The district in which I teach prides itself on having the latest technology in the classrooms. Many are 1:1 Chromebook classrooms, and almost all classrooms are equipped with interactive SMART Boards, projectors, document cameras, printers, scanners, iPads, iPods, digital cameras, etc. There is a comprehensive technology use policy and plan in place and from a distance, everything looks like it’s at a high level of maturity. I thought for sure that the district would receive high marks in most areas, but as I went through and analyzed each subsection in detail, I was surprised to find that it was not as it initially appeared. The maturity benchmarks were separated into Behavioral and Resource/Infrastructure categories and I found a significant and fairly consistent discrepancy between the two in many areas. Upon close analysis, it appears that the district has a strong infrastructure and resource base, but that the behavior and use of staff is not nearly as strong. I think this is a common trend in education right now; it’s easy to allocate money to update technology, but it’s a whole other story to get teachers, administrators, and other staff trained not only on how to use it, but on how to use it effectively to optimize student learning. Buying and setting up the technology simply isn’t enough; teachers must buy into it and realize the potential for its educational use. Then they must be explicitly and intentionally trained on how to use the available technology to enhance curriculum while focusing on pedagogy.
This was a valuable assignment because it allowed me the opportunity to really dig deep and critically analyze many aspects of our district. I was disappointed in my overall evaluation to not be able to give us a higher mark, but I think it’s crucial at this point in education to evaluate honestly so that steps can be taken to help the district progress along the continuum of maturity.
You can find my survey and evaluation below.