Springfield Public School District 186
Springfield School District 186 has established a five-year plan that will increase the amount of technology in the classrooms. Additional technology and training to support the influx of computers must be focused and expand in a logical sequence. The plan prioritizes the grade level needs in the following order: middle school (5-8), high school, K-4. The rationale for this order is based on the fact that instructors at the 5-8 level have received the most in service training and are the furthest along with their technology skills and implementation. At the K-4 level the emphasis is on basic skills and core curriculum. The use of technology in the classroom, while beneficial, is less critical to the learning process at the K-4 level.
Springfield Public School District 186 has a long, proactive history of incorporating varied technologies as a component of the standard curriculum. The district's Technology Mission Statement reads: "To provide access to technology for all students, training for all teachers and administrators, and technical support for the instructional program. Technology should be an integral part of the regular instructional process rather than limited to drill and practice." The district's technology plan is actually an ongoing process and its evolution over time can be documented. In the paragraphs that follow, a summary of part of the district's five year technology plan, as it applies to the elementary students that I teach.
The plan calls for adding one Macintosh computer in every K-4 building and high school classroom and for adding two such computers in every 5-8 classroom in the first year of the plan. A total of $300 will be allocated for each of these computers for the purpose of purchasing software for each machine. By the end of five years the K-4 buildings will have a total of 4 computers per classroom, middle grades will have 6 per classroom and high schools will have 6 computers per classroom. In addition, buildings will receive TV/VCRs, laser disc players, printers and necessary equipment to display the computer monitor on a large screen television for whole class viewing. Each year of the five year plan, buildings will receive $10 per student for the purpose of purchasing software and peripherals. In addition, all buildings will be wired for computer networking, E-mail, Internet, and data sharing. Telephone systems will be installed as part of the wiring plan. The system will provided additional phone access in each instructional space.
To implement and support the influx of technology and the changing role of the teacher, additional staff allocations will be required. In addition to the current technical support staff and trainers, three new staff members would be hired. A technician will be added to support the repair and installation needs, two trainers will be hired to focus on the needs of (1) secretarial and administrative needs and (2) to assist in the ongoing training of the classroom teacher. Repair and maintenance funds will be needed in proportion to the increase in equipment.
Technology is constantly changing. The hardware that is in place today will be out of date in a few years. This technology plan adds hardware to the classroom in regular increments, rather that a single purchase. This allows current technology to be added to the classroom. To continue to stay a leader in instructional technology funding for hardware and support will need to be provided on a consistent, regular basis.
With the increased amounts of technology entering the buildings, it becomes imperative that the district continue to provide training and in service opportunities for the classroom instructors. Teachers must be allowed to be learners involved in the changing role of technology in the classroom. Teachers must be aware of new and expanding technologies and they must have an opportunity to use these technologies so as to learn to integrate them into their classrooms. They need time, support, and ongoing training. Ongoing technology training in Springfield School District 186 must include:
1. In service opportunities during the day.
2. After school classes on specific topics.
3. Facilitator meetings.
4. Elementary Technology Resource Guide.
5. Opportunity for "just in time training".
6. Summer training.
7. Project LINCOL'N training
Springfield School District has a long, proactive history of incorporation varied technologies as a component of the standard curriculum. The district's technology mission statement reads: "To provide access to technology for all students, training for all teachers and administrators, and technical support for the instructional program. Technology should be an integral part of the regular instructional process rather than limited to drill and practice." The district's technology plan is actually an ongoing process and its evolution over time can be documented.
The Springfield Public School District is challenged to meet the needs of its diverse student population. The learning needs of all students are universal. Students develop learning and life skills which will allow them not only to meet state goals for learning, but to successfully compete in the global work force of the information and technology age of the 21st century.
We are at a point in the history of education when meaningful and productive change is possible and the possibility for that change is directly linked to the incorporation of technology in the classroom. Technology used to support the curriculum enables all students to learn in a problem-solving environment using the tools that will be available to them later in their careers. Classrooms will revolve around student-centered instruction, delivered by teams of teachers working together on units which connect the academics and make use of the latest in technology. Technology can provide students with writing and editing tools, data collection and analysis tools, and a vast range of multimedia tools for organizing and publishing final documents.
A classroom which includes technology tools stimulates learning so that students become interested and motivated. The thoughtful and creative use of technology can greatly improve both the quality of the curriculum and the quality of students' learning. Students working in cooperative groups are active and engaged learners who gather and synthesize information and learn to construct their own knowledge and understanding through interaction and support. Students who have access to technology tools and the opportunity to utilize them are allowed the chance to fine-tune their communication and presentation skills.
Ridgely Elementary School
Ridgely Elementary School does not have a formal technology plan. The school has had a technology committee in place for three years. Through their hard work and positive leadership, the use of technology at Ridgely has made significant advances. This year's informal plan was developed by our building technology trainer and was a series of workshops that she led throughout the year. Topics of the workshops included, "Netscape", "Quick Cam", and "Slide Shows". The classroom teachers decided by grade level on technology projects for the 1997-1998 school year. These projects are outlined below.
The wiring process for networking, E-mail, Internet, and data sharing began in May 1998. Ridgely has a computer and a wall-mounted TV/VCR in each classroom, including the computer lab. In my classroom at Ridgely Elementary School, I have a Macintosh LC575 and a wall-mounted TV/VCR.
Pleasant Hill Elementary School
The technology plan for Pleasant Hill for the 1997-1998 school year states: "To improve the technology at Pleasant Hill in order to keep up with current trends and practices that affect our students. With this technology we will foster creativity, learning and excitement in the changing technology of our world". Below are listed the goals:
1. To have building wired for Internet and E-mail by the end of the 1997-1998 school year.
2. To have mounted televisions/VCRs in all classrooms and library.
3. To have all school personnel familiar with LTV, Quick Cam, scanner and Internet.
4. To have library computer program functional.
5. To have at least one Macintosh computer in each classroom and in the special and resource rooms.
6. To have a telephone in each classroom.
7. To add more and varied projects to the school web page.
Currently in process:
*Televisions/VCRs installed in classrooms.
*Teachers trained in use of Quick Cam, scanner, district programs, E-mail, Netscape, etc.
*PTO taking an active part in supporting and purchasing new technology of the school.
Items to acquire to further technology at Pleasant Hill
* More LTV boxes (at least 2 downstairs and 1 upstairs)
*Video cards in computers
*Macs for every teacher
*TV/VCR for library
*Telephones in classrooms
*Software-"At Ease", "Kid Pix"
*Cartridges for StyleWriters
*CD/Cassette/Radio boom boxes for classrooms
*E-mate personal computers for students, parents, and staff to check out.
*Fax machine for office
*Stools to replace chairs in computer lab
I do not have a computer in my classroom at Pleasant Hill. The staff is quite willing to share their computers whenever I need to use them. Whenever I need to use a TV/VCR, I must check it out, as it is used by several teachers. This TV/VCR is on a cart.
Ways to Improve My Classroom's Use of Technology
Even though the technology available to me as a music specialist is limited, I have used various computer programs to enhance my music lessons. The absence of a computer in my classroom at Pleasant Hill means that I must plan in advance when my lesson plans include using a computer. Often I have held music class in the teacher's classroom to avoid having to borrow a computer and television so that all the students can view the information from the lesson. I would like to see the memory upgraded on the computer that I have in my room at Ridgely. Having an LTV in my room would eliminate the need to borrow one. Ideally, I would like to have at least two computers in my classroom. One would be used for class viewing on the television. The second computer would be used for enrichment and remediation purposes. Out district has a high mobility rate and I frequently get students in my class who aren't "on the same page" as the rest of the class. Using the computer to remediate these students and catch them up with the rest of the class would be an essential component that is currently missing in my classroom. Another improvement to increasing the use of technology in the music classroom would be the addition of an ink-jet or laser printer.
Music software exists minimally in the music classrooms in District 186. The Fine Arts Department has purchased basic software/CD-ROMs. There has been no inservice training pertaining to using it in the classroom. I would recommend that more software/CD-ROMs be purchased for use throughout the district. I have sent a complete list of software/CD-ROMs that should be purchased before the beginning of the 1998-1999 school year to the Program Liaison for Fine Arts in District 186. These include composing programs, interactive programs, and suggestions for enrichment software.
Several keyboards were recently purchased for the Fine Arts Department. Many of them have MIDI capabilities. These are to be placed in the high schools, middle schools, and 5th and 6th grade centers in our district. If the music teachers in those schools are not using them, then they can be loaned to elementary schools. I would also recommend more be purchased for use in the elementary classrooms.
The Ideal Music Classroom
The applications shared here are listed from the most simple to the most complex. This is a step-by-step progression for integrating technology in music education.
Computer and Electronic Keyboard: With a MIDI keyboard and computer, the teacher can purchase and create sequences and recordings using the computer. These sequences can be used for class demonstration or for accompaniments for the classroom. Using notation software and the computer and MIDI can allow for compositions to be written by the teacher and students.
Connecting the Computer to a Large Display Screen: The computer can be connected to a large screen television to show computer images to the entire class. Once the large display has been added to the classroom the teacher can use computer-assisted instruction software, CD-ROMs, and other instructional software as a demonstration medium for students. The use of computer music games can be fun and educational, both as a classroom activity and for individual student use. Also, notation programs can be displayed for students, and teachers and/or students can perform live or in "real time" and watch the computer create the notation.
Multiple Computers Stations for Student Use: The computer stations could be used as a drill and practice device to help students reinforce concepts being learned in the classroom or to challenge students in new areas. Stereo headphones would be necessary for students to work independently.
Use of the School Computer Lab: Many schools have one or more computer labs located within the building. These labs are traditionally used by the major subjects teachers for math, science, and language arts. It is possible to use the school computer lab with a music class, provided software is made available. The advantage of using the computer lab is that students can work independently at their own rate. Another activity that can be explored in the computer lab is composing music using a music notation program. Music can be created in the lab and then performed on the MIDI set up back in the music room.
An Electronic Keyboard Lab in the Music Room: One of the most powerful ways to integrate technology in the music classroom is to purchase a complete electronic keyboard lab for the music classroom. In this manner every student in the class can work hands-on. This is an expensive proposition and requires sufficient space to house keyboards and carts. Students can use the electronic keyboard lab to learn basic piano skills, experiment with the many timbres available on the keyboard and begin to practice with a sequencer and record their own original music. Once the keyboard lab is installed, a single computer connected to the teacher's station can provide a tool for the teacher to create accompaniments for the songs and compositions being learned in the lab.
Installing a Computer and Keyboard Lab in the Music Room: The next step after procuring a keyboard lab is to install computers at each station. Obviously, this is the most expensive option. A music technology lab can be the ideal place to try to turn the non-performer on to music. A computer and keyboard lab can be the ideal place to encourage all students to participate in music. Enhancements for established labs are sound-mixing networks (so that teachers can listen to just one workstation through headphones or allow any workstation to be amplified for the whole room to hear) and network screen-sharing software (so that the teacher's monitor can be displayed on all of the students' monitors).
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Updated: June 19, 1998