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Instructor for a Day – Assignment 1 Michel Lacoursiere University of British Columbia – ETEC 520 512

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Instructor for a Day â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Assignment 1 One of the essential purposes of education is to help students to live, learn and work in a constantly changing world. For better or worse, our modern world has becoming increasingly reliant on internet and communications technologies (ICTs). As such, part of the responsibility of modern public educators is to support students as they learn and work with technology (Sinclair 2006). Technology changes at a blistering pace and it is difficult to predict which technologies will prove to have staying power. As Bates (2000) describes, it is thought that technology can improve student learning, increasing flexibility and developing the necessary information technology skills in students, all factors that are of concern for most public educators. With this in mind a group of five secondary teachers, a librarian and vice principal began an inquiry process to look into technology at their public school, Windermere Secondary, in Vancouver, BC. Being one of the teachers in this inquiry group the author of this assignment will draw on some of the preliminary findings made over the six inquiry meetings had by this group in the spring of 2010. With these observations as a basis and relevant literature as support the following paper will outline the context, environment, vision and implications of a new technology plan for Windermere Secondary School. The vision will focus on an e-learning strategy to extend across all departments and endeavour to improve learning for students while preparing them for a life with technology while enabling new forms of instruction and organization for teachers and support staff. Context Institution The context of this vision is a public secondary school located in Vancouver, BC called Windermere Secondary School. The school has over 1250 enrolled students from grades 8 to 12 and offers British Columbia Ministry of Education approved secondary courses, as well as special


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programs in leadership, visual and performing arts. There is no organization or plan in place for technology at the school although school administration is in support of developing new plans and investing funds available in the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s technology. Students The students at Windermere Secondary are public school students between the ages of 12 and 19. The students are representative of the multicultural population of Vancouver and most students come from middle class families in the immediate neighborhood of the school. Students are motivated to attend Windermere to obtain a high school diploma and attend post-secondary institutions or join the workforce. Faculty and Staff Windermere Secondary currently has about 80 certified teachers, 20 support staff, three administrators and one computer technician. The computer technician spreads his hours over Windermere and another secondary school and he is responsible for computer hardware, software and the local area network of the school. The technology skill level among educational staff ranges greatly with roughly ten percent of teachers using e-learning tools in the form of classroom aids such as projectors, tablets and wireless mice to control slideware, deliver written notes, simulations and videos. Most of the teachers using technology daily are those teaching math, science of technology studies. Roughly five percent of teachers have a class website of some form be it a freely hosted blog or website. Additionally, two members of the staff use the Moodle course management system (CMS) to deliver course content, notes, grades and facilitate another level of communication among students, teachers and parents. The teachers in general have shown interest in educational technologies with many teachers requesting tablet computers and some unified online place to put announcements, course material, etc. Environmental Scan


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Internal Factors At the school level there are many aspects that will both help and a few that may hinder the development of a teaching plan and the implementation of these new technology goals. In terms of internal factors that may hold back these efforts the main concern is the disparity among teaching staff especially in regard of their own technology skills and goals. Not all teachers wish to use technology-based classroom aids or deliver material online nor will they be required to but the goal is to support any efforts they make in this area. One factor that may prove the most important in the following five years is the current technology at Windermere. Winderemere Secondary, unlike some other schools in the district has been actively funding new hardware for the school over the past 10 years and has developed a sound technology basis from which to build a new system of e-learning around. The school has three up-to-date computer labs each seating over 30 students as well as numerous computers for administration and teacher use located in classrooms and offices. A critical aspect of this new technology vision will be an online course management system and the school has already invested in a new website and has been actively developing it into a strong online communication and information portal for the school. With full support from the computer technician and administration being in full agreement with the proposed efforts and actions Windermere is a good position internally to move forward with this vision. External Factors Most of the external factors that may serve to limit future technology projects at Windermere are related to the Vancouver School Boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s current policies and financial standing. Similar to the findings of Zemsky and Massey (2004), three major areas of concern for e-learning are institutional priority, departmental support and budgetary priority. In terms of policies, the inquiry team has already encountered and discussed some potential actions which would not be


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approved at the district level due to current policies. A school-based wireless network and the implementation of a Moodle site on the district server were identified as actions the district would not assist us on. The district staff did offer to purchase and install a small wireless system to try in one classroom to test wireless in the district but no concrete details were offered and it is unclear how this will play out in the e-learning strategy at Winderemere. It seems at the district level there is currently opposition to the type of wireless network Windermere hopes to offer its staff and students but it seems they may change or consider changing this policy in the next few years based the demos they are hoping to conduct.

Of utmost concern currently in this district is the current budgetary deficit and the resulting fallout of budget cuts. With many teachers in the district being laid off and proposed deficits for years to come investment in technology can easily be viewed as an unwarranted cost and not entirely prudent from a budgetary standpoint. Vision This vision will be used to guide future school-based decisions concerning technology at Windermere Secondary. Ultimately the e-learning vision for Windermere Secondary involves making technology and e-learning institutional and professional focal points for the next five years. By developing a core group of educators supported by administration and the computer technician the goal is to improve student access to computers in the school while providing teachers with new technology-related classroom aids and a course management system to deliver class material and information online. Coupled with these tangible goals of reorganization and investing in new hardware will be an effort to support teachers in their use of technology. Similar to the Collège Boréal ‘tech-coach” scheme described by Bates (2000) the goal here is to support academic staff in their efforts to teach with technology and infuse available technologies into their


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lessons. By helping teachers develop in their computer literacy they will be in a better position to do the same for their students and utilize some of the benefits such technologies can offer the classroom. Rationale Short Term Actions Revitalize Technology and Professional Development Committees -

Most important action, currently the professional development committee has two regular members and many some additional staff who help this committee when needed. The technology Inquiry committee which was recently formed concluded that his is of paramount importance. In order to proceed with any vision.

Webmaster and School Site Organization

Focus on Freeware Technologies, open source and Moodle Server

Long Term Actions Source material must be documented in the body of the paper by citing the authors and dates of the sources. The Ultimately Windermere hopes to move past wave 1 of ICT to increased use of computers and eventually make use of all the affordances such technology can offer as described by Bereiter and Scardamalia (2006). Implications Student Changes ď&#x201A;ˇ How will it change the way students study in the program? As Zemsky and Massey (2004) explain, it is not enough just to build an e-learning system and expect it to work and be used, such endeavours by institutions require support for both


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students and teachers. This major assumption could lead to any inIndeed this is the direction that Windermere hopes to proceed with a clear plan at the school level, with full cooperation at the district level. Staff Changes  How will your vision affect the role and work of a professor, instructor, trainer, etc? We hope that the increased availability of e-learning tools, classroom aids such as tablets, projectors and better internet and computer access will not only improve student learning and increase computer literacy among students but also Zemsky and Massey (2004) explain two critical assumptions in terms of e-learning technologies that are crucial to consider: Institutional Changes  What changes will be necessary to implement your vision?  What institutional changes will be necessary to implement the vision?


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References Bates, A.W. (2000). Managing Technological Change: Strategies for College and University Leaders. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Baraniuk, R.G. (2008). Challenges and Opportunities for the Open Education Movement: A Connexions Case Study. In T. Liyoshi & M.S.V. Kumar (Eds.). Opening Up Education (pp. 229-246). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Bereiter, C. & Scardamalia, M. (2006). Catching the Third ICT Wave. Queen’s University Education Letter, pp. 1-3. Bullen, M. & Janes, D.P. (2007). Preface. In M. Bullen & D.P. Janes (Eds.) Making the Transition to E-Learning: Strategies and Issues, pp. vii-xvi, Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing. Kelly, O. (2007). Moving to Blended Delivery in a Polytechnic: Shifting the Mindset of Faculty and Institutions. In M. Bullen and D.P. Janes (Eds.), Making the Transition to E-Learning: Strategies and Issues, pp. 33-46, Hershey, PA: Information Science Publishing. Sangrà, A.,Guardia, L., & González-Sanmamed, M. (2007). Educational Design as a Key Issue in Planning for Quality Improvement. In M. Bullen & D.P. Janes (Eds.) Making the Transition to E-Learning: Strategies and Issues, pp. 284-299. Hershey, Pa: Information Science Publishing. Sinclair, G., McClaren, M., & Griffin, M. (2006). E-Learning & Beyond. Zemsky, R. & Massy, W.F. (2004). Thwarted Innovation: What Happened to E-Learning and Why. (pp. 1-6).



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