The goal of the Golden Triangle Curriculum Cooperative is to provide staff development which leads to 100% proficiency in teacher technology use by the year 2000. Proficiency will be evaluated using the GTCC staff self-evaluation rubric. Teachers with 100% proficiency will be able to mark themselves on all areas on the rubric as proificient or advanced. By the year 2001, our goal is to have increased technology integration and engaged learning in member district classrooms. These goals enable each member district to provide the highest quality education possible as their students become life-long learners equipped to work and exist in the 21st century.
The GTCC is a curriculum consortium made up of 12 K-8 districts, 29 K-12 districts, and 2 associate member districts located in rural NorthCentral Montana. Currently, the GTCC employs a full-time Curriculum director and a full-time technology integration specialist. In the fall of this year, the TIS conducted a needs assessment of the technology proficiency of the 700+ teachers employed by GTCC member districts. For the past seven months the TIS has traveled to the member district schools providing in service training based on the needs assessment done in the fall. At this time the coop is able to provide money for substitute teachers, as regular classroom teachers participate in initial and follow-up technology training. The cooperative also has Summer Institutes covering technology, assessment, best teaching practices, etc. which teachers may take for renewal credits or college graduate credit. Most districts allow days spent at summer institutes to substitute for educator days conducted later in the fall. The cooperative also sends several teachers to national and regional trainings in the areas of technology, assessment, and best practices.
All of the schools involved have at least one single dial-up connection to Internet. Most of the schools also have connections to METNET ( the Montana state bulletin board system). All of the member districts realize the need for technology literacy, and they are making an effort to acquire funds to provide adequate hardware and software to enhance student learning. Many understand the importance of providing teacher technology professional development, although very few districts have the funding to spend 1/3rd of their technology budget for that purpose. Some of the individual districts as well as cooperative staff have sought grant monies to help in this area. One fourth of the member districts have Interactive Television Technology available, although, few use this technology to its full potential.
Montana public education is in a state of reform. The state is in the process of revising and adopting content standards, grade level benchmarks for 4th grade, 8th grade, and upon graduation, and performance standards for all curricular areas. The state is also pushing for technology integration at all grade levels for all curricular areas. It is currently developing a tool kit for the implementation of the new technology standards.
The superintendents and principals of the member districts verbally support the integration of technology. Of all of the districts contacted to date by the TIS, all but one district have scheduled initial and follow-up technology training.
Most of the communities involved in the cooperative support increased funding for technology. Most of the schools provide adult ed classes in technology for community members. In some districts, students provide technology services to community members and businesses. The goal for GTCC is to increase community awareness of the uses of engaged learning and technology to enhance student learning in preparation for the 21st century through news releases, invitations to view the process in action, participation in adult ed technology offerings, and GTCC website postings. The director of the cooperative, Fred Seidensticker and the TIS, Pam Birkeland, will be responsible for this goal's accomplishment. The plan will be funded by GTTC funds, Goals 2000 grant doallars, and funds from indiviual districts.
Engaged Learning Goals and Activities:
This summer, a summer institute offering called Engaged Learning and the Best Uses of Technology is planned. It is the coop's goal that a core group of educators will come together for initial training in the concept of engaged learning with the help of the best uses of technology. These trainings will model the indicators of engaged learning as well as model the best uses of technology. The philosophy behind this is that having experienced the engaged learning model and used the best technology practices, the teacher-trainees will learn to develop the same model for their students. Members of the initial training group will receive further follow-up training with the TIS. The TIS will travel to the classrooms of trainees to provide continued support for engaged learning projects. Training or support sessions will also be conducted through e-mail, chats, listservs, and telecommunications utilizing the ITV technologies already existent in GTCC schools. Eventually, the goal of the GTCC is to have an interactive web project called "Project Foot" where participating member districts use engaged learning and best uses of technology to tell the stories about their communities along the Old West trails.
Professional Development Goals and Activities and Timeline:
August 10 - 11, 1999 Two day Summer Institute: Engaged Learning and the Best Uses of Technology
This Institute will be used to gain an overview of the principles of engaged learning and the best uses of technology. Teachers from GTCC member districts will meet and learn about engaged learning and best technology uses following the engaged learning model. Teams will be established using variable grouping methods. Teachers will look at examples of engaged learning projects and projects integrating technology. They will edit sample proposals and create proposals for engaged learning projects of their choice. At this time a pre-technology proficiency survey will be administered.
September - January Weekly Check-ins
Teacher groups will work together via chat capabilities on METNET first class software or e-mail. They will meet with the TIS via the same telecommunication tools on a weekly basis. Teachers will submit reflections of tasks assigned and keep KWL chart logs which will be sent as e-mail attachments to the TIS for GTCC.
September - January Monthly Team Meetings/Individual Coaching sessions
The teams will meet over the NorthNet telecommunications system once a month for a 2 hour period. Topics pertaining to projects, engaged learning, and the best uses of technology will be discussed and modeled. Teams will work on designing engaged learning projects for their schools. The TIS will travel to the individual schools on a monthly basis to work with the team members individually, coaching them in technology applications identified as areas lacking proficiency from the technology proficiency rubrics or helping them with project design or problems encountered with projects. Substitutes will be provided by GTCC on days of the TIS visits via a Goals 2000 grant.
January - May Monthly Meetings
Again using ITV on the NorthNet system, chatware via METNET, and e-mail teams will meet on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. The TIS will continue to travel around to the participating member school to facilitate the projects. Team members will continue to fill out reflections and KWL charts throughout the projects' lives. They will also conduct informal formative assessments, changing their projects' directions as needs arise. During these months the teams will actually use the projects with their students.
May, 1999 Show & Tell
Teachers will show and tell about their projects at the year end principal and superintendents' meetings for the Golden Triangle Curriculum Cooperative. Teachers will also attend the initial training for the new cadre of teachers for the next school year at the Summer Institute 2000. Those that chose do so will be involved with the new teams as facilitators and peer coaches.
Summer 2000 Summer Institute for Engaged Learning and the Best Uses of Technology II
A new cadre of teachers will be formed and the cycle will repeat itself. Team members from the previous year's training will be invited to become facilitators for some aspects of year II training.
Both formal and informal evaluations will take place throughout the life of the project. All teachers will complete reflections and KWL charts on a weekly basis. Teachers will complete techchecks everyday to monitor their own personal growth in the uses of technology. Teams will fill out the technology proficiency self-assessment rubrics both at the beginning and the end of training to determine growth made over the course of the year. Timelines and activities will be adjusted as weekly and monthly informal assessments dictate. Mid-year and end of project rubrics will be completed by team members. Technology integration surveys will be administered both pre- and post -training to determine the level of impact the trainings had on the classrooms whose teachers were involved in the project.
The plan would be to expand this model to all 41 GTCC member districts' schools. After all schools have some experience with engaged learning and best uses of technology projects, the GTCC would hope to complete a digital project, Project FOOT, where each school would contribute to an interactive web project about their communities on old Montana trails. Eventually through the Internet, this project could expand across the trails of the world!