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SPS Online: Part II – Enabling the Homebound to Achieve Dr. Joseph P. Burke, Superintendent Donna Boivin, Director of Technology Dr. Deborah Gendreau,

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Presentation on theme: "SPS Online: Part II – Enabling the Homebound to Achieve Dr. Joseph P. Burke, Superintendent Donna Boivin, Director of Technology Dr. Deborah Gendreau,"— Presentation transcript:


2 SPS Online: Part II – Enabling the Homebound to Achieve Dr. Joseph P. Burke, Superintendent Donna Boivin, Director of Technology Dr. Deborah Gendreau, Supervisor of Technology

3 Demographics Springfield, Massachusetts –Third Largest Community in Massachusetts –Urban Community –~30 Square Miles –Population: ~156,000 –App. 25,800 students –App. 2,600 teachers (FTE) –46 schools: 30 Elementary Schools 6 Middle Schools 1 PK-7 School 1 PK-8 School 4 Alternative Campuses 4 High Schools –Also, 3 Charter Schools

4 The Challenge On any given day, 75 -100 students are absent or waiting for alternative placement The district has a moral and legal responsibility to provide education for all students on all school days NCLB AYP requirements need to be met It was difficult to get home tutors who were licensed in some academic areas Instructional interruptions that occur when students return to class after lengthy absences need to be minimized The Superintendent charged the Technology Department with finding a technology-enabled solution to these challenges

5 The Response Provide homebound students with access to the same high quality, rigorous, standards-based curriculum that other students participate in onsite; taught, monitored, and assessed online by licensed content area specialists.

6 The Background 2002 – 2003:Teachers learn to facilitate online PD coursework 2002 – 2003: Teachers facilitate online PD courses 2003 – 2004: Teachers learn to design online PD coursework 2003 – 2004: Teachers facilitate the online PD courses that they designed 2003 – 2004: Students participate in commercial online coursework 2003 - 2004: Graduate level AT/UD online course taught for teachers by Technology Department 2003 – 2004: Online course for administrators facilitated by Technology Department 2004 – 2005: One Teacher designs and teaches her Computer Networking and A+ Computer Maintenance classes online (pre-grant)

7 The Plan Leverage the knowledge and skills of the previously-trained online coursework facilitators/designers to create online course modules which are in complete alignment with the Springfield Public Schools Scope and Sequence and the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. The course modules would cover 4-6 weeks worth of work, be standards-based, rigorous, relevant, and appropriate. Utilize experts in Universal Design and Assistive Technology to ensure that the modules are accessible to all.

8 The Overview  Initial plan with goals and benchmarks  Apply for and receive grant funding  Online Facilitators  Online Designers  Part 1: Online Professional Development SPS-created Commercially available Part 2: Online Student Coursework SPS-created Commercially available Ongoing Evaluation New Component: Self-paced coursework

9 The Actions 2004 – 2005: Teachers learn to design online course modules for students 2004 – 2005: Teachers design and deliver online course modules for students 2004 – 2005: Teachers learn about Universal Design and Assistive Technology 2004 – 2005:Administrators trained by external evaluator to evaluate programs 2005 – 2006: New cadre of teachers selected; to be taught by teachers previously trained in online course design / facilitation

10 Training Our Teachers Various Academic Areas Various Schools Various Grade Levels District Study Group –Advise the introduction of online student coursework at all grade levels Intel “Teach to the Future” training –Using technology resources to promote staff and student success

11 Training Our Teachers (continued) Online Professional Development through EDC Laptops for Teacher Designers/Facilitators Use of handheld computers for data collection and personal organization Universal Design training to make learning accessible to all learners Other considerations

12 Additional Staff PD Additional Staff PD Administrators –Develop an understanding of online learning –Technology Leadership courses for administrators Teachers Not Involved in the Project –Develop an understanding of online learning –Various courses in academic areas

13 Student Coursework Two-pronged Strategy: Commercially-designed coursework –No design time necessary –No teacher time or stipends necessary –Course pre-tested Springfield Public Schools-designed coursework –Various academic areas –Various durations –Various start and end times –Designed to meet SPS student needs –Completely aligned to our SPS curriculum

14 “Homebound Student” Grant Units of study derived from our Academic Scope and Sequence documents All academic areas Technology “How-to” unit Videoconferencing Online textbooks Laptops for students High speed Internet access for students Evaluation Evaluation training

15 Year One Goal StrategiesResults Teachers develop the capacity to design and deliver online coursework through rigorous, supported course participation Provide PD for teachers in online course development 17 teachers participated in EDC/ ETLO online design courses Teachers consider UD and accessibility strategies when designing online coursework Provide PD for teachers in Universal Design and accessibility as they apply to Online coursework 20 staff Participated In UD/ Accessibility Teachers build the capacity to create online coursework by utilizing the skills learned, both during the course and after completion, to design online course modules, supported at first by the staff at EDC/ETLO, and then by each other and SPS administrative staff Design online course modules in, at least, the core content areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Foreign Language, for students in grades 8 and/or 9 Teachers created 27 modules in their areas of licensure: 12 modules in ELA, 2 in mathematics, 5 in technology, 3 in social studies, 3 in foreign language, and 2 in science Students access high-level, standards-based curriculum at their location in order to achieve at high levels Deliver coursework to students23 students participated in 5 online modules Participants not hampered by lack of access to computers Provide laptop computers for the teachers and students in the project as needed All participants utilized laptop computers SPS Administrators learn to effectively conduct program evaluation Provide SPS administrators with PD in collaborative grant evaluation 2 SPS administrators participated in PD; 2 more Participated in less in- depth Professional Development Report and evaluate our efforts, successes, and challenges in order to enable us to refine and enhance our work in Year 2 Procure credible evaluation by an outside Evaluator Report completed

16 “Homebound Student” Grant

17 One Teacher’s Experience Using Modules With Students Algebra One –Systems of Linear Equations Tested with Algebra One Honors Students during March and April 2005 Seven students completed the unit online.

18 “Homebound Student” Grant Poetry: A Voice in the Crowd Online Course for Springfield Public School Students English/Language Arts June 20, 2005 Recently, I had the pleasure of working collaboratively with another English teacher to present the online poetry course I had created for homebound students to students in a 9th grade class at the High School of Science & Technology. The teacher was very enthusiastic about trying an online course with his students and was eager to see how distance learning worked for the teacher and students. We used the mobile technology lab, and with his small class of ten students, had a laptop available for each student. Initially, I explained Blackboard and showed the students how to access and navigate the site. Some had very little technology experience but were eager to learn. Through the online course, they were able to access sites, read information, and post discussion responses, making them more adept at using the computer and the Internet. Students found it challenging to read the poems, develop responses, and complete the various activities. The experience made them active learners because they were not dependent upon the teacher to feed them information and explain it to them. They had to find the information by following directions and reading by themselves. Most of the students enjoyed the experience of taking an online course and are willing to try more courses in the future.

19 “Homebound Student” Grant Enabling the Homebound Student To Achieve Focus Group Report Enabling the Homebound Student To Achieve Grant Evaluation: Focus Group Report General:“Initially, I was overwhelmed … floundering around trying to find my way. But as the process went on, I got more and more excited. I found my focus, direction -- and everything fell together. I was actually disappointed at the end, once we got into the template, I didn’t want it to stop. Overwhelming at the beginning … but really a memorable experience.” Training:“You had three balls in the air. First you were learning how to upload the course – put it into blackboard. Then take the course, read, absorb, apply the content. Then turn around and develop a course – research, find sites. There should have been a course first on the ins and outs of blackboard … then a course about developing a course; then a third course to develop it. I could have worked every night until 11, that’s how difficult it was.” Course Development:“[We have to] make it as exciting for students as we can. Because a lot of what’s happening around the country, a lot of kids are getting into this sort of thing … in Florida there’s a lot of online work being done. It’s really fun to hear a kid get excited about doing it.” Study Group:“The study groups were really important because we all have varying amounts of intermediate computer skills … so we helped each other … shared a lot of tricks that way.” “These meetings were sort of like a security net. It’s wonderful, great to communicate on line. But to have someone sit there and tell you, show you – you get excited, you realize ‘This is what we can do.’ The human interaction, the socialization is very nearly as important as the work on line, or the work that gets processed alone in your basement or your office or your barcalounger.”

20 “Homebound Student” Grant Looking Back / Reflection / Challenges: Teachers reported the training component – learning how to design a module and designing one simultaneously – was very challenging. Teachers found the greatest challenge was learning to adapt their teaching styles to an online environment. The targeted student population is “mobile” and not always available for extended periods of time. High-speed Internet accessibility at student homes was an issue. The alignment of available modules to students’ current academic needs was not always possible.

21 “Homebound Student” Grant Looking Back / Reflection / Challenges (Cont’d): Study groups were an extremely valuable component of the program, although teachers would have liked them to be more focused. Teachers expressed concerns as they prepared to deliver courses, including – –How to hold students accountable in the on-line environment? – –Will students be ready, interested and motivated? – –How will awarding of credit be determined? – –How to efficiently identify and enroll appropriate students?

22 “Homebound Student” Grant Looking Forward / Planning: Establish a buddy system for new online instructors Select teachers with higher level technology skills Through collaboration with guidance counselors and academic directors, continue to refine the student selection process, and set policy for credit for modules Expand the number of modules in each academic area to allow more access to a wider audience

23 “Homebound Student” Grant Looking Forward / Planning (Cont’d): Continue the valuable study group format and plan a more focused agenda to meet teacher needs Design in-house professional development for Year Two that not only addresses teacher technology needs, but also the challenge of modifying teaching strategies to fit an online environment Plan ways to gather feedback from students participating in the online lessons Seek various solutions to the high-speed Internet accessibility issue Continue to work with UD / AT experts to ensure accessibility to all learners

24 State Standards Documents MA Recommended PK-12 Instructional Technology Standards MA Recommended Criteria for Distance Learning Courses Assistive Technology Guide for MA Schools MA Technology Self Assessment Tool MA Teacher Technology Use Survey

25 Thank you! Dr. Deborah Gendreau, Supervisor of Technology (413) 787-7125 Donna Boivin, Director of Technology (413) 787-6605 Springfield Public School website:


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