These technology initiatives increased school percentile rankings from as low as 3.7 to 69. Our high school ACT scores are in the top 10 of all schools in Michigan. Our test scores are increasing by double digits on an annual basis while statewide scores only increase 4-5 percent. The increases over two years go as high as 39 percentage points over a two-year span.
This is not solely the result of technology, but the technology serves as an instrumental tool to increase student engagement, create smarter assessment, increase quality of instruction, and crease better systems for accountability.
Technology is a tool that must be put into practice without a perfectly defined plan. Continue to work to create a culture that values technology and, when you find success, provide teachers with the support to successfully use the tools. Then, be very clear that we are nowhere near the end of this road. The minute you stop changing, you regress.
Andy Moscoso, an eighth grader at Kennedy Krieger, uses an Epson BrightLink 450Wi.
2. Kennedy Krieger Schools, Kennedy Krieger Institute, Maryland
Kelly Meadows, Coordinator of Educational Technology
Adding interactive technology to Kennedy Krieger’s classrooms has proved invaluable in teaching students with diverse disorders, including autism, learning disabilities, speech/language disorders, orthopedic disabilities, and traumatic brain injuries.
A typical Kennedy Krieger classroom has multiple computers, iPads, Epson BrightLink interactive projectors or Promethean ActivBoards, and access to assistive software such as Kurzweil, Word Q, and Snap n Read.
Using technology to teach isn’t an intuitive process for most teachers. Teachers need to be taught how to use technology in a meaningful way prior to deployment. Professional development is critical during the deployment as well, in addition to throughout the school year.
An additional challenge for iPads, specifically, has been management. Managing several devices per building has been quite the learning process. We have learned that without the aid of our IT department, we wouldn’t have gotten far. With things to consider like web filters, Wi-Fi access, iTunes accounts, volume purchasing, and content management, we required continuous IT support.
We are moving toward a technology-rich school environment where instant access to information through a variety of media means educators can easily teach beyond the walls of their classrooms.
Don’t be afraid to be creative and share your ideas. Technology is changing every day and teachers depend on each other for great lesson ideas. Join a blog, create a website, or set up a social media account in order to share your fabulous ideas and learn from your fellow educators.
3. Monroe Township High School, Monroe Township Board of Education, New Jersey
Reggie Washington, Director of Information Systems
Our school has a 1:1 iPad program with take-home privileges. All 1,900 students, along with certificated staff members, have an iPad. The students and teachers use the iPads each day in their classes. This initiative allows us to extend the school beyond the physical walls of the buildings. Our students have access to information 24/7. This allows them to be better digital citizens.