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ERIC Number: ED536301
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jul
Pages: 132
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Evaluation of the Texas Technology Immersion Pilot: Third-Year (2006-07) Traits of Higher Technology Immersion Schools and Teachers
Shapley, Kelly; Maloney, Catherine; Caranikas-Walker, Fanny; Sheehan, Daniel
Texas Center for Educational Research
The Technology Immersion Pilot (TIP), created by the Texas Legislature in 2003, called for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to establish a pilot project to "immerse" schools in technology by providing a wireless mobile computing device for each teacher and student, technology-based learning resources, training for teachers to integrate technology into the classroom, and support for effective technology use. The TEA has used federal Title II, Part D monies to fund Technology Immersion projects for high-need middle schools. Researchers are conducting a four-year investigation of the effects of Technology Immersion on schools, teachers, and students. The Texas Center for Educational Research is the TEA's primary partner for the evaluation that began in the 2004-05 school year and will continue through 2007-08. Given that TIP is a pilot project, one aspect of the research has centered on studying how the 21 treatment schools implemented the Technology Immersion model. As a way to gauge schools' progress, researchers developed quantitative measures of implementation fidelity (i.e., the extent to which a school implemented the prescribed components of Technology Immersion). Additionally, researchers have explored the nature of implementation through site visits conducted at middle schools on four occasions: fall 2004 (project initiation), spring 2005 (first year), spring 2006 (second year), and spring 2007 (third year). During site visits, the authors conducted interviews with district administrators, school principals, and technology leaders; focus groups and interviews with core-subject teachers; and focus groups with students. Structured conversations with educators and students solicited their views on project implementation and opinions about project effects on everyone involved. Evidence from the first two project years revealed that some schools struggled to implement the Technology Immersion model as designed, while other schools reached far higher levels of implementation. Thus, in the third year researchers investigated "why" some schools and teachers made notable progress toward creating technology-immersed schools and classrooms, while others had minimal success. Their study of third-year implementation was guided by two major research questions: (a) What are the differences between higher and lower Technology Immersion schools, and what factors explain variations in implementation; and (b) what are the differences between teachers who report higher and lower levels of Classroom Immersion, and what factors are associated with those differences? An overarching purpose of the study was the identification of traits of higher implementing schools and teachers that would provide information on effective implementation practices for other educators wanting to pursue Technology Immersion. Qualitative analyses provide new insights and advance their understanding of how schools reached higher levels of Technology Immersion, and how teachers created technology-immersed classrooms. Importantly, the authors find that it is not just the characteristics of schools or teachers that made the greatest difference, but consistent with the immersion model, it was the supportive conditions that advanced project goals. District and school leaders at higher Technology Immersion schools set the direction for school change and provided continuous supports that fostered higher levels of implementation. Foremost, leaders championed the benefits of Technology Immersion for students as the justification for arduous efforts aimed at school and classroom change. Notable also was the importance of continual outreach to parents who had to shoulder responsibility for individual laptops along with their children. Findings also point to the significance of teacher support for Technology Immersion, as teachers act as the gatekeepers to students' experiences with laptops. Teachers, including veterans, who worked in schools with sufficient technical support, extensive opportunities for professional development, encouragement and accountability for changed practices, collegial working environments, and consistent messages from leaders about the importance of immersion for students grew incrementally toward higher levels of Classroom Immersion over time. Moreover, the quality of school and classroom implementation was vitally important for students. Higher levels of implementation allowed students to use laptops more often for learning both within and outside of school, to use laptops for more varied and complex assignments and projects, and to use laptops for more intellectually rigorous schoolwork. Evidence suggests that these kinds of experiences improved the quality of students learning opportunities as well as their academic achievement, particularly for special populations such as English language learners, higher and lower achievers, and special education students. Many students also benefited personally through greater personal organization and responsibility and preparation for college and future employment. Appended are: (1) Measurement of Implementation Fidelity; and (2) Observation of Teaching and Learning. Individual chapters contain footnotes. (Contains 8 figures, 18 tables and 7 exhibits.
Texas Center for Educational Research. P.O. Box 679002, Austin, TX 78767. Tel: 800-580-8237; Tel: 512-467-3632; Fax: 512-467-3658; e-mail: tcer@tcer.org; Web site: http://www.tcer.org
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED); Texas Education Agency
Authoring Institution: Texas Center for Educational Research (TCER)
Identifiers - Location: Texas