Our school mission statement, developed two years ago via a committee of administrators, teachers, parents and students states: "Together, we challenge one another to develop and demonstrate the attitudes, skills, and knowledge essential to attaining excellence in self, family, and community." One of our eight core beliefs is in "providing the challenge and the tools for every person to learn." Specific technology related skills held valuable by the staff in an academic standards brainstorming session (June 15, 1996) included utilize technology, use a word processor, know how to access and use information and be able to interpret and represent information graphically.
Staff development is handled at both the SAU level (primarily prior to school starting in the fall) and at the local district level. Most of the in-house (local district) staff development is determined by the administration, with some consultation with the instructional coordinators. Previous and ongoing topics include preparation for block scheduling, development of a school mission statement and expectations, and curriculum development. The school district also provides the Saphier I and II course sequence for all teachers and sponsored an on-site course "Teaching in the Block" and workshops on "Analyze and Apply," a collection of projects with some elements of engaged learning.
The state of New Hampshire has developed four Curriculum Frameworks (Science, Math, Social Studies, Language Arts) which are tied in to the statewide assessment tests at grades 3, 6 and 10. In our SAU, some K-12 curriculums have been developed and others are in varying stages of completion. However, actual implementation differs widely from district to district, resulting in 9th graders entering our high school with inconsistent levels of preparation, knowledge and experiences.
Many classrooms have single or small clusters of stand-alone computers of varying ages. Plymouth Regional High School also has a Windows NT network of over 100 PC's in three business labs, a curriculum lab (available on a period-by-period signup basis for all teachers/classes), the Library and some selected classrooms. These are all connected to the internet via a T-1 line, provided at no charge by our internet service provider, in exchange for using a room in our school to house a modem pool servicing their local customers. However, a month ago we received notice that the ISP would stop providing free service as of June 30, as they are removing their equipment as part of their upgrading. We have presented a proposal to our school board to hire a local computer professional to evaluate various options for internet access. However, our school board has so far failed to act on the proposal, leaving us at this point with no internet access from July 1.
We are in the process of finalizing plans for a $6.3 million expansion/renovation project, which will include expansion of the science classrooms, theater, cafeteria, media center, and renovations throughout the building. Also included in the plan is a new network backbone for the entire building (computer, telephone, cable). The project should be put out for bid sometime this summer.
We have a full-time technology coordinator, whose responsibilities including teaching one programming course, and ordering, installing and maintaining all software and hardware in the building. The time required for these responsibilities leaves him very little time to assist teachers in the curriculum aspects and uses of technology. Last year, during one in-service afternoon, all teachers were given introduction to Microsoft Word, a grading program, and the Curriculum Lab. The state requires that each certified teacher accumulate 5 clock hours every three years for re-certification. Most teachers satisfy this requirement through courses taken at the local Plymouth State College, adult evening programs, or through self-instruction. There are several faculty members who are integrating technology instruction in a variety of ways (PowerPoint presentations, CAD, Internet research, data collection, course specific software) and there are others who are utilizing engaged learning techniques. Previous to this course, few projects have taken advantage of both engaged learning and best use of technology.
In 1994, the Technology Committee of PRHS presented to the School Board a formal Technology Plan (based on earlier SAU and dist4rict versions) which outlined teachers' technology needs (primarily equipment) in the areas of curriculum support and information/communication. The plan also addressed the technology coordinator position and curriculum. The membership of the committee included teachers, students, school board members, parents, and local business people. For awhile, as a result of the report, the school board earmarked 1% of the budget for technology, although that was reduced this year due to building plans, increased enrollment, and efforts to reduce the overall budget increase.
From our experiences with the LInC program, we have become very aware of two key issues that must be addressed in order for our planned staff development to be successful. The first is a high level of comfort with the use of technology on a personal level, and the second is the ability to commit extraordinary amounts of time to work on project development.
Although some of our staff would have the necessary prerequisite skills, many of those whom we would like to see participate in a curricular project of this type do not. The initial LInC application from Fermi made it clear that the LInC course was not an "Introduction to Technology" class, but a program in which the technology becomes a foundation for the development of curriculum. It became apparent, as we watched other groups struggle with some of the technology issues, how imperative this foundation was. We believe our initial priority in staff development should be a survey of the needs and desires of the faculty, followed by some mini-workshops to teach those necessary prerequisite skills.
The other issue that must be addressed in terms of teaching a course equivalent to our own LInC experience is motivation. The amount of time that we spent as a team working on our project far exceeded that of any other graduate course any of us have taken. Although it would be nice to think that the knowledge gained would be sufficient to motivate the participants, we feel it would be important to reward them for their participation in a way commensurate with the work they have completed. That would require an option for graduate credit. Staff development hours can be obtained in much easier ways with a lot less work! Contact has been made with Plymouth State College regarding the possibility of offering a LInC course for credit. However, there is no way this could be ready for this fall. In addition, if we attempted to do it in the fall, we believe we would not have as many participants as we could obtain if we were to offer it in the spring after our series of mini-technology workshops.
|Spring 1999||Finish preparing a Faculty Technology Survey which will determine:|
|how they are personally using technology|
|how they are integrating technology in the curriculum|
|what areas of training faculty members want/need|
|when they would like the training offered|
|Have faculty members complete survey.|
|Follow up with Denise Bartello, Director of Masters of Education program at Plymouth State College on procedures for offering a graduate credit course.|
|Summer 1999||Attend LInC Facilitator's Academy|
|Develop Technology Mini-Workshops based on faculty survey requests.These workshops could be offered on the fall in-service days and/or after school.|
|After returning from Facilitator's Academy, make further plans in association with Plymouth State College.|
|Develop budget for course|
|Seek funding alternatives, regular staff development, Eisenhower Funds, other grants.|
|Determine any additional technical needs (hardware, software, etc.) Will we run through PSC or PRHS network?|
|Enlist assistance of tech specialists (Amy Phillips, Wally Reed, Eli Badger)|
|Fall 1999||Teach mini-workshops to build faculty base with necessary prerequisite skills|
|Recruit for spring course|
|Spring 2000||Teach LInC course. Purpose of this course would be to have participants develop an engaged learning project that they could implement in the curriculum the following year.|
Initial assessment will be conducted via the Faculty Technology Survey in the spring of 1999. An evaluation component will be included in each mini-workshop. Following the LInC course, further planning based on participant and facilitator evaluation will determine future staff development opportunities in engaged learning and best use of technology.
Created for the Fermilab LInC program
sponsored by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
Education Office and Friends of Fermilab,
and funded by United States Department of Energy, Illinois State Board of Education, North Central Regional Technology in Education Consortium
which is operated by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National Science Foundation.
Authors: Ina Ahern, Mardean Badger, and Doug Ross
School: Plymouth Regional High School, Plymouth, New Hampshire
Created:May 10, 1999 - Updated: May 10, 1999