Sunday, December 6, 2009

EDLD 5352, Thomas Warlick, Week 3 Assignment

EDLD 5352 Instructional Leadership: The Technology Link
Week 3 Assignment
Thomas Warlick, EA 1122
December 6, 2009
In reviewing the Karnes City I.S.D. (KCISD) District Improvement Plan and the Karnes City High School (KCHS) Campus Improvement Plan, the plans had many similarities in relation to goals and objectives. The technology goal at the district level was to create and maintain a technologically integrated learning and working environment for all stakeholders based on the Best Practices for Instructional Technology and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) Curriculum components. The district developed four objectives under the technology goal. The first objective indicated that KCISD will develop a plan to address and implement state mandated technology goals, instructional goals, technology TEKS, student and teacher accessibility. The next objective stated that the district would identify the level of technology integration based on the teaching and learning section of the Texas School Technology and Readiness (STaR) chart. The district also indicated that studying the level of instructional technology and student competency through the use of surveys and evaluations would be an objective. The final objective for the district was to improve the technology mobile services for the KCISD professional staff by improving all technological systems. The district goal and objectives correlated with the state education objectives 8 and 9. The state objectives indicated that educators will keep abreast of the development of creative and innovative techniques in instruction and administration using those techniques appropriate to improve student learning. The other state objective indicated that technology will be implemented and used to increase the effectiveness of student learning, instructional management, staff development, and administration. The district is aligning the goals and objectives with the state to support the need for continued improvement in these areas.
The review of the KCHS campus plan indicated that the campus goal for technology was exactly the same as the district goal. The campus listed two objectives under the technology goal that were the same as the first two district objectives. The objectives related to the developing a plan to address and implement state and local goals and identifying the level of integration based on data retrieved from the STaR chart. The campus plan did have more detail in concern to the activities and strategies that would be used to reach the campus and district technology goal. The strategy to incorporate technology into all disciplines to enhance instruction, related directly to the goals of the state and national standards to integrate technology into curriculum. Other strategies included increasing technology hardware and software along with implementing modern technology tools like podcasts, webinars for professional development, and time allotment for increased and improved training.
The round table discussion between Dr. Steve Jenkins, Dr. Kay Abernathy, and Cindy Cummings from the Lamar Educational Administration program related to the incorporation and exploration of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) and National Education Technology Standards for Administrators (NETS-A). The integration of the standards is essential for today’s modern 21st Century administrator to implement and model technology across a school’s curriculum. The round table panel members did an excellent job of relating the standards to the needs of school administration candidates.
The first standard, leadership that inspires and leads the development of a shared vision for the comprehensive integration of technology in schools is addressed by Jenkins as an essential for creating a modern 21st Century learning environment. Abernathy stressed that modern principals need to learn and model technology skills for all stakeholders to reflect a vision that meets the needs of all learners. She indicated campus leadership has the opportunity through modeling the use of technology tools to increase buy-in from all school stakeholders. Cumminings indicated the importance of improving school vision by principals staying on top of trends and research for the practical use of technology by all school stakeholders. She stated that principals must introduce and model the use of the 21st Century technology learning tools to ensure all stakeholders are moving from a Digital Immigrant status to the status of Digital Citizen.
The round table members discussed the development of a robust digital age learning culture standard as an important task for today’s principal. Cummings stated that improving technology mobility and accessibility to increase student technology skills is the first step to creating this culture. She insisted that to move towards a digital culture, teachers must move away from the holder of all knowledge and allow students to be resources of updated knowledge through digital sources. She believed that teachers should teach students to evaluate the relevance of the digitally acquired knowledge and construct their own knowledge from these sources. Cummings went on to indicate that collaboration and assessment by all stakeholders is key to evaluating the processes and outcomes in a digital culture. Abernathy discussed that the modern schools already require that instruction be individualized to meet the needs of each learner. She believed that the use of technology in the classroom allowed for more individualized student instruction. She indicated for school culture to change, administration must be creative with their ideas of how to incorporate technology and spend budget funds to improve and increase technology resources.
One of the trends that Jenkins used to stir the discussion was the need for schools to use 21st Century digital-age professional development to train administrators and teachers. Cummings indicated the need to move away from the ‘Sit and Get’ method of professional development. She stated that professional development through the use of digital sources would provide each learner more relevant and differentiated instruction in training sessions. Abernathy indicated that school leaders must bring professional development to the desktop to allow for greater accessibility. Staffs need to have 24/7 accessibility to professional development, according to Abernathy, to always allow for continual learning.
To gain local insight into the trends discussed in the round table discussion, interviews were conducted with Jeanette Winn, the campus principal, Jayma Wood, SBDM member and special education teacher, and Jerome H. and Raul R., students. The interviews were conducted in two sessions, the first with Ms. Winn and Mrs. Wood and the second with the two students. The goal was to get views about the trend of merging 21st Century technology into local campuses.
In the interview with Winn and Wood, the principal stated the district and high school campus were effectively addressing the initiative to integrate technology across all areas of the curriculum. Winn stated that the campus addressed the technology needs and strategies to improve technology integration through the campus improvement plan. She believed that the campus was using data from the STaR chart to evaluate the needs of the staff in relation to technology. She believed that it was important to analyze the instructional time use of technology by each teacher and daily incorporation on technology into lessons across the curriculum. She believed that her role was to model modern technology use to demonstrate to her staff the importance of the incorporation into our daily lives. She believed that her leadership would set the tone for the school vision being one of incorporating technology use by all school stakeholders. Wood indicated that she felt that Winn did an excellent job of emphasizing the development of a culture that addresses the use of technology resources on meeting the goals of the SBDM team. I asked Wood, the special education teacher, how she could benefit from professional development that used digital tools instead of the normal ‘Sit and Get’ sessions. She believed that the sessions could focus on her individual needs as a special education teacher. She indicated that many professional development sessions she attends do not directly relate to her position and her individual needs as a learner. Winn indicated that as the instructional leader she was pursuing opportunities to use webinars to specifically meet the needs of individual teachers. I specifically asked the principal to address standard four, the importance of leadership that manages and implements strategic planning, monitors progress, and continually evaluates systemic change in concern to integration of technology in the classroom. She indicated that her role was to model technology usage and educate her staff through digital resources and traditional trainings on the importance of using the digital tools that students have available to them to improve learning. She went onto indicate the importance of staff members changing their mental model of the use of cell phones by students. She believed that the phones could be a tool that allows our school to move towards the modern 21st Century learning environment.
In meeting with the two students, Jerome and Raul, I initiated our conversation by asking them how they felt technology could be incorporated into helping them learn in the classroom. They both indicated that having more access to computers in each classroom would allow them to explore information on topics discussed. Raul indicated that he had access to the Internet via his cell phone, but he could not have it out in the classroom. Jerome indicated that he understood why schools were leery of cell phone usage, but he believed that students could benefit from their use in the classroom. They both indicated that if teachers would incorporate strategies into their lessons for cell phone use, it would result in students using their phones with a purpose. In asking the students about the current vision of the school in relation to technology, they revealed that the school was behind in the area of incorporating technology into instruction. I asked them if many of the topics they learned about in school could be accessed by them via technology. They stated that you could learn everything you wanted to know about any topic via the Internet. They indicated that many teachers try to incorporate technology tools, smart boards and computers into the classroom. Jerome believed that teachers in the future should allow students to use computers to learn about topics and do less lecturing. Raul indicated that sometimes he knew more about computers and technology than his teachers. He believed that the younger teachers understood what students wanted in relation to technology. Raul indicated that while he was glad his school provided computers to work on in the classrooms; he believed that the school should provide students with individual computers or allow them to use their resources in the classroom to improve the learning experience. After completing the interviews with the students, I understood their desire that technology be used more in the classroom and their vision about how that use can positively affect their learning outcomes.
After the viewing the round table discussion, staff and student interviews, and reviewing the readings, I have an in-depth understanding of the importance of integrating technology into schools to effectively impact student and teacher learning. The importance of school leadership developing a vision that supports integration of technology and modeling the use of digital resources in the learning environment is key in 21st Century schools. Leaders that are system thinkers and base actions on the modern research-based standards will be able to prepare teachers to prepare students for success in the 21st Century economy.

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