroom. Staff was trained on how the Internet can enhance their teaching as well. The goal of this project is to research best practices and to train the staff how to effectively integrate technology into their teaching. The Monte Gardens principal often tells the staff to work smarter, not harder. Technology, with proper staff development, can aid in this endeavor.<br />Statement of the Problem<br />While each teacher has a laptop, LCD projector, and document camera at Monte Gardens Elementary, there has been little instruction on integration. The training done thus far has been centered on technicalities such as proper cooling of the lamp and dust mitigation. Teachers have been exposed to the possibilities of the document cameras, but have had no formal instruction on best practices.<br />Successful implementation of technology is partially determined by the staff members’ perceptions of the technology itself, their experience with computers, as well as their understanding of the technology coordinator’s job (Mueller, Wood, Willoughby, Ross, Specht, 2008; Pusey, Sadera, Kenton, 2007). In the researcher’s target district, Mt. Diablo Unified, the technology coordinator is the liaison between the school site and the district. The coordinator is also responsible for training staff and providing minor technical support at the school site. <br />The goal of this project is to research best practices with implementation, create and carry out an effective technology implementation plan. This plan will include a reference guide as well as trainings that support effective teaching with technology.<br />Background and Need<br />While there are many factors that affect the implementation of new teaching practices involving technology, a few stood out that impact the staff at Monte Gardens Elementary. These factors include teachers’ attitudes toward technology, teachers’ experience with technology, and the perceptions of the technology coordinator’s role in training and staff development. <br />Baek, Jung, and Kim (2006) stated that the factor in implementation that had the biggest impact on teachers’ adoption of technology was the idea that someone in higher authority was requiring it (2006). This implied that many teachers decide to use technology based on someone telling them that they were required to use it, rather than truly believing that using technology can be an effective method for delivering curricula (Baek et al., 2006). This attitude toward technology does not foster positive outcomes or successful integration. A couple of years ago, each teacher at Monte Gardens received a laptop because the district required all attendance be taken online using a new program bought by the district. Although taking attendance online was a very simple process, it was met with a large amount of resistance from the staff. There is a large amount of data available to teachers using the online program, but many teachers were resistant to the change.<br />The second factor that affects integration levels is the teachers’ experiences with computers (Mueller et al., 2008). Mueller et al. discovered that the most important factor for determining if an elementary school teacher was going to be a high integrator was whether he/she had positive experiences with computers in the past. Although the researcher could not change people’s prior experiences with computers, she was determined to make technology integration a positive experience from that point forward. Age also tends to be a factor – older teachers appear to integrate technology less than younger teachers (Eteokleous, 2007), however, years of teaching experience had little impact (Mueller et al., 2008). That seems to be a dichotomy because teachers who have been teaching for more years, have to be older. Mueller et al. (2008) mentioned that perhaps the newer teachers, who had pre-service training in technology, are busy organizing and managing their classrooms, leaving little time for technology integration. Whatever the reason, there is room for improvement. <br />The third factor, which works against the implementation of technology, is the teachers’ misunderstanding of the technology coordinator’s role. Many teachers believe that the person is there only for technical support and do not use him/her as a resource for integration ideas and lessons. This leads to a lack of movement toward integration because teachers are not pursuing new opportunities or methods with the technology coordinator (Pusey et al., 2007).<br />While it appears that there are many factors working against successful integration of technology, the research provides some clear avenues that we need to explore. Mueller et al. suggest that we need to differentiate our professional development, realizing that some people will gain more from it than others. Secondly, teachers need positive reinforcement and to be successful when they practice using technology. Lastly, as the hindrances to integration begin to crumble, we need to start building on the foundations that are being laid (Mueller et al., 2007). <br />As we have looked into technology integration, much of the focus has been on the classroom teacher. Most of the research on technology integration focuses on what the teachers need to do. Hew and Brush (2007) suggest that future research focus on variables at the school site or district level since most policies and technology-related decisions are made at those levels rather than at the classroom level. <br />After learning what research-based, effective technology implementation was, it was clear that developing training based on the needs of each teacher at Monte Gardens, was going to be most effective. Successful teachers differentiate for the different learning styles and comprehension levels of their students. This is how the researcher approached staff training. It was important to include a reference guide for those teachers who had difficulties remembering steps in a process, so that was incorporated into the project as well.<br />Purpose of Project<br />As technology becomes an integral part of society and education, we must include training in how to best integrate it. Technology offers so much, yet most teachers are unaware of the great things that can be accomplished using technology. At Monte Gardens Elementary, teachers are excited about the possibilities with document cameras and projectors. <br />In order to properly train and meet the needs of all teachers, the technology coordinator, who is also the researcher for this project, will create an implementation plan and carry it out. The purpose of this plan will be to educate the staff on proper use of the technology as well as best practices in effectively teaching using technology. Teachers will see model lessons and given an opportunity to plan their own lessons. We will visit educational websites and discuss their benefits and uses in the classroom. Teachers will leave the training with a reference manual outlining the topics covered and highlighting items that are more complex.<br />Objectives<br />In order for technology to be properly integrated, staff must be trained in best practices as it relates to the specific technology being used. This project will have three components a) creation of a reference manual for staff; b) training in basic technology use; c) ongoing workshops relating to specific topics or needs of the staff.<br />The reference manual will be a fast way for teachers to remember how to set up a specific lesson as well as websites that are useful for elementary teachers. The website list will be added to as needed.<br />In addition, the teachers will receive training in the use of the technologies available to them. Specifically, teachers will learn how to use document cameras and projectors effectively, as well as the Internet. The teachers will be exposed to lessons involving both technologies and time will be given for teachers to apply what they have learned. <br />Lastly, teachers will be given the opportunity to attend workshops with specific topics such as how to use certain software, web 2.0 applications, blogs, saving images using the document camera, and many more. The topics of these modules will be determined by the needs of the staff. <br />Specific Outcomes of this Project:<br />Staff will know how to use the technologies at Monte Gardens Elementary.<br />Staff will integrate technology into lessons as it is appropriate.<br />Students will be exposed to more technology-enriched lessons.<br />Staff will use the technology coordinator as a resource for both integration questions and technological support.<br />Summary<br />Monte Gardens Elementary School purchased document cameras and projectors for each of their teachers. Now, the staff needs training and lesson plan ideas to properly integrate this technology into the curriculum. This project will help the teachers at Monte Gardens become comfortable with and effectively use the technology in their teaching.<br />References<br />Baek, Y., Jung, J., Kim, B. (2008). What makes teachers use technology in the classroom? Exploring the factors affecting the facilitation of technology with a Korean sample. Computers and Education, 50, 224-234.<br />Brown, D., Warschauer, M. (2006). From the University to the Elementary Classroom: Students’ Experiences in Learning to Integrate Technology in Instruction. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 14(3), 599-621.<br />Eteokleous, N. (2008). Evaluating computer technology integration in a centralized school system. Computers and Education, 51, 669-686.<br />Hew, K., Brush, T. (2006). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research. Education Technology Research Development, 55, 223-252.<br />Muller, J., Wood, E., Willoughby, T., Ross, C., Specht, J. (2008). Indentifying discriminating variables between teachers who fully integrate computers and teachers with limited integration. Computers and Education, 51, 1523-1537.<br />Straub, E. (2009, June). Understanding Technology Adoption: Theory and Future Directions for Informal Learning. Review of Educational Research, 79(2), 625-650. <br />Taylor, L., Casto, D., Walls, R. (2007). Learning with versus without technology in elementary and secondary school. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 798-811.<br />