The “Technology Applications Inventory” was personally very affirming. Nearly all my responses were “yes” and I was amazed at how much I already do that fits the assessment! I still am unclear on some terminology such as the “vector graphic files” and “bit-mapped graphic files”. I have not done much in the area of virtual reality or simulations and am not sure how to set those up in the library. I have never before considered creating an “electronic evaluation tool or portfolio of my digital products. This will be on my “to do” list.
In contrast, the SETDA survey of our building was a much more formidable instrument. Since our building employs a Campus Curriculum Integration Technologist (CCIT) who works closely with teachers as well as with small groups of students, I asked her to help complete this survey. We have also held many conversations about the use of technology in our school and how we can positively impact instruction through the increased use of technology for, with and by our students (and their teachers!)
I found that we are not adequately collecting data regarding learning and use of technology by our students. Although computer classes do use learning.com to cover the Technology TEKS, and students are using software and programs such as Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math, Voyager, and Ticket to Read, no real monitoring of their proficiency with the technology is involved. Our teachers are concentrating technology efforts in their planning of reading, math and science and not so much in writing and social studies. The district recently contracted with Renzulli Learning and teachers are slowly coming up to speed with that program to individualize and differentiate instruction with all students. Student’s use of technology is high in tutorial and drill and practice, but low in creative endeavors and research. This is recently made extremely clear to me as I work this month with students who prepared projects for history fair. The woeful lack of standard research practice and their blatant misuse of online resources were appalling. My goal as a library media specialist will be to collaborate more closely with teachers to ensure that students use proper databases and online tools to complete their projects with appropriate ethical considerations.
Unfortunately, the survey also revealed that we are only just beginning to integrate and implement technology use with our teachers and much of the hardware is not readily available for wide student use. Additionally, students do not have wide access to individual communication through their own e-mail accounts, although we are actually correcting this now.
Finally, while I personally score high in my own technology knowledge and use, I find that many of our teachers and most of our students are well below standard in their understanding and use of technology tools and software and resources. Our elementary school is well ahead of many in providing the infrastructure, but needs to improve in how we collect data on its use. Our principal is supportive of technology use, but does not openly acknowledge, showcase or reward it. I am hoping that I along with the CCIT and our part-time network specialist as well as our computer teacher can help to develop a comprehensive vision for technology implementation in our school.