Enabling Educators to Integrate Technology

from Educators' eZine

Keeping up with current technologies — and helping teachers develop the skills they need to effectively integrate those new technologies into the curriculum — is an ongoing challenge for any school.

Back in 2002, at Bradenton Florida's Daughtrey Preparatory School of Arts and Sciences, we found that our technology systems were very outdated. Further, the technology that teachers did have was used only for drill and skill practice.

Meanwhile, the School District of Manatee County had been working to provide funding on a school-by-school basis to help bring in current technologies where needed. When it was Daughtrey's turn to receive funding, we knew that new technology equipment and applications were only part of the solution; we would also need professional development to help teachers integrate the technology into the curriculum. In addition, the training would have to be presented in a way that clearly demonstrated how the integration of technology would benefit teaching and learning.

Supporting our efforts

The mission of Daughtrey Preparatory School of Arts and Sciences, a pre-K to Grade 5 magnet school and Title I school, is to prepare students for academic success and life as responsible citizens by engaging them in a rigorous curriculum infused with the arts and sciences.

Working within a magnet school framework, our teachers were already quite busy implementing innovative programs and projects in our classrooms. When it came to technology, we did not need yet another task added to the school day. Instead, we wanted something to support what we were already doing.

Another challenge was that many teachers didn't feel ready to use technology in the classroom. Since our school was so far behind technologically, many teachers didn't feel they had the experience or skills to effectively model technology use to students.

Daughtrey implemented Pearson Achievement Solutions' School Improvement program (now called School Progress) during the 2002-03 school year. Our school chose to work with Pearson Achievement Solutions because we needed quality professional development that would complement our own School Improvement Plan goals.

In the first year our professional development focused on quality instruction and quality work. We initiated project-based learning and learned how to create cross-curricular units with performance assessments. Then, in the second year, we added professional development to help teachers seamlessly infuse technology into our curriculum.

Pearson Achievement Solutions met with teachers in teams, during their common planning time, about once per month to provide workshops, lesson modeling and resources. We aligned our professional development with our school improvement plan and goals. Together, we looked at our school's curriculum, objectives, lesson units and outcomes to determine the best way to integrate specific technologies into teaching and learning. We worked throughout the year to incrementally build teachers' skills through ongoing workshops and coaching to help teachers become comfortable with technology, rather than trying to do everything at once.

To offer additional support, the district provided an "instructional technology specialist" to meet with teachers between Pearson Achievement Solutions' on-site visits.

Our school also had a designated teacher who spent part of the day maintaining the technologies, troubleshooting, and helping other teachers with technology integration (e.g. lesson modeling and demonstration) as needed.

In addition, the school already had a Technology Committee in place. The committee regularly reviews the School Improvement Plan to make sure the technologies that the school purchases and implements address school goals.

Achieving results

Through these efforts, teachers have learned to use hardware like the Smart Board as well as software such as Microsoft Excel, Word, and PowerPoint as well as Inspiration Software's Inspiration and Kidspiration to create Webquests, and more. Today teachers integrate technology across the curriculum.

Choosing the Pearson Achievement Solutions model was significant because we are still seeing the benefits, even after completing our final year of the three-year program. It complemented, and worked in conjunction with, our existing School Improvement Plan which was important.

Daughtrey has experienced a number of significant changes since beginning its School Improvement Plan in 1997-98, and our work with Pearson Achievement Solutions in 2002. As a result of our efforts and endeavors across many areas, students' FCAT scores in math, reading and writing have steadily increased. Our school also raised its school performance grade from a "C" to a "B" in 2003, an "A" in 2004, a "B" in 2005, and an "A" in 2006.


Percent of students scoring at Level 3 (grade level) or above

Grade2002200320042005 3 39 51 52 52 4 19 45 58 52 5 46 34 58 60

FCAT Reading

Percent of students scoring at Level 3 (grade level) or above

Grade2002200320042005 3 51 51 51 52 4 28 53 61 69 5 41 34 49 53

FCAT Writing

Percent of students scoring at Level 3 (grade level) or above

Grade2002200320042005 4 80 80 94 98

To continue our success, each year we evaluate our progress, revise our School Improvement Plan, and make sure that all our efforts — including the integration of technology in the classroom — are directed toward our stated goals. Our strategies have been successful, as evidenced by our achievement of Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, each year and our improved quality of instruction and student work.

Email:Kate Hoffman