School Evaluation Summary

School Evaluation

Peter H.R. Sibley and Chip Kimball have five filters that they have implemented to assess technology within school systems. For our technology assignment we were to use their filters to assess a school district to see where the school falls within the filters. The filters are: administration, curriculum, support, connectivity, and innovation.  The administrative filter primarily deals with how Jersey Academy’s administrators, teachers, and support staff views technology from a usage and planning perspective. The four subsections are Policy, Planning, Budget, and Administrative.  The filter demonstrates how students and teachers determine technology goals, through available resources and usage. Jersey Academy’s Curricular section was rated based on five subsections:

  • Electronic Information
  • Assessment
  • Curriculum Integration
  • Teacher Use
  • Student Use

The support filter identifies contributors to the schools technology plan. Schools should include representation from all groups: students, teachers, administrators, parents, and communities. The issues in each area should be equally represented.Technical support should be accessible to help with technical issues, concerns, and questions. Schools should provide training and administrative support that is effectively educating leaders, students, and administration. Schools should also look into servers to host efficient Internet connections to provide proficient output.
The connectivity looks into three major ways used in school systems. First, there is District Area Networking (WAN) or wide area networks. These networks span a over a large area. Next, LANs exist on the local level within the WANs. Connectivity also consists of Internet access and the schools communication system.  The innovation filter analyzes a school’s ability to implement new technology.

The school that we looked into, *“The Jersey Academy” is located in Burlington County, NJ. The school receives sate and federal funding due to its abbot district status. The schools demographics are as follows:

  • Total Student Population: 328
  • Students: White (178 families), African American (57 families), Asian (10 families), Hispanics (83 families)
  • Employed Teaching Staff: 26 people
  • Employed Staff Support: 6 people
  • Current Available Technology Resources:
  • 3 smartboards for the school
  • 6 computers per classroom
  • no computer lab
  • 36 laptops on mobile station
  • wireless Internet access available throughout buildings

Peter H.R. Sibley and Chip Kimball have created a rubric to guide assessors with each filter, creating continuity among assessors. The rubric as well as the report has been embedded below.

Reflection:
Through this project I was able to attain insight about the schools, area of technological strengths and  weaknesses.  This was a difficult process for me. It is very different to be in the classroom and using technology. I always assumed each  teacher uses technology just a much as I do; apparently, not. The school has funding for computers but there is no incentive to use them in lessons. By doing this assessment I was able to speak with different teachers as they gave me a birds eye view of their technology use (or lack there of). I understand the frustration of having many things to finalize before the next bell rings, but the lack of technology use within the *“Jersey Academy” was both sad and frustrating. I found through this lesson that there is a large gap with teacher knowledge and what they should know and what they do know about technology. The lack of administrations push for technology implementation of plans seemed partially to blame. The “Jersey Academy” fell on the lower half of Peter H.R. Sibley and Chip Kimball’s rubric  in almost all areas. I found  a direct correlation to the administration. They create a divide  between themselves and the staff. There needs to be better communication and extensive accountability directed to both the administration as well as the teachers.
Some of the AECT standards that were connected to this lesson were as follows:
4.1 Project Management 
I saw how projects were brought up and how they fizzled out. Project management is a very important area in technology design. The Jersey Academy did not have a specific manager or coordinator to help keep projects alive and on task. There was such a lack of management many of the staff just threw in the towel.

5.1 Problem Management
This standard was looked into by my team just as project management was lacking true leadership, it seemed to directly impact problem management, negatively. There was one tech teacher that had a span of three schools, as well as the pseudo job of technology project manager. I say pseudo meaning this was not her assigned job, it was just assumed to be by staff members. Speaking with her I can understand her frustration. “I cant do everything, I was not hired to be the technology teacher, project manager, problem solver and tech trainer for all the staff! I teach what they tell me and the rest is assumed by the staff!” *Jane Doe, The Jersey Academy

5.4: Long-Range Planning
Long range planning without accountability, staff training and set goals is equal to failed policy, failed planning and teacher as well as student frustration. This school long range planning could have been much better. The disconnect felt by the staff is evident. Looking into this AECT standard it seems that an entire new administration would be the best way to fix everything! I know that sounds extreme, however the students are suffering as well as the staff.

This school indeed has found itself at the low end of the filter.

* names changed to protect the innocent!

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