Customized Technology Staff Development:
Teaching Teachers to Use Technology through Student Projects
Collaboration between Foothill College Center for Innovation and the San Francisco 49ers Academy, Ravenswood School District, East Palo
Linda K. Taber Ullah, M.Ed 
Teacher in Residence 
Foothill College Center for Innovation, Los Altos Hills, CA
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Integrating Technology into a Standards Based Curriculum

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Front End Analysis

Designing Technology Staff Development through the Foothill Hill College LINC Program for the San Francisco 49ers Academy in the Ravenswood School District (East Palo Alto)


EDIT 226 Foothill Cohort
Linda K. Taber Ullah, M. Ed.
Oct. 16, 2001

1. Problem Statement:

Ravenswood School District’s San Francisco 49ers Academy has a need to have its teachers trained to integrate technology into the curriculum.

a) The school’s computer lab is underused
b) The teachers are to a large extent technology literate, but lack the training to integrate technology into the curriculum
c) Digital divide issues mean that students attending the San Francisco 49er Academy have less access to computers and the Internet that White or Asian middle class students.
d) There is no tech support for the school.

2. Needs Assessment

Background Information:

The San Francisco 49ers Academy is a public school for students in grades six through eight who are identified as "at-risk" of dropping out of school. The school opened its doors in 1996. The role of the Academy is to provide students with a personalized educational setting, as well as offer health and human services to the students and their families in a nurturing environment. Since 1996, when the school was created, the 49ers Foundation has given the academy $30,000 annually, as well as small gifts, such as candy at Halloween or gift certificates at Christmas. The students wear school uniforms with 49ers logos and sometimes get to watch the team practice if they behave. (Fernandez, 1999)

Although the 49er Academy bear the football team's name, the school is run by the Ravenswood School District. The Ravenswood School Board receives supplemental private money from a variety of foundations and social service agencies. (Fernandez) The school’s philosophy is, "Programs don't change kids …relationships do." The 49ers Academy is a joint effort of Communities In Schools, Inc., the San Francisco 49ers Football Team, Costco Wholesale, the Ravenswood School District, and its board of directors. (http://www.49ers-academy.org/whoweare.htm) The school is designed to offer an alternative educational environment to students who have not been successful in the traditional school setting. Each student develops a one-on-one relationships with adults at the school and the social, health and human services they need to stay in school are available through partnerships with existing community resources. This is done through small teams of providers who form one-on-one relationships with students and work alongside teachers. This includes volunteers and mentors. The school is designed to help young people learn, stay in school, and become better prepared for life.

The San Francisco 49ers Academy in Ravenswood School District in East Palo Alto provides small classes, individual attention and mentoring for sixth through eighth grade students with discipline problems or academic struggles. Boys and girls are taught separately. (Palo Alto Online, 1997) Most of the students are African-American, Latino or Samoan. The average class size is sixteen students. Regular classroom hours are 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. There is an after school program from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. five days a week. This program allows students to choose activities based upon interest in six-week blocks. About half of the students at this school come from the neighborhood where the school is located.

In a meeting with Vera (Williams) in the Ravenswood District Office to explrore setting up Foothill College LINC (Learning in New Media Classrooms) technology staff development classes for the Ravenswood Elementary School District she asked if we could work with their San Francisco 49er Academy. According to her the school’s six teachers are somewhat tech savvy, but have no tech support from the district. Phil Duncan, the school’s principal is eager for both students and teachers to have the opportunity to use the school’s PC lab in a meaningful way that ties California Content Standards with student interests and learning needs.

Based on the above information The San Francisco 49er Academy has the following immediate technology training/integration needs:

  • All teachers need to need to be trained to integrate the technology available at the school.
  • All students need hands on opportunities to learn to use technology in the same ways that students in more affluent schools are learning to use technology. This is important to bridge the digital divide for this community.
  • There is a need for technology support at the academy

3. Learner Analysis

Performance:

Students:

Four percent of students scored above the national average in reading, and twelve percent scored above the national average in math on the 2001 SAT9. (Smart Schools, 2001) These scores indicate that the students' basic skills are well below average in reading and math compared to students across the country. Forty three per cent for the students are African American, forty-four percent are Hispanic, eleven percent are Pacific Islander, and one percent are White. (Smart Schools)

Teachers:

The school has six teachers. Half of those teachers are new to the 49er Academy this year. The academy’s teachers have an average of 10 years experience, compared to the state average of 13 years. Seventy-eight percent of the academy’s teachers are fully credentialed. Twenty-two percent of the teachers are on emergency credentials or waivers. There are no pre-Intern or Interns at the school (Smart Schools) According to Vera Clark in the Ravenswood District Office the teachers are all somewhat computer proficient, but lack the training to be able to integrate the technology effectively into the classroom . Both Vera Clara and the principal, Phil Duncan indicated they perceived the need to train teachers and students to use the PC's

Technology

The school has a ratio of four students per computer, compared to a statewide average of 6.7 students per computer. All classrooms are connected to the Internet. The school has a Dell lab in recessed desks. The lab computers have Microsoft Office, a mouse program and a web browser.


Educational Gap

Both Vera Clara and the principal, Phil Duncan indicated they perceived the need to train teachers and students to use the PC's. In terms of digital divide issues research shows that Afro-American and Latino students have much less access to technology than their White counterparts. According to an “One study found that while more than half of all middle-class families had access to the Internet, the number of poor families with access was fewer than one in five. “(Potter, 1999) Consequently there is a need to assure that all staff know how to effectively integrate technology with the curriculum. Digital divide issues make it critical that all 49er Academy students have high quality opportunities to learn to use technology in a real world, curriculum based context.

4. Project Overview
a. Gaps
While research in not conclusive on the issue of technology integration improving test scores, there is strong evidence that project based learning supported by multimedia increases decision making skills, higher order thinking skills, and issues of design and audiences without lowering test scores. (Penuel, SRI International, 2000)

What Is
Desired Outcome
New PC lab is not being adequately used Teachers and students using the lab enhance the curriculum to improve student learning Teachers and students using the lab enhance the curriculum to improve student learning
In general, although there are individual exceptions, test Scores are below state average Technology needs to be used to improve student learning Technology needs to be used to improve student learning
There is no technology support at the school Teachers and students need to learn basic troubleshooting skills
Teachers and students need to learn basic troubleshooting skills
All teachers are somewhat savvy users of technology, but are uncertain how to integrate the technology effectively into the curriculum. Teachers need to learn to create powerful projects that engage their students in learning to use the computers in the context of the school’s curriculum.

Teachers need to learn to create powerful projects that engage their students in learning to use the computers in the context of the school’s curriculum.

5. Recommended Solution:

a. Groups of teachers and students will participate in a series of six-week Foothill College LINC (Learning in New Media Classrooms) courses.

i. Classes will meet during the school’s after school program in the PC lab at the San Francisco 49ers Academy on Thursday afternoons from 3:00- 5:00 p.m.

ii. Students will be expected to come to the class prepared

1. Some research will need to take place outside of this class during the school day and on students’ own time.

2. Class time will be used for project creation.

iii. Teachers and sixth through eighth grade students will each earn one unit of credit for each class taken

3. Teachers can use their units to move up on the district’s salary schedule

4. Sixth through eighth grade students will be able to use these units on their college applications when they apply to college after high school graduation

iv. The school’s principal and teachers will determine which students and teachers will participate in each class.

v. A combination of 18 students and teachers will participate in each course

vi. Linda Ullah will teach the first six-week course. During the first six weeks she will continually assess the success of the course and will adjust and improve the course. She will then train another LINC instructor during the second six week course to teach the rest of the six week courses at the 49er Academy

vii. Each course will be 12 hours in length and carry one quarter unit of credit.

v iii. Students and their teachers will learn to use the applications on the PCs in the school’s PC lab in the context of creating a curriculum based, real-world project.

b. Goals, Objectives and Assessment

Over all assessment of the LINC classes will include:

1. Survey of students and teachers taking the classes
2. Observations by principal and Linda Ullah
3. Quality of the products
4. The ability of the teachers and students to independently use what they have learned

See the following chart:

Learning Goals Measurable Objectives Assessment
LearningGoals Measurable Objectives Assessment Strategies
The San Francisco 49er Academy teachers will learn to integrate technology into their curriculum in a way that address the California Content Standards and the California Technology Proficiencies. San Francisco 49er Academy teachers and students will demonstrate that they can use the PCs and the programs on those PCs in their computer lab by collaboratively creating projects that use the Internet, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Netscape Composer. Student projects will use a combination of these applications.

Teachers who are trained with the teachers will be observed assisting the students with their projects as a guide a facilitator, and a co-learner.

The Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project rubric will be used to assess student projects.

Sixth through eighth grade students at the San Francisco 49er Academy will learn to create multimedia projects that tie their personal interests and community needs to their curriculum. Students become engaged in their own learning by working collaboratively with their teachers to identify content standards to be addressed by their projects and designing and completing projects that tie these standards to their own personal interests and real world projects. Student journals will reflect the standards they are addressing and clearly show how these standards are tied to their personal interested or a community need.

Teacher and student project plans will reflect standards.

Observation of students and teachers working together to determine standards.

The Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project rubric will be used to assess student projects.

Students and teachers at the San Francisco 49er Academy will learn the skills necessary to independently run their computer lab and plan and carry out powerful curriculum related projects. Teachers and students will learn to troubleshoot the computers in the lab in a real world context as they work together to create their projects. Students and teachers will be observed effectively demonstrating troubleshooting techniques taught within the context of completing their projects.

Teachers and students will be observed helping each other with troubleshooting.

Note: Assessment is ongoing (formative), and adjustments are continually being made to meet the needs of the students and teachers in order to improve the quality of the projects and the learning process.

6. Project Format

a. . Proposed Media/Tools
i. The San Francisco 49er PC Lab
ii. Microsoft Word
iii. Microsoft Excel
iv. Microsoft PowerPoint
v. Netscape Composer
vi. Netscape Communicator and/or Internet Explorer
vii. Throw away cameras, with photos printed to floppy disk
b. Collaboration
i. Teachers and students will collaborate to plan projects
ii. Students will work on project groups to collaboratively plan and execute their group’s project
iii. Teachers and students will learn together to use the applications in the computer lab.
iv. Foothill College’s Center for Innovation will collaborate with the San Francisco 49er Academy to plan and follow through on this training.
v. There is the potential for collaboration beyond the school (e.g. Community members, scientists, historians, authors, etc.)

c. Real World Connection
i. Teachers and students will learn together
ii. Students will make connections between California Content Standards and a personal interested or community need
iii. Students will create projects for an audience that goes beyond their school such as presentation at an educational conference, entering the project into the CA Media and Multimedia Festival or other competition or award.
d. Project Plan
i. The Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project Planning Guide (created by Linda Ullah and Gayle Britt, former Technology Learning Coordinators; Karen Cole, former research at the Institute for Research on Learning/WestEd; Michael Simkins, former director of the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project) that is also use for the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Internet Institute will be used with the teachers and students at the 49er Academy to create their projects,

e. Timeline:

Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Introduction of project

CA Content Standards,

Project selection
I

Internet Searching Tutorial

MS Word Tutorial

Excel (Tables and charts) Tutorial

Research (Internet)

PowerPoint Tutorial

Storyboarding

Continue Research

Writing of outline/rough draft

Netscape Composer Tutorial or using MS Word to Create Web pages

Project Production

Project Production
Project Completion,

Sharing of Projects

Resources

Fernandez, Lisa “49er in Training East Palo Alto Students Hear About Jobs Off the Field” San Francisco Chronicle Feb 24, 1999 (Online)
http://www.jaba.org/Resources/Press%20Articles/niner_in_training.htm

Great Schools (Online) www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/ca/browse_school/6920

“On the Blackboard”, Palo Alto Online, (Online) http://www.service.com/PAW/morgue/monthly/1997_Jul_16_BLACK16.html Wednesday Jul 16, 1997

Penuel, William, “SRI International’s Evaluation of the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project”, (Online) http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/sri/SRIEvaluation.htm

Potter, Ned, “Risks of the Digital Divide abcnews.com, 1999 (Online) http://abcnews.go.com/onair/WorldNewsTonight/wnt990301_potter_story.html


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