94.7 percent of the project participants responded yes when asked if
they had observed notable changes in relation to student behavior,
attendance, engagement, interest, enjoyment, and specific attitudes
towards learning in general as a result of their use of instructional
technology as related to this project. Reflections from teachers
included: 1.) "During the time that we have the use of the Macs,
students who have high absenteeism records would be present and
actually working." 2.) "Students are actively engaged. ACTIVELY- not
just compliant. 3.) "They love using the Mac Lab, even for the simplest
projects. We created digital Venn diagrams, which could have been
created with paper and pencils, and can be a boring task, but the
students were very into it and enjoyed it immensely simply because they
were creating it on a computer." 4.) "When students use the laptops to
create projects there is a much higher level of engagement, interest in
the subject, and a positive attitude towards learning and even towards
their peers as they collaborate to create projects collectively." 5.) "
I have had students refuse to be checked out of school early because
they knew they were working on their project that day. Some have asked
to come in at other times to work. 6.) "Students are much more
interested, engaged and excited about learning." 7.) "With the use of
instructional technology, their interest in school increases, their
learning increases, and the groaning that used to accompany 'You have an
endangered animal project due...' has turned to cheers. I am cheering
too!!!" 8.) "Less student paperwork, engagement and productivity
increased, discipline is much better." 9.) "Absolutely, when I have the
Mac Lab in class, attendance increases and they are interested in the
project." 10.) " When we began our first computer-based project I had
one 15 year-old student say to me, 'You've now given me a reason to
come to school.' When we work on computers I see students focused and
involved in what they are doing."
A teacher from Palatka High School shared that two of her
students who were struggling with academics and who were constantly in
trouble because of their behavior, created a multimedia presentation
that reflected a large improvement. The students asked for permission
to come in after school to complete work, showed increased interest in
content being taught, and took pride in completing their assignment.
Internally, interesting related data was gathered, as our
district's leadership team embarked on a project to address low
achievement on standardized testing in Putnam County. As part of the
initiative, data was gathered by the use of walk through observations
that were designed to briefly measure student engagement and rigor.
Observers noted that teachers who were using the mobile lab for
instruction consistently had high levels of student engagement and
students were using problem solving strategies indicative of increased
rigor. This was not the norm for the data collected in the district. These results may be viewed at http://districtrankings.putnamschools.org/districtrankings/charting
The final evaluation for this project has been completed. When asked to rate this project on a sale of 1 -10, (10 being very successful) the district reported a score of 9. Quality equipment was
purchased and placed in service which allowed 80 teachers, who were
excited about using all they had learned at a four day Teaching and
Learning Institute, to integrate project-based or challenged-based
learning in their classrooms. Students were excited about the
opportunities and created wonderful digital content which reflected the
progress being made. The methodology of project-based,
technology-infused instruction was introduced district wide. Each
school had a team of teachers involved so even those schools not
receiving mobile labs did gain from the experience. When mobile labs
are placed on those campuses in the near future, teachers are in place,
ready to use the asset for project-based learning. Other teachers and
administrators have requested the same professional development
opportunity, indicating that the value of the project was evident to
observers. The excitement that the project generated was high and the
feedback from teachers and students very positive. Action Research,
which is only beginning to be used as a tool for professional
development in this district, was supported and promoted. Resources
were shared online and in formats that many teachers had never used
before so learning occurred at varied levels. Some teachers reported overcoming fears of using technology to teach,
others developed new skills and some reported the experience changed the way
they viewed their role in the classroom. Just that many wonderful
outcomes alone would make this project a resounding success. but there were even
more. However, as with any project there is always room for improvement.
Additional face-to-face training, support personnel, and hours in a day would have all been helpful. Some
progress was made on every campus. One hundred percent of the participants
gained new knowledge and were exposed to technology
integration strategies that will improve instruction. In the process of
completing this project, teachers gained insight in teaching
organizational skills, research skills, and helped students develop
better communication skills while providing opportunities for diverse
problem solving. Technology literacy has increased as a result of the
opportunities. Most importantly, teachers and administrators saw the
power of delivering engaging instruction in a technology rich learning
environment which is relevant to their students' lives. It is my belief that this project
laid the foundation for important changes to occur in Putnam County. Marsha Cruce
EETT teachers met and shared ideas, tips and projects as they completed a final day of training. Each teacher created a website for their classroom to facilitate sharing digital content, current events and classroom news. Their websites will be linked here soon.
There are great projects unfolding on our campuses. Renee Wright's math students at Jenkins Middle School wrote word problems involving rational numbers and created mini math movies to present their problems to their peers. James A. Long Elementary School and Price Middle School teachers are sharing projects and tips on their own EETT project wikis. Eighth Graders at Q.I.Roberts Middle School made great history presentations, which included excellent photographs and video clips they had captured in St.Augustine on a field trip. Palatka High School students in Todd Dixon's class used presentations to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts of communication and design as they created kiosk presentations for an imaginary technology museum. I could go on and on! Way to go EETT participants.
All equipment is in place and exciting reports are being shared. EETT teachers are meeting and planning strategies for using labs. Videos and happy pictures of students using technology are popping up on our websites. Slowly but surely we are making progress. Thanks for your hard work EETT Teachers! You are making a difference in Putnam County.
We are midway through the process of placing 12 mobile labs in schools. Seventy-eight teachers have received four days of training at UCF, and a new laptop, projector and Flip video camera. Our Action Research Project will begin later this month. Teachers are sharing projects on a wiki and we are already receiving feedback on the new labs. Watch Miller Intermediate School's video Loving the Laptops
On the last day of the Institute I asked our teachers to write a brief reflection about their week. Here are a few of their comments:
"This is the best workshop/institute that I have attended. Collaboration with other teachers, from other schools, new cross platform equipment and software that really seems far superior to what we have had, it is really incredible."
"I learned so much and found so many new resources! I met new teachers and shared information; enjoyed talking, laughing, along with learning. I didn't know so much was available to me."
" I received my Mac on Monday night. I didn't even know how to turn it on. It is Friday and I can navigate the Mac quite well. I can create my own music in Garage Band or Audacity, I can edit and manipulate images using iphoto and imovie . I have made two wiki pages and learned how to make graphic organizers out of outlines. ...To me this is amazing. This is how workshops should conclude."
"...Overall I had a change of opinion regarding technology in the classroom. A light bulb went on for me."
"This weeks experiences were exciting to the point of overwhelming but in a fantastic way. The amount of information that I was exposed to has really opened my eyes to the varied types of technology available in the classroom."
"It was a very exciting and at times stressful experience. I learned more than I thought I was capable of learning...I am anxious to use what I have learned in my classroom."
"The information that was presented ...was not what I expected. Each day I felt like a kid in a chocolate(with almonds) candy store. Everything on the agenda was enticing and thought provoking... If excitement is contagious look out science students, you will be infected."