RUNNING HEAD: MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES 1

donkeyswarmMobile - Wireless

Nov 24, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

65 views

RUNNING HEAD: MONEY
IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

1









Using Money In All The Wrong Places

Melvia Valiente

University of Nevada, Las Vegas

CIT 667

Professor Neal Strudler









USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

2


Abstract

Technology is a booming business. Everyone always wants the newest gadget, or the next best thing.
However, when it comes to education, purchasing the technology is only half the battle. In this day and
age, with transparency being the new ‘it’ word, th
e community at large is looking for a return on its’
investment of tax dollars into educational use of technology. Several problems arise when we look at
implementing technology into education. We must deal with the problems of funding, appropriate and
c
ontinued professional development, assessment of Twenty
-
First Century skills, and how to further the
adoption of technology to other struggling districts. While funding is a difficult topic for many these
days, it is important to recognize the funding sou
rce for
education primarily comes from taxpayers. In
order to increase the world knowledge and skills of our students, we must use taxpayers’ money wisely,
spend money on technology that is useful in the classroom, and stop spending money in places that d
o not
advance our standing in the world. This allows for transparency in the school budget. Once we’ve
acquired the equipment, appropriate and continued professional development is a requirement in order for
any education professional to implement new te
chnologies in their classroom. If our teachers are
comfortable with the technology, they will be more likely to utilize and embrace the technology with their
students. Once students are familiar with the use of technology, we need to find new ways to ass
ess their
knowledge
of Twenty
-
First Century Skills. The current standardized assessments do not adequately
gauge students’ knowledge of these skills. In order to improve our standing as a nation, we must take
what works and spread the wealth, so to speak
, when it comes to technology implementation. This begins
with a needs assessment, and requires follow
-
up assessments throughout the implementation plan. If a
school district has a strong Technology Implementation Plan, the factors I’ve mentioned should
strengthen that plan, and allow for rich technology implementation. It will take time, but in 5
-
7 years, the
school/district can become stronger through its’ use of technology throughout the school/district.








USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

3


Introduction

In the last two decades, th
e United States government has spent more than $60 billion dollars in
the purchase of technology for use in education. States, school districts, and individual schools continue
to purchase technology to teach our students the 21
st

Century Skills they’ll n
eed to be successful in the
world market as they complete their education. These Twenty
-
First Century Skills, defined as “core
content knowledge, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration,”
(P21
Framework

Definitions, 2009)

can be taught using a variety of methods, including technology. The
problem, however, is there has been little return on such a large investment. There have been some
success stories, such as the School of One in New York

as disc
ussed in the National Education
Technology Plan, 2010
, or the Technology Immersion Pilot in Texas

(Kadel, Andrews, Bielefeldt, &
Goldmann, 2008)
.


In order to fully fund the technology initiatives outlined by the NETP, $700.5 million
would need to be spent

(Kadel, Andrews, Bielefeldt, & Goldmann, 2008)
. While access to the technology
does play a large part in improving s
kills, test scores, and knowledge, the largest factor that can effect
change is teachers’ comfort level with the technology. Professional Development must be provided
before, during, and after implementation of technology in a classroom or school. If eff
ective professional
development is not provided, it is likely the technology will not be utilized in the most effective ways,
and the money will have been ‘wasted.’

Larry Cuban’s book,
Oversold and Underused,
focuses on the fact that education, as a mult
i
-
billion dollar industry, is spending its money in the wrong places

(Cuban, 2003)
. The money that has
been spent already has established the prerequisites for
continued yearly increases of
technology in
education

including, f
or example, high
-
speed DSL internet connections, flat
-
screen monitors, interactive
whiteboards, and LCD projectors to name a few. However, most teachers don’t feel comfortable enough
to use this technology in their daily instruction.
Fifty
-
one percent

of

teachers reported using technology
to facilitate student learning by asking students to complete homework online and assigning practice work
(Ertmer & Ottenbreit
-
Leftwich, 2010)
. The same article emphasizes that technology is not to be used as a
supplemental tool (as described above), but as an essential tool for success.

For technology to be fully
effective, it should be used as more than just a grade
-
checking or written assig
nment platform.

I agree
that, 10 years since Cuban’s book, his assertion holds true. Unfortunately, technology is still used as a
supplemental tool, rather than an essential one. Ertmer & Ottenbreit
-
Leftwich report students are using
computers to

write

assignments (74%), complete online research (72%), and check assignments or
grades online (58%)


(
Ertmer & Ottenbreit
-
Leftwich, 2010,
p. 256
-
257). These statistics prove that
educators are not using technology in the most effective ways. By
teaching

stu
dents

how

to use
technology more effectively

in the classroom
, we will increase their 21
st

Century Skills in the real world.
USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

4


Students, however,
are

not where the movement needs to start. The movement to increase the use of
technology implementation needs

to start with the teachers in the classrooms. The Ertmer & Ottenbreit
-
Leftwich article explains that teachers can begin to build self
-
efficacy by “starting with small successful
experiences, access to knowledgeable peers, and participating in professiona
l learning communities”
(
Ertmer & Ottenbreit
-
Leftwich, 2010,
p. 261
-
262). There is much progress still to be made in the area of
technology implementation in education. In five to seven years, if the recommendations by NETP are
followed, I do see a “retu
rn of investment” in the educational system. However, if the next five years are
anything like the last ten, educators will, more than likely, have technology
pushed onto

them with no
idea how to use it.
T
echnology
can have

a significant impact on teachi
ng and learning at the K
-
12 level
,
when implemented properly
.

However, there are several obstacles that can prevent the effective use of
technology in schools, such as outdated equipment, students that cannot use the computer per parent
request, and ineff
ective or nonexistent professional development that supports teachers’ use of
technology.

As mentioned previously, knowledge of the 21
st

Century Skills will keep America at the
forefront of technology innovation.

I
expect technology implementation
, in the

next 5
-
7 years, will increase tenfold
, due to the
President’s mission to increase the United States’ standing as a world market leader
. As mentioned in the
NETP, spending per student per year has increase
d 70% in 30 years
. I see this number increasing, but I
also believe the expectations for implementation will increase. For example, in this district,
Superintendent Jones is very fond of data. Data proves the usefulness of a product. In order for
Superintendent Jones o
r an academic manager to approve the purchase of a program, they are now asking
for data to support the purchase. In the past, it seemed problems were “solved” by throwing money at it.
My expectation

is that while technology use and spending increase, so

will
requirements

for
implementation

of technology purchased and provided
, and data
will be

reviewed regularly.

As this
district in particular, Clark County School District, moves away from No Child Left Behind regulations
and moves towards Growth Mode
l assessments, I am confident that schools will be able to incorporate
technology into the curriculum, and assess students’ computer literacy skills.
I know most teachers don’t
like to collect or take data, but as a special education teacher, I am well aw
are that data drives everything
we, as educators, do.

Technology is often viewed as
the
“miracle solution” to
solve the problem of
failing schools. In
recent years, many politicians, school board leaders, and community members have blamed our teachers
f
or poor teaching, and touted the use of technology to fix the problem
(
s
)
.

There is much wishful thinking
that technology can solve our educational problems (Rosen, 2011).
It is a well
-
known fact that
technology

use is on the rise
,
in fact
, i
n Fall 2008, an

estimated 100 percent of public schools had one or
USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

5


more instructional computers with Internet access and the ratio of students to instructional computers with
Internet access was 3.1 to 1


(Fast Facts, 2008, p.

np)
.

O
ur students will be required to
hold

21
st

century
skills in the years to come,
to be successful members of society. With this knowledge

in hand
,
spending
money on technology to be used in the classroom needs to occur wisely

and cautiously
. I
f district funds
are spent without heavy consideration for the impact of said technology, districts may run into problems,
like that of the Kyrene, Arizona School District.
Here, “c
lassrooms are decked out with laptops, big
interactive screens and softwar
e that drills students on every basic subject. Under a ballot initiative
approved in 2005, the (Kyrene, Arizona School) District has invested roughly $33 million in such
technologies” (Richtel, 2011
, p. np
). In Kyrene, “schools are spending billions on
technology, even as
they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning”
(Richtel, 2011
, p. np
).
The current standardized assessments don’t
capture the
skills

that computers can
help develop
,
such as cre
ative thinking, problem
-
solving, and critical skills. However,
for now there is no
better way to gauge the educational value of
such
expensive technology investments. While

standardized

test scores are not the best indicator of student learning available
, it is currently the nationwide standard
for measuring student progress.
The idea that technology is the “miracle solution” as demonstrated in the
Kyrene, Arizona School District has

several issues.
As Rosen, 2011 points out, technology is a key part
of

the solution to making education more effective, efficient, and compelling. It is not, however, a magic
wand (Rosen, 2011). When school reform is looked at, it is important to note that “technology can have
the greatest impact when integrated into the c
urriculum to achieve clear, measurable, educational
objectives


(Cradler et al., 2002, p. 47). Students in the Cradler et al. study showed marked improvement
in the SAT I and SAT 9 exams that appeared attributable to the alignment of targeting curriculum
standards and the use of technol
ogy (Cradler et al., 2002
).


In the past, use of technology in the classroom was seen as a pipe dream. In the days of
computers the size of a room, cartridges to take attendance, and the very first Apple 2e computers, it
s
eemed to many that computers were nothing more than a new toy to play with. However, in reality,
computers have become part of our everyday life. Teens, young adults, and even young children can
navigate today’s technological pieces in seconds. The stud
ents of today are growing up in a digital age,
and are digital natives. The educational system needs to catch up, and recognize the importance of
technology in this day and age. In order for technology to be utilized and implemented effectively,
several
things must be made clear to those in the field of education. First, it must be made very clear that
students must possess 21
st

Century Skills in order for the United States to continue to be a front
-
runner in
the world marketplace. Second, teachers must be explicitly taught how to implement the technology they
are provided with. Next, a nation
-
wide change must occur in the area

of assessing students’ growth, by
USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

6


implementing the use of authentic assessments, instead of the current
-
day standardized assessments.
Finally, states must conduct needs assessments to find out what teachers are lacking, and then act on the
assessment res
ults to fulfill those needs.

Twenty
-
First Century Skills

Twenty
-
First Century S
kills, defined as “core content

knowledge
, critical thinking, problem
solving, communication, and collaboration,”

(P21 Framework Definitions, 2009)

are important skills to
develop
in students today. As
educators
, our goal

is to create future world leaders, businesspeople, and
entrepreneurs. Without these 21
st

Century Skills, other countries that are taking the lead on technology
implementation wil
l surpass America’s
current lead

in these areas.
Countries such as China, Japan, and
the Philippines are using technology such as computers and cell phones to deliver their instruction
(Prensky, 2005). Technology has developed over time, and one can only

hope that effective professional
development was provided to
help
the teachers in these countries to implement the technology
appropriately
. An issue that is
often
encountered with educators is the generation gap. Oftentimes,
educators are older members

of society, who are known as “digital immigrants.” Digital immigrants are
members of society that “are not born

into the digital world. The members of society that fall into this
category adopt technology (sometimes reluctantly), after reading a manual.

The generation gap comes
into play when the digital immigrants are teaching the “digital native,” students that are fluent in
computers, video games, and the internet (Prensky, 2005
, p. 10
).

Now, more than ever, effective
professional development is nec
essary to close the generation gap, and provide technology
-
rich
instruction to today’s students.
Teaching
21
st

Century
Skills

involves encouraging decision making,
involving students in the design of instruction, and soliciting input from students on how
they would
teach the material. Prensky also suggests schools include students in discussions, faculty meetings,
school organization, and discipline (
Prensky,
2005). While some may see this as giving students too
much leeway,
allowing students to take par
t in their own education is beneficial in many ways. Students
that take ownership of their own education take more responsibility for their actions and feel they’re part
of a school community.

For example, when students are able to use the Internet to re
search topics and
share information, they become independent, critical think
ers (Cradler et al., 2002
).
The findings hold
true when students are taught to apply the processes of problem solving and are allowed opportunities to
apply technology tools to de
velop soluti
ons (Cradler et al., 2002
).

Professional Development

Before technology can be blindly adopted and utilized in education, effective professional development
must occur. There are many different kinds of technology, and just as many different ty
pes of teachers.
USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

7


In order for the two to blend together seamlessly, professional development should be designed
specifically for each type of teacher. McKenzie (1999) discusses the large percentage of teachers that
remain reluctant and skeptical. He sta
tes “much of the professional development designed by technology
enthusiasts is with little
empathy for reluctant [teachers]


(McKenzie, 1999
, p. np
).

This continues to be
part of the problem of effective technology implementation. It is important to understand that the
reluctant teacher comprises 70% of the teaching workforce, and only 20% of teachers feel well
-
prepared
to integrate technology approp
riately

(
McKenzie, 1999
)
. The reluctant teacher is not ‘old’ in any sense of
the word.
However, it is important to understand that t
his group of professionals was not raised with the
use of technology, and therefore is (most likely)
ill
-
equipped
to integ
rate the

desired

change. This is not
an uncommon problem. If we look back throughout history, anytime a new piece of technology was
introduced into the education field, it was met with dissatisfaction. For example, “(f)
rom

a principal’s
publication in 1
815: Students today depend on paper too much. They don’t know how to write on a slate
without getting chalk dust all over themselves. They can’t clean a slate properly. What will they do
when they run out of paper”

(Collins & Halverson, 30
-
31)?

Another

interesting quote, from a more
recent time, “(f)rom
PTA Gazette
, 1941: Students today depend on these expensive fountain pens. They
can no longer write with a straight pen and nib.
[The]

parents must not allow them to wallow in such
luxury to the detrim
ent of learning how to cope in the real business world which is not so extravagant”
(Collins & Halverson, 30
-
31). If the community at large listened to naysayers every time a new piece of
technology came out, I’m sure we would still be stuck in the
Stone
Age
. Technology is a useful
instructional tool. However, professional development must be provided alongside to be successfully
implemented in today’s schools. The reluctant teacher I discussed earlier requires a sustained
3
-
year
commitment of 15
-
60 hou
rs annually (McKenzie, 1999).
Effective professional development requires an
average of $512 per teacher including time and planning
(Birman, Desimone, Porter, & Garet, 2000)
.

Grunwald

and Associates supports professional development, in stating “teachers have a vital role to play

at the intersection of technology and 21st century expertise


modeling their confidence with
technology, guiding young minds toward constructive educational
purposes and teaching students the
tried and new skills for college and career readiness in a competitive world”
(Associates, 2010)
.


Authentic Assessment

Authentic assessments,
those
assessments that are data
-
driven and f
ormat
ive, are a necessity in
today’s changing world
. Summative assessments, such as standardized tests, unit exams, and end
-
of
-
year
exams don’t measure much more than a student’s knowledge of filling in a bubble labeled A
-
F to match
their answer.
One goal of
the National Education Technology Plan is to “leverage the power of
USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

8


technology to measure what matters and use assessment
data for continuous improvement”

(NETP, 2010,
p. 25)
.
Summative assessments don’t measure the 21
st

Century Skills we desire to see in

students today.
President Obama addressed a group of citizens on March 10, 2009, and stated “(we need to) assess 21
st

Century Skills like critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, and entrepreneurship, and we can’t do
that with standardized assessm
ents”

(NETP, 2010, p. 33).

Unfortunately, it takes time to change policy,
funding structures, and assessments to align with the President’s vision. The National Education
Technology Plan brings up the idea of rubric
-
based assessments

(NETP, 2010)
. When
students are given
a rubric, they understand exactly how much work they need to do to get a desired score. Rubric
-
based
assessments also give students the benefit of completing their “assessment” over a period of time. One
major drawback to standardized
or summative assessments is the fact that it is a test that is given on one
day. What if, for example, a student didn’t feel well that day? Their grade on the assessment may be
much lower because they were running a fever or had a head cold. Does this g
rade accurately reflect the
student’s knowledge of the material? Not necessarily.
Does it accurately reflect the teacher’s ability to
teach the material? Not necessarily.
As a high school teacher, I contin
ually hear students say ‘I have

to
come to scho
ol to take the t
est, but then I
will go home,’

when they are not feeling well.
With authentic
or rubric
-
based assessments, this is not
as much of
a factor in the
ir

grade. Often, authentic assessments
take pla
ce over a period of time, so a ‘
bad day


for a

student doesn’t reflect negatively in their knowledge
of the material.

Another positive note for authentic assessments is that students can work together as a
group to enhance everyone’s knowledge of the material. As all educators know, teaching someo
ne how
to do something is the ultimate way to prove you know the material. Grouping struggling students with
higher
-
performing students can be beneficial for both members of the group.

Needs Assessment

Hartley et al., 2008 conducted a needs assessment o
f schools in Nevada. This report includes
statistics such as all teachers have access to at least one computer, 31% of teachers have access to a
mobile computer cart, and 23% have more than 3 computers in their classrooms (Hartley et al.,

2010
).
The repo
rt also indicates that technology has reached the classrooms, but has not reached students
(Hartley et al.,

20
08
).
This is one obstacle present that limits the effectiveness of technology use in
schools. Other obstacles include a mismatch of resources, s
uch as, having new technology, but not
enough bandwidth to support it (Hartley et al.,

2010
), ineffective professional develop
ment
(Hartley et al.,
2010
;

Ertmer & O
ttenbreit
-
Leftwich, 2010
), acce
ss to devices (NETP, 2010
), unclear expectations of
technology use, and broken technology. For example, in our class discussions, teachers report broken or
outdated equipment that is inefficient and ineffective for technology instruction and implementation.


USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

9


Conclusion

When

the steps I’ve outlined are fol
lowed,

research has shown that

the implementation of technology
throughout school districts in the United States
has

grow
n

tremendously
.
Grunwald and Associates show
“The more K

12 teachers use technology, the more they recognize and value its strong posi
tive effects on
student learning and engagement and its connection to 21st century skills

(Associates, 2010, p. np)
.

Within the next 5
-
7 years,
education will continue to face budgeting challenges, there will continue to be
a high turnover rate in schools, and students will continue to be challenging. However, the education
system in America is one of the best, and in order to continue this path,

we
will continue to
grow with the
needs of our students.
Some schools th
r
oughout the country have
already
taken this challenge and have
adopted radical changes throughout their system. This is a step in the right direction. While we cannot
take a ‘cook
ie cutter’ approach and apply what worked at one school

or district

to another school

or
district
, the same

general

steps have been applied at each of the schools that have
had a desire to
implement technology more efficiently
, and
im
provement

has been sho
wn
.

The impact to date, as
Grunwald and Associates found, is students have improved computer literacy and 21
st

century skills. The
survey findings suggest strong connections between technology use and 21
st

century skills.
(Associ
ates,
2010)
Implementation of technology can improve students’ attendance, behavior, assessment scores, and
graduation rates.

It is important to realize the road to improvement

may

include conducting needs
assessments and filling the needs, changing
from standardized assessments to authentic assessments,
improving professional development opportunities, and implementing 21
st

Century Skills instruction into
the core content areas to improve critical thinking and students’ problem
-
solving abilities
, and

finding
funding sources.









USING
MONEY IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES

10


References

(2008).
Fast Facts.

Washington, D.C.: Department of Education.

P21 Framework Definitions. (2009).
Partnership for 21st Century Skills
, 1
-
9.

Transforming American Education Learning Powered by Technology . (2010).
National Education
Technology Plan
, 1
-
50.

Associates, G. a. (2010).
Educators, technology, and 21st century skills: Dispelling five myths.

Minneapolis: Walden University, Richard W. R
iley Collge of Education.

Birman, B., Desimone, L., Porter, A., & Garet, M. (2000). Designing Professional Development That
Works.
Educational Leadership
, 28
-
33.

Collins, A., & Halverson, R. (2009).
Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digita
l
Revolution and Schooling in America.

New York: Teachers College Press.

Cradler, J., McNabb, M., Freeman, M., & Burchett, R. (2002). How Does Technology Influence Student
Learning?
Learning & Leading with Technology
, 46
-
56.

Cuban, L. (2003).
Oversold and
Underused: Computers in the Classroom.

Cambridge: Harvard
University Press.

Ertmer, P., & Ottenbreit
-
Leftwich, A. (2010). Teacher Technology Change: How Knowledge,
Confidence, Beliefs, and Culture Intersect.
Journal of Research on Technology
, 255
-
284.

Hart
ley, K., Strudler, N., & Schraw, G. (2008). Nevada Schools Educational Technology Needs
Assessment: Report to the Nevada Commission on Educational Technology & the Nevada. 1
-
47.

Kadel, R., Andrews, M., Bielefeldt, T., &

Goldmann, H. (2008). Technology and Student Achievement
-

The Indelible Link.
ISTE Policy Brief
, 1
-
16.

McKenzie, J. (1999).
Reaching the Reluctant Teacher
. Retrieved October 5, 2011, from From Now On:
http://www.fno.org/sum99/reluctant.html

Prensky, M. (2
005). Listen to the Natives.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
, 9
-
13.

Richtel, M. (2011, September 3). In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores.
The New York Times
, p. A1.

Rosen, A. (2011, September 19).
Why Technology Can’t Magically S
olve Education Problems
. Retrieved
October 4, 2011, from Change.edu: Rebooting for the New Talent Economy: http://www.change
-
edu.com/archives/362