School Evaluation Summary

This project was a very good learning experience for me. The school I chose to survey is a virtual school. Since it is a virtual school, it is dependent on technology. The survey process helped me understand what procedures are used in the technology decision making process.

I started by using the Maturity Model Benchmarks to formulate questions that I would use in interviews and teacher surveys. I enjoyed interviewing a school board member, principal, and vice principal. I learned a lot about how and why decisions are made about the technology for the school. Even though each interviewee had their own perspectives, they all had a clear vision of where the school is technologically and where it is going in the future.

The surveys completed by the teachers helped me understand their perspective about technology used for online teaching. They use technology to communicate, conduct synchronous lessons, monitor progress, access grade books, grade student work, and provide interventions. At times, it can seem overwhelming especially the first year being an online teacher in a K-12 school.

I used the information I gathered in the interviews and the surveys and used them to rank the schools technology use using the Maturity Model Benchmarks.


RSS Feeds Assignment


RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a format used to deliver web content that is updated regularly. RSS allows people to stay up to date on the news and blogs they view often. A RSS reader is used to subscribe to feeds of interest.  For my RSS feeds, I am using Google Reader. Here is a link of the teaching resources bundle I created.

RSS feeds can be beneficial in the educational environment. I might use this with my students when they are doing research for a project. I could create a bundle for the topic they will be researching and share it with my students. When students go to the link I provide, it will bring them up to date articles they can use for their research.

Another way I could use RSS feeds with my class is with student portfolios. Students could create a blog to post their written assignments. After their blogs are created, I would create a bundle of the all my students’ blog pages so they would be easy to access from one place. I would be updated when they post a new assignment, and they would have a portfolio of their work for the school year.

I also thought that I could create a blog page for parents of students in my class to keep them up to date on school and class activities. Since I did not know the benefit of RSS feeds until completing this assignment, I would send parents a document explaining RSS feeds and how to use it.

Digital Inequality Assignment

Digital divide refers the gap between people who have access to technology and those who do not. As this gap closes, digital inequality becomes a bigger issue. Digital inequality refers to factors that relate to technology use. There are many people that have out of date technology and software, inadequate internet speed, or the lack of skills needed to use the technology effectively. In our society today, we use the internet to apply for jobs, apply for benefits, and network with others. Digital inequality is something I did not think about until this project. This assignment helped me realize the need of digital equality. Little things I take for granted such as my computer, internet connection, and smart phone are tools I use daily that many people are not familiar with.

The digital inequality assignment was a group project. It was nice to work with others on this project. We had people from all over the world working together. For this project, we needed to provide the State Superintendent of Public Education information on seven different options to address digital inequality in the state. We chose to use the state of Arizona for our project since it has a diverse population. I live in Arizona and did not know that recently, Arizona Public Computer Centers project spent approximately $1,600,000 to increase the number of computers in Arizona public libraries. This project brought more than 1,000 computers to the public libraries in Arizona. This program was designed to help citizens that have no access to computers or the internet.

For this assignment, we used Google slides to create our presentation. This is a great way to collaborate on slides with others. You can see what changes have been made by each team member and you can send an email to the group from the presentation.

Zotero Library Assignment

Google Scholar and Albertson’s Library are very useful tools to use for online research. Google scholar has large database of resources. The nice thing about Google Scholar is that I can set it up to link to the Boise State Library. This saves me a step when I need to find the full article. I can also set up email alerts in Google Scholar for my research topics.  The feature I liked best in the Albertson’s Library is that I can filter search results to show only peer reviewed articles. Both Google Scholar and Alberson’s Library were easy to navigate.

Zotero is a tool used for online research. Articles can be saved in folders in Zotero. The folders are very helpful to keep research topics organized. The best part about this program is that it is a citation manager that can be used to cite references. I found that even though I set my Zotero citing to APA, I need to double check the format. There were a couple of things that I needed to change in the formatting that was created from Zotero.  I am grateful that Shannon pointed this out to me so I could make my corrections.

I think this tool will be useful for me when I am conducting research but I don’t think this will be useful for me to use with my students in the elementary level.

For this assignment, I researched effectiveness of technology in education. My references are below.

Giovanni, S., Berger, D., Saw, A., & Mary, J. (2011). Effectiveness of computer-assisted instruction in statistics: A meta-analysis. Review of Educational Research, 81(1), 97-127.

Heinecke, W. F., Milman, N.B., Washington, L.A., & Blasi, L. (2002). New directions in the evaluation of the effectiveness of educational technology. Computers in the Schools, 18(2-3), 97-110.

Lu, J., & Zhang, Z. (2012). Understanding the effectiveness of online peer assessment: A path model. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 46(3), 313-333.

Thomas, M, & Hofmeister, D. (2002). Assessing the effectiveness of technology integration: Message boards for strengthening literacy. Computers & Education, 38(1-3), 233-240.

Watson, S. L., & Watson, W. R. (2011). The role of technology and computer-based instruction in a disadvantaged alternative school’s culture of learning. Computers in the Schools, 28(1), 39-55.

Learning Log Assignment

I am using WordPress for my Learning Log. This was a new program for me so I had to take some time to play around with it in order to learn how to use it. I am still finding new things each time I open it up. This has been a great learning experience.

WordPress is a great program to use for this assignment because I can post the artifacts I create in different classes in one place. The Tag Cloud widget makes it easy to sort the posted artifacts. This is a great way to organize and reflect on my learning.