1.)An overview of the personas personal characteristics including family and background Maria, an 8th grader, is a hard worker, both in school and at home. Her Father left several years ago, so she lives with her single parent Mom. Her Mother works two jobs to make ends meet, so it is up to Maria to take care of her little brother, a 1st grader, after school. Her Mom does not get back from the extra job until after 9:00 pm each night, so it is up to her to make dibber for her brother, help him with school work, and then put him to bed. Persona: Only then does she get a chance to do her own school work. Maria Llanos Her Mother, who emigrated here from Guatemala before she was married, never attended college. In fact, if Maria is successful in making that her goal, she would be the first in her family to work on a college degree. She has a determined nature, but at times struggles in school.
2.) School characteristicsMaria works hard in school, but it does not come easy to her. She never tested high enough to get the chance to be part of the Advanced Academic program, but has always wondered what it would be like to be pushed that hard. She had a teacher in 7 th grade that taught her a lot about research, but it was not part of an official class, so there is no specific record of advanced work on her records. She knows she needs to find some way to prove she can work extra hard and be successful, because she wants to apply for admission to Thomas Jefferson School for Science and Technology. She has friends who take GT classes, and knows what one needs to make themselves stand out in the 3,500 applications TJ gets each year for admission to 1 of 500 spots in the Freshman class. As mentioned before, she struggles with her work sometimes. In fact, Maria turns work in late every once in a while. Also, her teachers see her sleeping in 1 st and 2nd periods sometimes and interpret that as someone who does not care, and stayed up late playing games online. That is not the case. Often, she stays up until after Midnight doing work, She can’t start until after 9:00 because of taking care of her brother. This results in achievement not always matching up to potential.
3.) Motivation for choosing online learning opportunities She knows she needs to distinguish herself in some way academically if she has any hope of making her TJ goal a reality. She heard one of her teachers talking about the fact that the County now offers advanced classes to Middle School students online. Maria decided this might be her way to show how she could work and succeed in higher level classes, so she went to ask her Counselor. Ms. Davis told her that her Standardized test scores are high enough to allow her to sign up for some of those classes, but expressed concern that Maria would have the time to do the work. Maria said she thinks she will, as her Mom just got a promotion on her main job, and will be able to quit the second one. Ms. Davis then told Maria she would sign the form allowing her to apply for two advanced online classes, and that now all she has to do is get a current teacher to agree to fill out a recommendation.
4.) Available technology and technology competency However, Maria has two problems, and they both have to do with technology. She has never had the chance in any classes to use technology for anything other than online testing after each Math and English unit, and to type essays for English. Her technology skills are at a level that working in an online setting, where more personal responsibility and digital organizational skills are required, will be a challenge. In addition, the computer she does have at home is five years old, and has a virus now dues to the fact her Mother could not afford virus protection software. This stumps Maria, but Mr. Sharp, the SBTS at her school, has been able to hold back and recycle severl old teacher laptops. He gets approval from the Principal to set up a “Loaner Laptop” program, where students can sign out computers for extended periods of time. Mr. Sharp also gets her Homeroom class switched to a special Homeroom, where technology minded students learn advanced technology skills. In this environment Maria will be able to learn from the teachers leading the class, as well as the other students developing their skills in the class.