Needs Assessment


Needs Assessment

The importance of technology in education has long been recognized by Grantsburg School District leadership. Over the last three years, Grantsburg School District staff and student use of technology increased significantly. To assist in quantifying progress and conducting a needs assessment, the District administered the 2011 Speak Up survey from Project Tomorrow in December of 2011. Within the last two years, the district schools have been aggressively moving to a 1:1 student/mobile device ratio. After reflecting on the technology plan from 2009-2011,  progress had been made in advancing technology in day-to-day operations. The three goals the district adopted were to 1.) improve educator proficiency with technology, 2.) incorporate the technology standards in the curriculum review cycle, and 3.) improve student proficiency with technology. 

The greatest movement the district made was in the first goal. Technology-centered in-services have been the focus our district professional development, especially in the last year. Although there is greater movement to be made, there are larger numbers of staff who have adopted technology-based instructional practices. Across all the district schools, all classrooms have installed an electronic whiteboard (Promethean or Smart). From this technology, multiple professional development opportunities were offered, from the basic operations to content creation. More teaching staff are using age and grade level appropriate technology to enhance and engage students. In the last year, grade level 1:1 programs have been implemented. The teaching staff has begun to receive training in applications to enhance curriculum, device management, and some content creation. As reported in the 2011 Speak Up survey,  77% of the teaching staff reported being an average (46%) to advanced (31%) user of technology as compared to their peers. Even though the majority of teaching staff believe they are average to advanced in using technology, the 23% of staff who reported being a beginning tech user is higher than the national average at 9%. It is also important to note that 96% of the staff reported effective implementation of instructional technology is important to student success in academics. Another point to consider with technology professional development is utilizing and designing content for classes using a gaming or simulation mode of delivery. According to the survey, 77% of grades 9-12, 81% of grades 6-8, and 76% of grades 4-5 have a gaming system in the home like a Xbox, Playstation, or Wii. The ownership of handheld video game devices held statistically similar to the gaming system statistics except for grades 9-12, which reported at 48%. Due to the rapid change of technology, it is imperative to continue the first goal into the next tech plan. As more teachers become proficient or advanced in technology use, technology in-services will focus on content creation using technology.

The second goal addressing incorporating the ISTE standards in the district's curriculum is ongoing. Curriculum is changing at the state level with the adoption of the Common Core standards. The district's curriculum review cycle is based on a six year cycle. In time, as each content area undergoes review, the ISTE standards will be addressed. The objective of the tech plan were not all fully met from the previous plan. While the presence of the ISTE standards in the curriculum and resources to implement the standards in the curriculum have been provided, district technology staff has not been fully included in the curriculum review process. This goal is established and will continue into the next tech plan.

The third goal from the previous tech plan was to improve student proficiency using technology. While it is assumed that students know how to use technology, it was found that students need additional instruction in multiple technology applications. Prior to launching the first phase of the district's 1:1 program, the 2011 Speak Up survey was administered. Students reported 72% feel they are average users of technology as compared to their classmates, while 22% believe they are advanced users. Students avidly use social media and other technologies to communicate and process information, however, their depth of knowledge in technologies like the MS Office Suite, using a Learning Management System (like Moodle), and netiquette are limited. While 75% or greater of students report using technology for traditional practices like email, access to class information, writing assignments, Internet research and creating slide shows, below national average percentages of students are using technology to listen to podcasts for class, post to blogs or wikis, use mobile applications for organization, and use social media for classroom applications. While these technologies can be used to enhance the district's curriculum, it is interesting to note that teachers, parents, and students all reported a concern regarding the amount of time students spend online. It is also interesting to note that there is a correlation between the teachers proficiency with technology and the students use of technology in the classroom. This goal will be continued into the next tech plan with an emphasis on improving student proficiency with tradtional technologies and social media applications.

A new goal to be considered would be to increase access to devices (iPad or Android tablet or laptop) by fully implementing a 1:1 program in the next three years.  According to the 2011 Speak Up survey, 93% of high school students, 87% of grade 6-8 students, and 88% of grade 4-5 students reported having a computer at home. The survey also reported 86% of grade 9-12 students, 74% of grade 6-8 students, and 81% of grade 4-5 student reported having access to the internet at home (either DSL/cable or dial-up). While the majority of students report having a computer with internet access in the home, the survey did not address the quality or age of the computer in the home. In order for the most efficient use of technology in the district, students must be able to have access to the same technology. It is important for the district to acknowledge that in any given grade level, anywhere from 25% or less of students (approximately 16 students per class) have access to a computer and/or internet in the home. Before considering a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program, it is important to note that district students report having access to a cell phone with no 3G access at 63% (9-12), 57% (6-8), and 25% (4-5). The survey reports that 34% of grades 9-12, 18% of grades 6-8, and 7% of grades 4-5 have access to a smartphone with internet access. Even through mobile device technology, access is still a critical issue. 

The school improvement and strategic plans for Grantsburg High School, Middle School, and Elementary/Primary Schools were updated in the 2011-2012 school year. The plans outline the path the district will take in the next three years. Each plan addresses how the schools will achieve an effective 1:1 program through planning, training, implementation, and evaluation. The strategic plans are linked to the tech plan.

Last updated on: 05/08/2012

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Joshua Watt,
May 8, 2012, 7:51 AM
ĉ
Joshua Watt,
May 8, 2012, 7:52 AM
ĉ
Joshua Watt,
May 8, 2012, 7:52 AM