The four pillars that must be included in a technology plan are: Infrastructure, software, hardware and the professional development (Cradler, 2013).
There are two basic categories that the software instruction and curriculum can be divided into:
Teaching and Learning Software Tools: the use of technology to improve the quality of education for the students as well as the teachers. Subscription-based electronic learning resources have enabled the teachers as well as the students to access more reliable and vast sources of information like they were never before able to do (Cradler, 2013).
Productivity Software Tools: the basic technology tools that have increased the usage of technology to the extent that it has changed the landscape of how work was done in the past and how it is being done today. Student information systems and the electronic gradin systems are an example of such tools (Cradler, 2013).
The most important thing when it comes to the use of technology even the most basic technology is to be able to understand hoe computer works in general. Therefore, only an individual who is literate with regards to the technology can make use of the productivity tools in an effective manner (Cradler, 2013).
Given below are some of the applications that are used in the productivity software:
word processing, e.g. Word, StarOffice
Graphics, e.g. Fireworks, PhotoShop, Gimp
e-mail, e.g. Novell GroupWise
Presentation, e.g. PowerPoint, StarOffice, SMART Notebook
Semantic mapping, e.g. Inspiration spreadsheet and graphing, e.g. Excel, StarOffice
Internet, e.g. browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and the expertise of "search" tools and evaluation methods
Database, e.g. Access, MySQL
Streaming, e.g. Podcasting
Electronic grading, e.g. Easy Grade Pro
Collaboration tools, e.g. Adobe Acrobat, Webinars, Adobe Connect, Ning
Web authoring, e.g. DreamWeaver, NVu, Contribute, PHP, CSS Desktop publishing, e.g. Publisher, InDesign (Cradler, 2013).
When the technology is used in order to learn and gain knowledge it is usually done is a manner that is in accordance with the different core curriculum practices and standards. Following are the learning tools that will be made use of by me in to facilitate the achievement of class goals:
Renaissance Learning: Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math, STAR Reading, STAR Math Study Island: improvement software that works on the concept of subscription-based learning and is used at many schools GALE and other library databases: subscription-based reference tools
SMART Notebook software and supplemental "Gallery"
Distance learning and credit recovery: PLATO Online and Cyber High Learning Environment
Inspiration concept mapping
The availability of extensive reference and instructional resources through ed1stop
Rosetta Stone language learning software: used mainly for the learners of English but used in World Languages as well (Cradler, 2013).
ISTE Foundation of Technology Literacy
A lot of efforts have been made by the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) to ensure that technology is made a part of our education system. ISTE is a national organization. The National Education Standards for Students/Teachers/Administrators have been created and altered by ISTE for a long time in order to ensure that technology plays a positive role in our education system (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002). http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=NETS
The curricular framework is provided by the "Technology Foundation Standards for All Students" regarding the level of expectation for the students from kindergarten to grade 12 (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
Mentioned below are the six areas according to which the required skills are formed (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002):
Technology research tools
Basic operations and concepts
Technology communication tools
Social ethical and human issues
Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools.
Technology productivity tools
These six areas are in various stages of implementation in various schools in the district. However, right now there exists a strong need for the administration of our school to realize the fact that in order to take full advantage of the technologies available to us we need to transform our learning practices in a way that they become more research -based and investigative as, doing this would increase the quality of education being provided to the students (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
Section Four: Software to Support Assessment
It was in 2006 that a lot District Initiatives were launched. Some of these initiatives are data-driven decision-making; student centred learning; Learning Communities (PLC) and research-based interventions. The work that was done by Richard DuFour helped in the modelling of the PLC process. The basic idea behind the development of this process was to increase the learning experiences of the students as well as the way that the knowledge is being communicated to the students by the teacher. Therefore, I will be integrating this process in my technology plan as; it is already in accordance with my goals of sharing the data regarding the students which is a very important part of this process (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
The current SASIxp system being used by the school will be replaced by Aeries, which will take effect on July 1, 2010. There are a lot of schools that are now using the electronic grading systems, in my opinion using Aeries will be very beneficial for my class as through it I will not only be able to do the grading online but the parents will be able to view the performance of their students on a regular basis too (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
Results Now is another feature of Aeries which will highlight not only the STAR students but the ones that lacked behind as well. The program can work on group of students or individual students as well. Therefore, with the help of this feature of Aeries I will be able to understand in a better manner which students need my help the most and what are the areas that I need to focus more upon (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
Easy Grade Pro-is the grading system that is currently being used by our school and it helps the teachers in not only grading the students online but they can also post the grade online which helps the students in finding out about their performance in a timely manner. This grading system will be replaced by Aeries' grading system ones it gets implemented in the school (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
Another technology that I will be taking help of in order to access the performance of students is Exam View. This is software that would allow me to create tests and quizzes according to the difficulty level that is appropriate for my class and the courses that will be taught to them. The test can be conducted on papers or electronically. However, electronic tests would need for me to arrange enough computers for the students present in the class which can be a tough thing to do (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
It is the strategic goal of XYZ to enhance the communication between the stakeholders. The Technology Audit being used by the school requires that the parents access the internet in order to get to know about the performance of their children in a timely manner. There are also many researches that have been conducted on the communication among the parents and the teachers which suggests that the timely communication among the parents and teachers improves the quality of education being given to the students and this also helps the parents and teachers in finding out how well the technology is being used by the students and to what extent are they benefiting from it and what else could be done to enhance the level of education (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
Section Five: Technology Ethics in the Classroom
The teachers in XYZ school are very strict about the policies when it comes to plagiarism and the parents as well as students are given guidelines regarding the actions that will be taken against them in case that they commit plagiarism (McKenzie, 1998). The students are told about the disadvantages of using someone else's work without giving them credit for it. However, there needs to be some software that would be able to observe the plagiarism being committed by the students and this software should be used from the smaller grade so that the children would learn it from the beginning to not commit plagiarism (McNabb et al., 1999).
I will be making use of such software to catch the plagiarism and I will explain the consequences of getting caught with plagiarism to the students beforehand so that they would understand what is at stake.
Section 6: A Reflective Essay
With the rapid growth in technology it has become very important for the schools to not only remain up-to-date but also ensure that the technology that they are implementing is accessible by the students and teachers whenever they need to use it (Valdez, 2013).