Friday, December 18, 2009

Week 5 Reflections

· What outcomes had you envisioned for this course? Did you achieve those outcomes? Did the actual course outcomes align with those that you envisioned?
In completing the first assessments of the course, I thought we might be learning the Technology Applications Standards. As I progressed through the first assignment, I came to realize that the outcomes would be much broader. I began to get the bigger picture how can we most effectively incorporate and utilize technology in our campuses. From state mandated usage, to practical usage, to innovative usage, to professional development and management issues, I found that many of my concerns and questions were addressed in the various articles and assignments. One thing this training helped me realize is that no matter how adept I think I am in technology, there is always more to learn. I am still assimilating all the information provided in this course and I know I have not finished learning all I can. It will be very interesting and exciting to continue implementing new technologies in my campus.

· To the extent that you achieved the outcomes, are they still relevant to the work that you do in your school? Why or why not?
I think it would be very interesting and enlightening to actually implement my technology action plan. I definitely know I will continue researching and trying out the many of the items introduced for example RSS, blogs, and wikis. I use technology every day and I can not imagine not using it. From my desktop computer where I check my email, write letters to parents, to my laptop which I store lessons for my classes, to my projector which brings everything to life for my visual learners I can not survive without technology. Just this week I had the opportunity to learn how to use a camera when the librarian was having her R.I.F. distribution. She was having difficulty getting it to focus and to be able to see the pictures. Simply by playing with the buttons to adjust the exposure and focus ring for a few minutes I was able to make the image much sharper and brighter. I will always utilize technology in my classroom and in my campus as an administrator.

· What outcomes did you not achieve? What prevented you from achieving them?
I know I can always do more and do better. I still need to learn and be more adept with the various Technology Application Skills. Although I consider myself a digital native who is very comfortable utilizing many kinds of technology and who actually depends on technology on a daily basis, it seems that I have some digital immigrant tendencies when envisioning the use of technologies such as the cell phone. I am still not comfortable with the idea of cell phone use in the classroom. I have a very hard time understanding how cell phones can be used effectively while substituting a similar technology such as a digital camera or camcorder is not as good. I must continue to work on and develop my mental models concerning technology and its various uses.

· Were you successful in carrying out the course assignments? If not, what prevented or discouraged you?
I was successful in the assignments, although sometimes I did have a little bit of a difficult time. Many times I like instructions to be specific, but brief. If I do not understand exactly what somebody expects, then I can not fulfill expectations to the best of my ability. I like to speak and teach that way because I think it is easier to learn when directions are concise. Tell me specifically what you want me to do and I will do my very best to get it done. This is what I expect of myself and what I expect of my teachers. Of course, time running out is always an enemy for a busy administrator. There is always so many things to do and not enough time, even with delegation it is hard to get by sometimes.

· What did you learn from this course…about yourself, your technology and leadership skills, and your attitudes?

From the technology trainings I have attended as an administrator, I have learned much about my strengths and many areas for improvement in technology as well as many new ideas to utilize on my campus. I have also learned that although I am an ardent advocate of technology usage in the classroom, I am still prejudiced against some possible forms of classroom technology such as student cell phones. Therefore, I must remember to practice having an open mind to the limitless possibilities that technology brings. I have come to realize that there is always more to learn because technology is ever evolving and society is constantly changing, therefore we as administrators must be flexible and willing to adapt to these changes. As an administrator, I plan to keep informed of the latest trends in technology in education because this will give me and my students the cutting edge to stay ahead.

· What is the educational value of blogs and blogging to the 21st century learner?

There are many ways we can utilize blogs in our classrooms today. Blogs can modernize the way students and teachers address homework and grading. Teachers can utilize blogs as a student homework page or journal. Students can create their own blogs and post homework on it. The teacher can post evaluations. Blogs enable students, teachers, and parents the opportunity to collaborate and communicate. Teachers can create a classroom blog to communicate with students and parents regarding rules, assignments, announcements, etc. Classes can communicate and collaborate globally to solve problems that are relevant to them with the help of students from other schools across town, in other states, or even other countries via a blog. Blogs offer students the opportunity to build their social communicating skills in a safe online environment before having to traverse the ocean of the internet. Blogs can teach students how to communicate effectively and appropriately not only in a written context, but also in an online context.

· What are the concerns of blogs and blogging in education?
Although I recognize and appreciate the communicating and collaborating capacity inherent in weblogs, there are also some legitimate concerns regarding the use of blogs in schools. The primary concerns with blogs include potential safety and privacy issues. Weblog providers must be carefully chosen because depending on which blog provider is used and what access features are offered, anyone can access and communicate on a blog. Insufficient protection in the form of blog accessibility to the general public could create several problems. Problems stemming from unchecked accessibility include the risk of online predators meeting and communicating with students, potential loss of privacy for the students and the campus, and the possibility of various forms of inappropriate content uploaded to the blog. Some students might inadvertently post private or personally identifiable information on their blog if prodded or tricked by a predator. Hopefully with adequate teacher training and clear safety guidelines for students, blogs can be utilized as a powerful education technology tool.

· How can you use blogging to communicate with school stakeholders?
Weblogs are an easy, effective way to communicate with the members of my school community. They are easy to create, share, edit, and for members to respond to. Best of all for my budget, blogs are free. If I want my teachers to create and update their own class webpage, but my district cannot afford software designed for building websites, I can have teachers create a weblog instead. With this tool, teachers can communicate with all of the parents and the parents can respond and collaborate with the teacher and each other. We could create a blog for the campus and include pictures, calendars, powerpoints, and other informational items of interest. After school clubs could create a blog to post announcements instead of sending letters home. An important difference between a website and a blog is multi-party communication is possible; parents and students can question, comment, and collaborate with administrators, teachers and each other.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It is the responsibility of the principal to ensure that technology and the organizational chart is implemented effectively on their campus. The principal must communicate clearly with staff members about their roles and responsibilities in the organizational plan. The principal must also monitor to make sure that the directives are implemented.

The principal must assess the technology, equipment, and staff development needs of the campus by reviewing the STaR Chart. The principal must align the campus plan and technology usage with the district and state objectives for technology. The principal must monitor the use of technology in the classrooms by checking lesson plans, utilizing walk throughs and evaluations. The principal must arrange appropriate staff development for staff members as needed. The principal must allocate enough money from the budget to purchase needed equipment, software, and staff development. The principal must communicate with the central office administration on the needs of the campus, and must understand and implement expectations of the superintendents. The principal must also stay up to date on instructional practices, trends, and personal professional development. It is also important for the principal to state clear expectations and model use of technology.

Professional Development Planning

Technology needs from Week 3 report:
More training for teachers in the utilization and integration of technology in the classroom.
Use data from professional assessments to plan and implement professional growth plans.
Laptops for every student.
Distance-learning web conferencing equipment for every campus.

Professional development for the improvement of gathering, analyzing, and utilizing data:
Provide training on gathering and compiling assessment data from various sources such as classroom assessments and district benchmarks.
Provide training on analyzing the results of the Pre-assessment instrument for K-5 and using the evaluation data to plan for instruction.
Provide training on analyzing the results of district benchmarks and how to use the evaluation data to plan for instruction to improve results in all areas.

Professional development for the improvement of decision making in the integration of technology with instructional and organizational leadership:
Provide training to develop lessons which utilize technology to assist students with technology proficiencies.
Provide training on how to utilize distance and online learning in the classroom.
Provide training on how to have students include technology tools in a variety of applications.
Provide training on C-scope software.
Provide training on electronic devices to improve Reading Renaissance and Keyboarding Skills.

Evaluation Planning

Assessments/monitoring reports to measure professional development for the use of technology to improve the gathering, analysis and use of data:
Staff completes evaluation after each professional development session.
Assess teacher learning with a before and then after assessment on collecting, compiling, and analyzing data.
By grade level, staff turns in documentation of plan for instruction with corresponding data.
Monitor scores from various student assessments throughout the year and chart progress.

Assessments/monitoring reports to measure professional development to improve decision making in the integration of technology with instructional and organizational leadership:

Staff completes evaluation after each professional development session.
Continue assessing and monitoring campus STaR Charts.
Monitor progress of student technology proficiencies.
Survey student usage of online programs.
Survey of student usage of technology in the classroom.
Survey of teacher usage of electronic devices and online instructional programs.
Principal checks C-scope lessons.
Principal conducts walk throughs to evaluate all aspects of technology implementation.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Texas And Campus STaR Chart

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Opinions Regarding Texas Long Range Plan

All four areas of the Texas Long Range Plan are critical to the plan’s success, but the area over which I have the most control as an administrator is Leadership, Administration and Instructional Support. Administrators must be well versed in the Long Range Plan and its implications for the future of education in Texas. Administrators must utilize their campus STaR charts to appraise their campus’ level of technology use and to create a strategy to progress to the next level.

At the campus level, the administrators must motivate their teachers to utilize and embrace technology. Administrators must clearly articulate their goals for technology and how it fits with the campus goals. Administrators must lead by example by not being afraid to learn and use technology, and they must set specific expectations for technology use in a non-threatening manner. Administrators must coordinate ample quality professional development for their faculty and have a plan in place for follow up. Professional development should include specific pertinent examples for how to use technology effectively in the classroom. Administrators must also allocate adequate funding from their budgets to maintain and enhance their campus’ technology level.

My principal has embraced technology as evidenced by teacher response in the campus STaR Chart. Until our school population exploded this year, our campus had a primary computer lab, intermediate computer lab, and an internet computer lab available for any class to use. The internet lab had to be reconverted to a classroom. The district is striving to make technology available to all teachers and students. It has implemented a strong network and staff development department. This year marks the completion of a three year initiative for all teachers to have a laptop.

In reviewing the 2007-2008 Campus Statewide Summary, it appears that districts are striving to reach the target tech level. Less than six percent are at early tech level; most campuses are developing or advanced tech. Clearly there is still much work to be done, but districts are heading in the right direction. Consistent implementation of technology use in schools is increasing nationwide due to the No Child Left Behind Act.

It could be beneficial to have an annual survey similar to the STaR Chart, but at the national level to compare statistics and progress. It would also help to have additional state and federal funding for technology.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pre-K Technology Applications TEKS

The Pre-K Technology Application TEKS include basic skills that students should be able to perform by the end of Pre-Kindergarten.
X.A.1. Students will be able to open and use various programs.
X.A.2. Students will be able to utilize and identify various input tools.
X.A.3. Students will be able to utilize recorders and touch screens.
X.A.4. Students will be able to communicate using software.
X.A.5. Students will be able to use technology to obtain information.
The Pre-K TEKS prepare students for future expectations by introducing vocabulary and skills used in the Technology Applications for grades K-8.

A spiraling curriculum builds on itself. It starts with new knowledge and then adds to that knowledge. Each year knowledge and skills are revisited to ensure that learning and understanding is developing.

Some examples of the spiral curriculum in the Technology Application TEKS include:
1.B Students are able to perform a few basic functions in software programs.
2.D Students are able to create documents using a keyboard and check for mistakes.

Grades 3-5
1.B Students are able to perform basic functions in multiple software programs.
2.D Students are able to create documents using a keyboard and check for mistakes.
Grades 6-8
1.F Students are able to perform many basic functions in software programs.
7.A Students are able to utilize a word processor in making a document.
7.B Students are able to utilize a spreadsheet in making a document.
7.C Students are able to build a database.

Long-Range Plan

In reading the Long-Range Plan, I learned that the plan has very high goals and expectations for all stakeholders in the Texas education system. I truly hope these goals are attainable because it would be wonderful if all Texas school children, parents, and teachers had the skills, hardware, and infrastructure to utilize technology for education anywhere and anytime. I am glad that students and almost all teachers are beginning to recognize the importance and the role of technology in teaching and learning. In order for the plan to be fully realized, the various constituents must follow through with the ETAC’s recommendations.

As an instructional leader, I have many responsibilities to help achieve the goals stated in this plan. I can refer to the plan for guidance in incorporating technology effectively on my campus. I can use the campus STaR Chart to gauge my success in implementing the plan. I must ensure that teachers have plenty of professional development to learn the Technology Application Skills and specific training to incorporate technology in to actual lessons. I must budget plenty of money to acquire technology hardware, software, and professional development. I must comprehensively support the use of technology on my campus.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reflections of Assessments

The two assessments, Technology Applications Inventory and the State Educational Technology Directors Association Teacher Survey, were very useful in uncovering several areas of weakness in my technology skills. Since middle school and high school I have loved computers and technology and have taken many courses, but there is always more to learn since technology is ever evolving.

From the Technology Applications Inventory, I learned that I could not answer yes to all questions in any of the domains, but I am particularly weak in the Foundations and Solving Problems with Technology Tools Domains. Some of the Foundation questions that I had to answer no in include: “understand the difference between operating systems,” “create and save files that can be used cross platform,” and “delineate between .au and .cwk files.” (Lanclos, p.1) In the Solving Problems with Technology Tools Domain for example, I have no idea what it means to “create linear and non-linear multimedia projects,” and as a music teacher I have not “integrated acquired technology application skills” in the core curriculum. (Lanclos, p. 3) The questions that I answered no to were items that I have never had the need to utilize, have not used in a long time, or simply vocabulary that at some point I learned but do not remember.

From the State Educational Technology Directors Association Teacher Survey, I felt a little bit more positive about my technology skills and efforts. I utilize the internet from home daily. (SEDTA/Metiri Group, 2004, p. 4) I am highly skilled in the areas of word processing, email, presentation software, multimedia editing and authoring software (Adobe Premiere Elements and Paint Shop Pro), graphic peripherals (scanner, digital camera, and projector) and technology specific to music (Audacity and Finale). (SEDTA/Metiri Group, 2004, p. 13)

From the assessments, I learned that although I believe that I possess technology skills equal or greater than my professional peers in my district I still have much to learn. In particular, finding and using research based applications for technology as well as integrating technology with core curriculum. As a principal, my strengths include a willingness to learn and utilize new technology, to model the use of technology, and willingness to support technology initiatives.

Lanclos, P. Technology Applications Inventory, 1-4. Retrieved from

SEDTA/Metiri Group. (2004). SETDA Teacher Survey, 1-26.
Retrieved from