"Leadership is the single most important factor affecting the successful integration of technology. This is true at the state level and at the school level. Schools which have made the most progress are those with energetic and committed leaders."
From a 1998 study by the SouthEast and Islands Regional Technology in Education Consortium
This chapter provides guidance, ideas and resources to assess the integration of technology into a school or district's instructional and management practices. Infusing a school with technology can be a transforming experience: the potential exists to change almost every aspect of school operations, and much of teaching and learning. Applications of technology in practice are examined through key questions, indicators, and measures for technology integration in the school setting.
There are a number of reasons to track the effectiveness of technology integration. The integration of technology into a school is in many ways like its integration into any business setting-technology is a tool to improve productivity and practice. Measures need to be available to assess effectiveness, and yet some of the most significant effects can be difficult to measure. For administrative tasks, technology can improve worker productivity by removing repetitive aspects of complex tasks or improving system communication. Technology integration in the classroom also has the potential to support important educational goals. Technology, it has been argued, helps change teacher-student relationships, encourages project-based learning styles, and supports the acquisition of skills such as "higher order thinking," analysis, and problem solving. The most important reason for measuring, though, is the understanding that the impact of technology on schools is dependent upon how successfully technology is integrated.
Technology integration is the incorporation of technology resources and technology-based practices into the daily routines, work, and management of schools. Technology resources are computers and specialized software, network-based communication systems, and other equipment and infrastructure. Practices include collaborative work and communication, Internet-based research, remote access to instrumentation, network-based transmission and retrieval of data, and other methods. This definition is not in itself sufficient to describe successful integration: it is important that integration be routine, seamless, and both efficient and effective in supporting school goals and purposes.
Integrating technology is what comes next after making the technology available and accessible. It is a goal-in-process, not an end state. The goal of perfect technology integration is inherently unreachable: technologies change and develop, students and teachers come and go-things change. It is the process by which people and their institutional setting adapt to the technology that matters most. The process of technology integration is one of continuous change, learning, and (hopefully) improvement. Developing a culture that embraces technology is also important to its successful integration; for example, sending important messages by e-mail, or encouraging staff to use electronic calendars to schedule meetings, fosters a culture that accepts technology as "natural" to the business of everyday work.
The understanding of integration here is constructed on the basis of analyses, presented in earlier chapters, of measures of the availability and accessibility of equipment, infrastructure, software, and applications. The present chapter begins with three key questions that address what users-teachers, students, administrators-bring to the application of technology: their own skills and knowledge. The next three key questions focus on the incorporation of technology into instruction's major components: curriculum standards, practices, and student assessment. Finally, two key questions address the incorporation of technology into two major aspects of school management: the processes and practices themselves, and the evaluation of administrative and instructional staff.
Indicators related to teacher and administrator training may be found in Chapter 6, Professional Development. Indicators and data elements related to maintenance and support of software and hardware may be found in Chapter 5.
Obtaining measures for indicators in this chapter often requires purpose-built survey questions or other forms of assessment. Technology integration is one domain that may well require special data collections, although wherever possible in the handbook, indicators and data elements have been recommended that can be found in, or easily added to, existing record systems.
The indicators provided here are recommended because they will give useful, comparable information. It should be stressed that the handbook does not recommend a data collection, nor does any agency require that any of the data in this chapter be collected. Technology planners and administrators can choose what measures and standards best to apply in their districts. Enough indicators are given to provide examples; users will adapt these examples to their own school or district's situation, or develop new ones.
In order to obtain measures for the indicators in this chapter, the Technology in Schools Task Force has looked for standards that might provide criteria to which behaviors and practices could be compared. Standards for proficiency in the use of technology by students, teachers, and administrators have been mapped through the work of the International Society for Technology in Education and other national groups.
Standards are valuable in assessing technology integration to the extent that they provide reference points for measurement: rubrics or lists of authentic and observable performances that demonstrate the use of technology in context. Standards set measurable goals for technology integration; they do not assign value positions to the results of measurement. The issue of the desirability of technology integration relates to the links between technology adoption and educational or management outcomes, which are beyond the province of this guide. The lists of observable behaviors can be used by school and district personnel to think about what to measure, and consideration of what to measure in turn leads to thinking about how to measure it.
Three key questions deal with the incorporation of technology into teaching and learning standards, into student assessment, and into evaluations of instructional and administrative staff. It can truly be said that technology is integrated into schools when technology proficiencies and practices are incorporated into the fabric of the organization-the processes by which educational goals are set and promotions are determined.
The best indicator to measure proficiency is some form of performance measure based on clear and reasonable criteria. Two efforts are presented that address, respectively, the criteria to be employed and the measurement approach.
The first is the national standards established by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the Standards for Basic Endorsement in Educational Computing and Technology Literacy. These standards specify a desired performance profile for technology-literate teachers. Schools and districts can examine these performance standards to determine measures of teacher skills with technology. The assessment could be through portfolio-based ratings of teachers for a selection of performance areas. A sample performance area requirement from the ISTE standards is presented after the indicators for this question.
The second approach comes from Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) of Virginia. They have determined eight teacher technology competencies, divided into two competency skill areas: operational (standards 1-4) and integration (standards 5-8).
Instructional personnel shall be able to:
Instructional personnel shall be able to:
[Reprinted with permission from Fairfax County Public Schools. See Resources for reference.]
The most frequent way that Fairfax County teachers meet the operational standards is by taking or teaching professional-level technology courses, by preparing a portfolio, or by taking an operational skills test. For the integration standards, teachers can complete coursework, serve as a technology course instructor, prepare a portfolio, or present at a conference. Many resources and training opportunities are available to help employees meet the technology standards, including school-based technology specialists, FCPS-sponsored credit classes, and computer-based instruction (available both on CD and on the Internet).
Finally, a rubric-based rating system could also be applied by external evaluators or school administrators. (For an example of a rubric-based system, see "Administrative Usage Rubric Objectives" at the end of Key Question 7.)
Beyond Counting: the ratio of students to computers is a very poor measure of technology integration in school settings.
|Extent of teacher user skills, fit to performance profile||Percentage
of teachers achieving acceptable performance
on standards-based performance profiles.
SAMPLE REQUIREMENT, ISTE STANDARDS FOR BASIC ENDORSEMENT IN EDUCATIONAL COMPUTING AND TECHNOLOGY LITERACY (EXCERPTED)
There are 61 performance standards in all, organized into the major areas listed above. A typical item is "1.2.5 Demonstrate awareness of resources for adaptive/assistive devices for student with special needs."
Levels corresponding to acceptable performance need to be set for each item included in a scale. In addition, a scaling procedure would need to be defined, either in terms of a minimum threshold, or passing certain standards deemed to be especially important.
[Excerpted from http://www.iste.org/standards/ncate/basic.html. Reprinted with permission from National Educational Technology Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology, Copyright © 2000. International Society for Technology in Education. For more information about the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), contact Lajeane Thomas, Director, NETS Project, (318) 257-3923; firstname.lastname@example.org.]
The goal of placing technology in the classroom is to provide new ways for students to learn. Proper integration of technology will make the technology support these new ways of learning transparently. When students are able to choose and use technology tools to help themselves obtain information, analyze, synthesize, and assimilate it, and then present it in an acceptable manner, then technology integration has taken place.
Establishing and implementing technology literacy standards for students can help guide teacher efforts to integrate technology. In particular, lists of competencies such as those provided in the examples below define expectations for student performance and can help guide teacher activities in the context of the curriculum.
The ISTE National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) project has produced technology foundation standards for students. There are six categories:
[See http://cnets.iste.org/sfors.htm. Reprint permission granted by ISTE.]
In connection with these standards, a set of performance indicators has been created, the Profiles for Technology Literate Students, which describe the level of competency that students should have at completion of various grade levels. A sample of these performance indicators is provided after the indicators for this key question. These profiles, and the associated examples and scenarios that ISTE has developed, could be used as a basis for assessment.
Another basis of assessment comes from the Nonprint Media and Technology Literacy Standards developed by the National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement, which has divided technology competencies for grades K-12 into three skill areas: basic, critical, and construction skills.
The construction skills students should have by completion of elementary school are presented in the list that follows. They build upon the basic and critical skills found in the Nonprint Media and Technology Literacy Standards. Construction skills are competencies involving the creation and use of nonprint texts for developing ideas and opinions, for communicating and collaborating with others, and for enhancing problem solving and personal fulfillment. Construction skills include capabilities for composing, developing, integrating, and presenting.
Construction skill competencies (for elementary school students):
[Reprinted with permission from the National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement, Copyright © 1999. Albany Institute for Research in Education. All Rights Reserved. See Resources for reference.]
|Student instruction or training||Count of courses that include training or instruction in technology tool skills in their contents.|
|Extent of student user skills, fit to performance levels||Percentage of students who perform at or above grade-level-specific performance levels on standards-based profiles.|
|ercentage of students demonstrating competency at the Basic Skills, Critical Literacies, or Construction Skills levels.|
|Use of assistive or adaptive technologies by students where appropriate||ercentage of students using computer-based assistive or adaptive technologies to compensate for disabilities or limitations.|
|Percentage of classrooms with available computer-based assistive or adaptive technologies for students to compensate for disabilities or limitations.|
TERM DEFINITIONS AND CATEGORIES
Adaptive technologies: External support that can be used to enhance a person's ability to function within his or her environment, such as advanced voice recognition systems, Braille computer displays, and text-to-speech programs. See also "assistive technologies."
Assistive technologies: Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. See also "adaptive technologies."
Technology tool skills (adapted from ISTE Standards for Basic Endorsement in Educational Computing and Technology Literacy, Standard 2.2. Productivity Tools):
SAMPLE PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR TECHNOLOGY LITERATE STUDENTS, GRADES 6-8, FOUND IN ISTE NETS PROFILES FOR TECHNOLOGY LITERATE STUDENTS (EXCERPTED)
(Numbers in parentheses below refer to the ISTE technology foundation standard(s) to which each indicator applies. See page 79 for standards.)
Prior to completion of Grade 8, students will:
[See http://cnets.iste.org/68pro.htm. Reprint permission granted by ISTE.]
Technology opens up many doors for students at all academic levels to do real work as they study a particular subject. Integrating a curriculum with technology involves making technology into a tool to enhance learning in a content area or multidisciplinary setting. The technology should become an integral part of how the classroom functions, as accessible as all other classroom tools.
Barriers to integration have included inadequate hardware and software, difficulties in securing sufficient funding, inadequate staff development, and deficiencies in planning. It is important to remember, however, that in general the presence of physical hardware in a classroom says little about whether and how it is used in instruction. A "head count" of computers should not be used to answer the indicators below, which are straightforward counts and percentages. Even counting the number of classes set in a computer-intensive "laboratory" setting may be inadequate as a measure of integration, since only technology-specific skills may be taught there. Instead, measurement should be based on observing actual access and usage.
A different sort of technology integration occurs with distance education. Offering courses with a remote teacher provides a school or district with an alternative way to extend the curriculum, and allows several districts to share a scarce or expensive resource (say, a Latin teacher). The number of distance education courses offered is an indication of the penetration of distance education into the school's instructional base.
|Patterns of teacher use||Percentage of teachers using computer-based technologies on a variety of instructional and instruction-related tasks.|
|Patterns of student use||Percent of students using computer-based technologies on a variety of instructional and instruction-related tasks.|
|Course delivery through distance education||Count of courses offered through both external (state or regional) and internal (district-wide) distance education.|
TERM DEFINITIONS AND CATEGORIES
Example list of instruction-related tasks for teachers: Accessing information on instructional resources; communicating with colleagues or other professionals; creating instructional materials/tasks or visuals; downloading curriculum materials from the Internet; accessing libraries or resources online; participating in collaborative projects with remote classrooms or teachers; publishing instructional materials on the Internet; and communicating with parents.
Example list of instruction-related tasks for students: Gathering information from a variety of sources; organizing and storing information; performing measurements and collecting data in investigation or laboratory experiments; manipulating/analyzing/interpreting information or data to discover relationships, generate questions, and/or reach conclusions; communicating/reporting information, conclusions, or results of investigations; creating visual displays of data/information; communicating/interacting with others in the classroom/school/outside of school; planning, refining, and producing audio/visual presentations; planning, drafting, proofreading, revising, publishing written text; creating graphics or visuals; generating original pieces of visual art and/or musical composition; publishing student projects or materials at remote locations on the Internet; performing calculations; and developing a more complete understanding of complex material or abstract concepts.
Incorporation of desired technology proficiencies into standards for students and teachers is an indication of technology integration into the vision for the curriculum. Although such incorporation may not be the same as direct evidence of use, it denotes institutional incorporation of the technology goals. Institutional buy-in of this sort, backed with support from teachers and parents and administrators, is the way to guarantee that the adopted innovation (such as technology) will not disappear when circumstances change.
|Inclusion of technology in standards||General or subject-area (student) standards include items related to proficiency in the use of computer and networking technologies.|
|The school or district has adopted standards for technology proficiency for students, but they are not integrated into general or subject-area standards for teaching and learning.|
|Teacher standards include items related to proficiency in the use of computer and networking technology.|
|The school or district has adopted standards for technology proficiency for teachers, but they are not integrated into general standards for teaching.|
TERM DEFINITIONS AND CATEGORIES
AN EXAMPLE OF STUDENT STANDARDS IN INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY
Instructional technology should prepare the student for lifelong learning in a rapidly changing technological society by providing a basic understanding of technology usage, processes and systems. This knowledge is necessary for all students regardless of educational or career goals. The Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) were written to provide utilization of technology throughout the curriculum. These priority skills were purposely designed to be broad in defining the basic skills for instructional technology statewide.
Each level of technology skill is built upon by previous levels. The skills addressed are:
Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS), Intermediate Level. The student will:
Two distinct ideas are brought together in this key question. On the one hand, there is interest in knowing if student assessments include measures of technology proficiency or utilization, whether directly (such as including items in a mathematics test that require use of a calculator) or indirectly (such as an assessment that involved a student presentation done in a computer graphics program, such as PowerPoint).
On the other, there is also interest in knowing to what extent the technologies are used in conducting assessments. The difference, then, is that the second issue is the use of technology in student assessment, while the first issue is the inclusion in student assessments about technology use.
|Inclusion of technology-related items in student assessments||Student assessments include items directly or indirectly related to technology proficiency or use.|
|Use of technology in student assessment||Count of student assessments that are technology-based, by assessment type.|
TERM DEFINITIONS AND CATEGORIES
Technology-based student assessment types: multiple-choice test administered via computer; adaptive multiple-choice test; open-ended response test; electronic portfolio.
Examples of student assessments of technology proficiency can be found at Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators (http://school.discovery.com/schrockguide/assess.html). A number of rubrics and portfolio guidelines are given, including ones for Internet use, primary source utilization, multimedia, and others.
This key question addresses the extent to which technology is infused into the business and management of schooling, the daily routine processes that allow classes to take place. Buses come and go; people are fed; teachers are paid; attendance is taken; grades are posted; transcripts are sent out; halls are cleaned; and heating and air conditioning systems are maintained. Information passes back and forth between central office and school office, between principals and teachers, and between districts and states.
Data-driven decision making can pervade a school or district and lead to continuous school improvement. Administrators need to ask themselves questions such as, Which decisions do you currently make based on data? What decisions do you make that you would like to have more data for, to inform your decision making? What do our data tell us we are doing right? Where do our data tell us we need improvement? Do changes we make result in the improvements we anticipated? Are meaningful data on student and management performance regularly collected throughout the year, so that timely, appropriate, and targeted interventions can be applied when and where they are needed?
In all of these areas and more, there is a wealth of opportunities to communicate, and to gain in efficiency by more efficient communication. Computers support the organization and efficient communication of information; the integration of technology into management involves, at its core, the promotion of efficiencies in sharing information. Although these uses of technology may appear less glamorous than, say, allowing students to point a telescope remotely over the Internet, the potential effects of technology in school management are no less revolutionary than in other areas of enterprise management.
|Integration into administrative tasks||Extent of student attendance computerization.|
|Extent of staff attendance computerization.|
|Computerization of staff/human resources management at the Local Education Agency (LEA) level: substitute management system that can be accessed anytime, record teacher absences, and provide substitute placement. Position control integrated with General Ledger. Payroll integrated with earnings history.|
|Transportation management system: data (students, staff, and financial) are synchronized and available on handheld devices.|
|Food service management system.|
|Special education management system that includes basic data; Individualized Educational Program (IEP); placements; evaluations; automated scheduling, tracking, and notification system.|
|The LEA has a curriculum management application.|
|The LEA has a library management system.|
|Percentage of administrative applications with web-based access.|
|Building-level access security control systems.|
|The LEA has a computerized fixed assets (capital assets) security and tracking management system, digital imaging system, access control system.|
|The LEA has a food services point-of-sale (POS) system.|
|An integrated management system exists that links two or more major administrative functions.|
|Special education data are integrated with the LEA's student management system.|
|Special education data are integrated with the LEA's transportation application.|
|Building administrators and office staff have access to student data, financial data, and staff data.|
|Building administrators and office staff utilize online budget development, purchase orders/requisitions, or action forms/board resolutions.|
|Staff members have remote access to their payroll/benefits data, district policies, and/or attendance/sick time/vacation records.|
|Student administrative application provides dynamic online data related to student attendance.|
|Financial administrative application provides dynamic online data related to school budgets and/or purchasing.|
|Facility and equipment access ID system.|
|Extracurricular activities ID system.|
|Ratio of administrative applications hosted on-site vs. offsite.|
|Teacher use of technology for administrative purposes||Percentage of teachers using computer-based technologies on instruction-related administrative tasks.|
|Percentage of teachers making data-driven decisions.|
|Percentage of teachers with access to data warehouse/data mining tools.|
|Percentage of teachers providing homework/lesson plans online.|
The indicators above will conceivably expand and may be augmented by standards as technology progresses into the administrative sphere. Evaluations of integration will become easier and more commonplace with new software packages that enable schools to link vital data from almost all recordkeeping spheres into a cohesive and seamless database. The indicators above are merely suggestions of what can be included in support of the school's business environment.
Administrative Usage Rubric Objectives Possible rubric to measure integration within administrative functions
Technology Integration - Administrative Usage Rubric Objectives
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
"3," plus staff attendance is available in "real time." Data processed at the building level is integrated into the payroll system. The LEA utilizes a substitute tracking system to identify and assign appropriate substitutes as needed.
The LEA utilizes a certificate tracking system to verify staff certification, identify appropriately certified staff to fill needs, or to identify subjects that need resources. Staff members with remote access to their payroll/benefits data, district policies, and/or attendance/sick time/vacation records can interact to initiate changes to benefits status, tax deductions, etc.
"2," plus staff attendance is available by mid-morning. Attendance is available by mid-morning. Data are available online at the building and district levels.
The LEA utilizes a position control application to manage and fill vacancies without going over budget. Staff members have remote access to their payroll/benefits data, district policies, and/or attendance/sick time/vacation records.
Staff attendance is computerized, with building access to online data for payroll purposes.
Attendance is available online at the end of the day or week. Biweekly and/or monthly staff attendance data system generated for payroll purposes is available online at the building and in "hard copy" at the district level.
Staff attendance is manually processed for payroll purposes. Attendance is available on manual records at the end of the day. Biweekly and/or monthly staff attendance data are processed manually for payroll purposes and available at the building and district levels in "hard copy."
|TRANSPORTATION MANAGEMENT||"3," plus the LEA is responsible for maintaining vehicle inspection data and bus driver certification/basic data. Special education data are integrated with the LEA's transportation application.||"2," plus the data for each building are available at the district level.||The LEA is responsible for transportation of students, and there is a database with bus routing information and transported student basic data at the building level.||The LEA is not responsible for transportation of students|
As with Key Question 5 (on the incorporation of technology-related items into teaching standards), this key question addresses an issue that represents the incorporation of technology into the institutional fabric of school systems. There is no better driver of technology integration (or, at least, incorporation) into classrooms than the inclusion of technology-related dimensions or items in teacher evaluations; the same notion applies to administrators and support staff.
|Inclusion of technology-related items in teacher evaluation||Teachers are required to demonstrate proficiency or obtain a certification in technology.|
|Items related to technology proficiency, use, or technology integration in instructional settings are included in teacher evaluations.|
|Inclusion of technology-related items in evaluations of administrators and support staff||Assessment of technology proficiency or use is a component of administrator or support staff evaluation procedures.|
In connection with the first of the indicators above, the user is reminded of the Fairfax County, Virginia, technology proficiency assessment system described in connection with Key Question 1 earlier in this chapter.
Many of the indicators presented in this chapter can only be measured through specific data collection efforts, with forms filled out by the local technology coordinator, lead teachers, administrators, or staff members. The unit record structure presented in other chapters, in which data routinely collected for a variety of purposes can be converted into indicators that provide responses to key questions on the presence of technology, is not really appropriate for the information provided here.
John is meeting with the Science Department heads from each high school.
John repeats Dr. Neussup's question, "How is technology being used in science instruction?"
Anne Teeter, a science teacher for 20 years at Freshlook High, responds, "My class meets several of the state's learning standards in the area of meteorology by recording observations and entering the data into spreadsheets and analyzing it using formulas, charts, and graphs."
John asks the others, "How many of your teachers incorporate technology into their science lessons the way Ms. Teeter described?"
John determines that roughly 60 percent of the district's science teachers regularly incorporate the use of technology into their instruction. He then inquires about the 40 percent who are not incorporating technology, and learns that these teachers are not yet familiar with using technology in instruction. Obviously, there is work yet to be done in staff development.
[The story continues...though not in this handbook!]
Many groups have struggled to clarify the issue of defining technology integration. Although different words and phrases are used, the major theme of these definitions is that technology is a tool or a means to an end goal-it is not the end in itself. Here are three different takes on technology integration:
"Critical Issue: Promoting Technology Use in Schools," Pathways to School Improvement, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
"Critical Issue: Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement," Pathways to School Improvement, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
Eastwood, K., Harmony, D., and Chamberlain, C. (1998). "Integrating Technology into Instruction, How We Became One of the Best by Simply Listening," Curriculum Technology Quarterly, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Sulla, N. (1998). "Winning Teachers Over," Electronic School.
Using Data to Improve Schools: What's Working. (2002). American Association of School Administrators.
Withers, S.R. (1999). "Making the Best Use of New Tools: Standards for Integrating Technology," English Update, newsletter of the National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement.
National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) Project, International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).
See, especially NETS for Teachers and NETS for Students, http://cnets.iste.org/
National Standards for Technology in Teacher Preparation, by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).
Standards for School Administrators: A Proposed Model (1997), by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and the Educational Technology Cooperative, which comprises 38 state higher education and K-12 coordinating and governing boards.
Search archives at http://www.sreb.org
Swan, K. "Nonprint Media and Technology Literacy Standards for K-12 Teaching and Learning." National Research Center on English Learning & Achievement.
Technology Standards for School Administrators (TSSA) Collaborative.
Technology for Principals Leading Utah's Schools (T-PLUS), Utah State Office of Education and Western Governors University.
Ted Nellen lists many tools for assessing staff for technology on his own web site.
Learning with Technology Profile Tool, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
Arizona State recently created an online web assessment tool for all of their public school teachers.
The Milken Family Foundation's Professional Competency Continuum (PCC) Assessment Tool.
Other in-depth resources
enGauge: Educator Proficiency.
The Milken Family Foundation Initiative on Education Technology.
"Teachers and Technology: Making the Connection," U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, April 1995.
Fairfax County Public Schools, Guide for Implementing the Virginia Technology
Standards, Virginia Dept. of Education.
For technology standards statutory authority, see http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Compliance/TeacherED/tech.html