Hello. I have been working with the Delano Public School system to evaluate the potential impact of technology in the public high school as part of a wider initiative to consider the implications of technology-integrated classrooms across Minnesota.
You may be wondering why this is important? It is important because Minnesota’s school are failing. Year after year, the United States’ education system is falling further behind international counterpart on science and mathematics test results. Minnesota as an individual entity has three percent of all high school enrollees drop out each year, and only about two-thirds of all students pass mathematics and science testing; failure on these exams may mean that students are held back a grade or required to take the test again the following year, possibly postponing their graduation. Postponed graduation places additional stress on teachers by increasing class size and changing classroom dynamics. Test failure is also frequently used as an indication of school performance; schools with higher failure rates may be marked as underperforming schools or may be closed in more extreme instances or in the case of repetitive underperformance.
School’s failure has been a quandary for school officials and government organizations, as educational reform is difficult, costly, and relatively under-researched. There has been a movement towards researching new teaching methods; one of these involves technology integration. Technology in the classroom can include computers, SMART boards, LCD projectors, audience response systems, and more. Some have theorized that these tools in the classroom can yield improved learning outcomes, increased classroom efficiency, and increased student engagement. Student engagement and subject appreciation may be related to increased retention. Based on this, we must ask if technology could be a viable option to improve the state of the educational system in Minnesota.
In order to assess the feasibility of such a project, our research group selected a pilot school in which to conduct our research. Delano Public School, located to the west of the Cities on the boundary between suburban and rural settings, became the site of our research. In order to thoroughly analyze the project, we followed a five step process in order to look at the literature and to evaluate student and teacher interest via survey and interview. From this information, we made recommendations to further evaluate this tool’s potential through the integration of technology in certain classrooms and further observation after install.
An evaluation of the limited research that has been conducted in this area of interest supported the proposed benefits of technology integrated classrooms. Multiple studies supported increased learning outcomes through increased test scores, a common tool for assessing knowledge improvement in a certain subject area. Studies also supported increased engagement, and increased efficiency through increased individual student attention.
Through our survey, we were able to ascertain that the students at Delano Public Schools found their education “satisfactory.” This is in spite of the fact that Delano is commonly cited as one of Minnesota’s top public schools and was awarded “Blue Ribbon” status, which is a national honor bestowed on schools that are considered “high performing” or have had significant student achievement. The fact that student evaluation is not matching up with national and state measures of achievement was a concern for some educators at Delano. Other interesting points from interviews and survey was what students were particularly interested in – this included computers in the classroom, more small group or focus group work, and other technology, such as LCD projectors so that teachers could display PowerPoint lectures.
The teacher interviews and surveys yielded compatible results, indicating that randomly selected interviewees were representative for student and teacher preferences in this instance. Teacher evaluation showed support for LCD projectors, so that computer-based lecture notes and supplements could be shown, and for laptops or computers in the classrooms. Due to the class size at Delano, they did not feel that audience response would be particularly beneficial, and they did not know enough about SMART boards to evaluate them.
In conclusion, we have found that technology supports: learning outcomes and student engagement
That technology integration is wholly possible at Delano High School
And that this technology would be very unique in a Minnesotan Public school setting and would allow Delano to lead the foray into cutting edge technology in classrooms.
Based on this evidence, we have developed a plan implementing technology-based classrooms. A round table set-up will facilitate discussion and small group work, as the students desired, and will allow the electrical outlets for computers to be consolidated. Laptops will allow computers to be brought into classrooms on an as-needed basis, and internet router control will allow instructors to restrict internet access when it is unnecessary. SMART Boards and LCD Projectors in the classrooms will allow further tech-integration by allowing teachers to have their lectures on powerpoint and to do in-class work on the white boards and save it. Finally, class websites will make lecture notes and in-class notes available to students outside of class for studying; there is little concern for this increasing truancy since attendance is mandatory in public school classrooms, unlike in college lectures. We feel that this plan will advance Delano’s learning outcomes, student engagement, and teaching efficiency, and is something that should be continuously evaluated and improved upon as it is implemented and new information and technology becomes available. Thank you.
1. Image from sspps.org<br />Technology in Minnesota Public Schools<br />Is it feasible?<br />Report and Presentation by Catherine Newcomb<br />December 2010<br />
2. Minnesota Schools are Failing<br />… in Minnesota, 3% of High School students drop out each year…<br />NCES, 2009<br />Table 1.<br />MN Star Tribune, 2010<br />Table 1 above illustrates the number of public school students who passed statewide testing in mathematics and reading for 2010. <br />
3. Is there a solution?<br />It has been theorized that technology in schools could:<br />- Improve student learning<br /> - Increase classroom efficiency<br />- Increase student engagement<br />And so we have to ask…<br />Could technology improve the condition of Minnesota’s public school system?<br />
4. Making a Plan for Action<br />Step 1: Evaluate literature review of other instances of technology integration in educational systems.<br />Step 2: Design and administer a statistically significant survey evaluating student and staff interest.<br />Step 3: Interview randomly selected students to assess individual interest levels and suggestions regarding potential benefits.<br />Step 4: Interview randomly selected instructors to assess interest levels, technology competence, opinions regarding potential benefits, and opinions on cost effectiveness.<br />Step 5: Develop recommendations for further evaluation and implementation of technology integrated classrooms.<br />
5. The Literature says YES<br />Students using computer-based instruction completed tasks in less time and had higher test scores than students in a control group that received traditional, non-computer classroom teaching. (Kulik, 1994)<br />Computers and technology in the classroom can lead to small group activity with more student engagement and higher levels of student satisfaction. (Baker & O’Neil, 1994)<br />Eighth grade students showed significant improvement using computer-based development than their control group peers. (Wenglinsky, 1998)<br />Teachers in classrooms with one computer per student were able to increase individual student attention and spend less time on whole class lecture. (Russell et al., 2002)<br />Image from brooklyn.cuny.edu<br />
6. The Students say YES<br />Students currently rate their education at Delano Public School as:<br />Exceptional Satisfactory Needs Improvement<br />They are interested in learning more about the following in classrooms:<br /><ul><li> Computers
7. Small Groups
8. Other Technology</li></li></ul><li>The Teachers say YES<br />Teachers felt that LCD Projectors and Laptops could improve student learning.<br />Teachers did not support Audience Response Systems or SMART boards for Delano Schools.<br />Image from ismartboard.com<br />
9. Delano is Ready to Move <br />Forward<br />Technology integrated classrooms may improve learning and student engagement.<br />Technology integration is possible at Delano High School using the spaces currently available.<br />Integrated classrooms will put Delano High School at the leading edge of public education.<br />
10. Delano is Ready to Move <br />Forward<br />Technology integrated classrooms may improve learning and student engagement.<br />Technology integration is possible at Delano High School using the spaces currently available.<br />Integrated classrooms will put Delano High School at the leading edge of public education.<br />
11. Delano is Ready to Move <br />Forward<br />Technology integrated classrooms may improve learning and student engagement.<br />Technology integration is possible at Delano High School using the spaces currently available.<br />Integrated classrooms will put Delano High School at the leading edge of public education.<br />
12. What does Delano do next?<br />Our research supports the following for Delano High School:<br />Round table set-ups to facilitate group work with and without computers<br />Computer availability to classrooms via laptop carts<br />SMART boards in classrooms to allow saving in-class work<br />Class websites for internal and external references to facilitate learning and student engagement<br />Image of Delano Public High School<br />