Friday, December 11, 2009

Teaching with Technology Reflection: UDL Lesson Creation

I believe I will begin by stating that I have an even higher respect for teachers, and my opinion was already sky-scraping. Teachers are required to have more skills sets, qualities, and abilities than any other profession I know. Personally, I do not have a degree in education nor do I have a teaching certification. My background is very technical and I have run complex computer networks for much of my career. I have worked in school districts’ technology departments for over 7 years, but only with instructional technology for the past three years. If the CAST UDL Lesson Builder is even an inkling of what teachers go through to plan daily lessons, than I tip my virtual hat to this amazing population of people.

The UDL lesson builder was very difficult for me. It was time consuming and forced me to focus on what a teacher and a classroom of students go through during a day in the classroom. I have performed many walkthroughs with classes, but I have never had to participate in curriculum writing or lesson planning. After this experience, I’m not sure I ever want to again.

Don’t get me wrong… I am richer for the experience. However, this was a first attempt at anything like this for me. I have written many strategic plans in my day, but somehow, this was very different. I had to get inside a teacher’s mind and play out scenarios with students of various learning abilities. Additionally, having to remember accommodations and supports for learners with physical or mental impairments was also a challenge to include in the lesson.

I don’t think I ever thanked Mrs. Corpstein, my elementary school’s Enhanced Learning Program teacher. She was way ahead of her time and helped many of us excel in ways very similar to the UDL methods. Thank you! I now understand why you had all that grey hair and still loved your job.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

TMS STaR Chart Data

Tippit Middle School STaR Chart Data

This presentation will be used to enhance a presentation of the Texas STaR Chart and Tippit's associated data.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Texas Long Range Plan for Technology: Infrastructure for Technology

Infrastructure for Technology is one of the four key areas in the Texas Long Range Plan for Technology (LRPT), 2006-2020. This essential component interconnects all four areas of the LRPT. This area describes the vision, needs, and guidelines for infrastructure in Texas schools.

The state has made significant progress in statewide intra- and inter-connections. DIR and regional ESCs have been able to provide innovative resources. School districts have also increased equitable student and educator access improving collaboration, communication, and achievement. Unfortunately, there are still many districts with network infrastructures that are not safe, secure, flexible, scalable, or reliable. They cannot offer anytime, anywhere connectivity or integrate voice, video, and data effectively. They cannot supply a multitude of digital content and software applications to their constituents. Elements such as collaborative learning environments, resource sharing, and a sense of global community are below par and the teachers and students suffer because of it.

Overall trends indicate improvement toward LRPT guidelines. However, most schools have not reached “Target Tech” as evidenced by the Campus Statewide Summary of STaR Chart data:
· Target Tech: 6.7%
· Advanced Tech: 57.2%
· Developing Tech: 34.9%
· Early Tech: 1.2%

One of the main challenges facing Texas education is securing funding to continuously support, maintain, and improve the necessary 21st Century technology infrastructure which requires hardware, software, and human resources. Districts have implemented creative means to finance technology infrastructure. My recommendation would be for the Texas Legislature to increase the state technology allotment above the stagnant sub-$30 per student amount to an amount that would facilitate much needed enhancements. The original promises forecasted an amount over $100 per student by now.