In the week 3 assignment, Cy Falls demonstrated the most need regarding the integration of technology using laptops in the area of connectivity, which is too slow and inconsistent, and a filtering system which is too stringent. Outside of the laptop initiative, the STaR Chart showed our largest area of need to be educator preparation, where we ranked as “developing”. Thus, this preparation needs to be addressed with better and more effective professional development to ensure that teachers feel comfortable in utilizing technology in their classrooms.
CFISD uses data from the STaR Chart, from Speak Up surveys, and from Infoserv (which is an information system that gives teachers and administrators data on students including grades, discipline data, TEKS test scores, schedules, etc.). All of this is compiled into reports and graphs through a system called COGNOS which can further delineate the data by ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status and other factors and this will help with further analysis. Most administrators and several teachers know how to use these systems. However, I think it would help to have a formal training on what these two systems can do because many more teachers would use the reports to help them individualize instruction for their students. But, this does not happen as much because not enough teachers know everything that tools can do.
I would suggest professional development with trainings on how to best utilize information and data gathered in the Infoserv and COGNOS systems (which would need to include how to make charts and graphs in Excel). Additionally, professional development needs to be set up for advanced and beginning users of some of our technologies (i.e. SmartBoard, multimedia projectors, Airliners [Smart Slates], websites, Moodle, etc.) But, this professional development needs to include administrators. Many times administrators are not included in the technology professional developments, but if the administration does not know about these new technologies, then they cannot evaluate the teacher’s use in the classroom through the PDAS system. Also, the administration needs to model the use of technology and there are many administrators who do not know how to use basic technology in the classroom. If this training of administrators were to become the norm, then maybe some of the issues that CFISD is facing regarding the laptop initiative could have been avoided.