“Technology In Education Within The Houston Independent School District” Jeanette Boleware April 11, 2010 Session: March-10 Instructor, Mario Missakian I: Definition Technology education is a study of technology, which provides an opportunity for students to learn about the processes and knowledge related to technology. It covers the human ability to shape and change the physical world to meet needs, by manipulating materials and tools with techniques. The ultimate goal is to teach the knowledge and techniques to develop technological literacy which is accomplished by bringing laboratory activities to students.
Technology education is an innovative approach to technology. Educational Technology is sometimes referred to as e-learning, instructional technology and learning technology. Technology is used to speak specifically about digital computer technology and to support the learning process. It is concerned with technology as it impacts upon the learning process in delivering learning materials, facilitating communication and providing assessment and feedback. In addition, technology is used widely in the administration and management of education records, procurement, marketing, finance and construction.
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Technology can benefit traditional, open and distance learning models, which allows for a blended learning experience custom-made to fit each student’s needs. A virtual school describes an institution that teaches courses entirely or primarily through online methods. Though there are tens of thousands of commercial and non-accredited courses available online, the term “virtual school” is generally reserved for accredited schools that teach a full-time course of instruction designed to lead to graduate.
Virtual public and private schools serving every grade level may decide to pursue accreditation through various regional and national organizations. Accredited schools must meet rigorous standards as defined by the issuing organization and are designed to insure that students are receiving the highest quality instruction and education. Examples of organizations that issue school accreditation are Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges and Northwest Association of Accredited Schools. All student services are conducted through Internet technology.
The virtual schools differ/contrasts from the traditional school through the physical media that links administrators, teachers and students and is an alliance of public distance learning schools. Many states in the United States have their own virtual school, and many of them have students numbering in the thousands. II: Brief Background The Houston Independent School District (HISD) has one of the most ambitious virtual-school programs in the nation. HISD has been a leader in online education since it launched the district’s Virtual School program in 2000.
This innovative approach to education enables two-way, interactive teaching and learning to happen anywhere, anytime, and for any student. Groups of HISD principals have seen that program in action and come away impressed with its success and adaptability to HISD’s vision and needs. The district began the program by offering more than 50 students the opportunity to enroll in a full course online and tuition free through the Texas Education Agency (TEA). This initiative was called the electronic course program or eCP. The students that participated in the program were exempt from the per course, per semester fee of $200.
The eCP (through HISD) is open to any student who lives within the district boundaries, was not suspended/expelled from his or her zoned campus, and is not currently enrolled in any other public, private, charter, or parochial school. Students in grades 9 through 12 can take up to a full course load (in subjects such as algebra, economics, geometry, and world history) without having to pay tuition. Virtual School Project Manager Mark Grubb stated that the eCP is a great program for students’ who are homebound, in the hospital, home schooled, or looking for an alternative education.
This gave students additional option for getting ahead or keeping up with their studies outside of the traditional classroom environment. HISD’s enrollment was limited to a maximum of 50 students, and young people that were interested were encouraged immediately apply. Online courses are not for everyone, and students had to complete the survey on the Virtual School Web site entitled “Is online learning right for me? ” before they could apply to the eCP program III: Current Business Issues Technology education allows learners to explore a variety of activities related to many areas of marsupial endeavors.
Learners can develop problem solving strategies and work habits that will be useful in almost any career and or occupation. Learners should develop a greater appreciation for the work of craft workers and the skill required of that work. Within the scope of this educational program is the effort to develop “soft skills” within the learner, as well as an opportunity for the learner to see how systems work together and the chance to put much of the academic class instruction to work in an applied way. HISD’s Virtual schooling has grown and is now available for students who wish to complete courses online. Visit www. houstonisd. org/VS) HISD’s own Virtual School offers a full academic year of tuition-based online core courses for grades 9–12. Students are required to have access to a computer and the Internet. Students in other cities, as well as homebound or homeschooled students have the opportunity to register to take online courses through this program. At one of HISD schools, Scarborough High School, the Advanced Virtual Academy combines regular classes with virtual courses through a special arrangement with Penn Foster and HISD’s Virtual School.
This Academy requires regular attendance from students, but offers them a more flexible high-school schedule. In addition, the Texas Connections Academy at Houston is part of a free, statewide virtual-school program serving grades 3–8. Students receive free learning materials, textbooks and support from Texas-certified teachers. Eligible students are also given the opportunity to obtain a loaner computer and a subsidy for Internet service. Research suggests that social and promotion are not appropriate strategies for students who are not meeting high academic standards.
Students who are promoted without regard to their achievement (social promotion) tend to fall even further behind their classmates as they move through school, and those who do not dropout usually finish without having the knowledge and skills expected of high school graduates. At the same time, research shows that holding students back to repeat a grade is ineffective especially when done without changing instructional strategies or applying documented successful interventions.
The achievement of retained students, after repeating a grade, still lags behind the achievement of their peers, and retention also greatly increases the likelihood that a student will drop out of school. Being held back twice makes dropping out a virtual certainty. Retention disproportionately affects minority and economically disadvantaged students. IV: Proposed Solution Quality assurance in e-learning is a growing interest because of today proliferation of e-learning products, most addressed to continuing education, distance learning, but also for students in schools and universities.
There are results of research projects that most significant objective is to achieve a better quality management of all aspects, including e-learning, is through an advanced web-based, multi-agent, knowledge management system. Communication can be streamlined by utilizing Bluebeam PDF Revu as a versatile solution for educational institutions. PDF creation, markup and editing features are easy to use for novice users and advanced editing options meet the needs of power users. MS Office documents are easily converted to PDF documents with the click of a button or in a batch.
PDF editing and markup features support efforts to reduce paper usage and overall operating costs. Tablet PC users benefit from added features for writing comments, highlighting, and adding text to PDFs with the ease of a tablet pen. See why Bluebeam is the ideal PDF solution for your campus. V: Recommendations The proposed solutions have advanced functions for extracting the quality indicators from the district’s data base, online analysis of indicators’ values and for recommending the suitable measures in order to adjust inappropriate values of individual indicators.
There are advantages for utilizing Bluebeam PDF Revu, such as: Students can: • Easily take notes on PDFs during class with laptops or tablet PCs • Convert papers and assignments to PDF for added security before emailing them to professors • Read, highlight and add notes to course materials in PDF Educators can: • Convert lecture notes and handouts to PDF and upload on class web pages or email to students • Receive assignments in PDF and add markups electronically • Convert lecture slides to PDF and markup during class • Copy and paste text and images from PDFs when creating lecture slides
Educational Institutions can: • Reduce costs from printing, faxing, scanning, and shipping paper documents and drawings • Improve communication between students and professors or engineers and clients, by offering a digital alternative for communication • Simplify software maintenance by using a multi-purpose software product that satisfies the needs of an entire academic community The program should offer learning coaches, excellent teaching and support for each student. Enrollment counselors should be available to guide students through the registration, placement and enrollment process.
Assign a certified teacher to each student and will direct the learning coach with daily instructions. In some instances the learning coaches could be the parents of the students. A parent or learning coach will facilitate the progress of the student through daily lessons. In K-12 situations each student is typically assigned to one teacher who will manage an Individualized Learning Plan, monitors progress, and focus on each student’s individual problem areas. Communication is effective because of teacher, student relationships via e-mail, telephone, and online web meetings.
Several virtual schools in today’s society are descendents of correspondence schools. There are Virtual Schools located all over the world. The schools offer computer labs where students can complete their assignments if necessary. Virtual Schools offer students positive options to consider rather than dropping out. In addition, to computers, classes can also be accessed through television. My first experience of a television class was awesome. Algebra, really had me struggling, so I decided to enroll in a class that offered the course via VHS.
Being a visual individual, needless to say my fears of algebra were conquered. This was during the late 1980’s and we’ve come a long way since then through technology. In the beginning my thoughts were, okay, “what have you gotten yourself into? ” About a week into the course, I knew that it was just a matter of time before online classes would become a trend. The ideal classroom would be virtual, but that’s just my opinion. Everyone is different and a variety of course selections for all students is a win-win for all. Times are continuously changing, therefore we have to change the way we teach.
Students need to be challenged and technology in education seems to be the way to go. Technology in education VI. Conclusion The mission of the Virtual School at HISD is to allow for tw0-way, interactive learning anytime, anywhere and for any student. HISD has a comprehensive K-12 online learning program that will provide young minds with an environment conducive to learning. Teaching and support, effective educating and a dynamic curriculum will enhance and encourage students and teachers, which would make for an excellent educational technology model.
As corporations have started using the Web for staff professional development, the HISD Virtual School is using the Web to help students become independent lifelong learners, able to locate and process information from a variety of sources and communicate that learning to others. Online learning in the HISD Virtual School helps student’s master course content, as well as develop communication, collaboration, and creative problem solving skills. Students’ technology knowledge increases as they become adept at using computers and the internet as a part of their learning.
HISD Virtual School uses exciting innovative products for the delivery of web-based learning. The Blackboard course administration tool follows a Web browser model consisting of several components. The application includes stand-alone web server software designed to present pre-developed web pages and web page materials. Additional software components include web programs, program modules and scripts for dynamic course development and management. In addition, courses are offered over the internet were created using Macormedia software solutions.
Dreamweaver 4 and Course Builder allow course administrators to place subject content into custom templates inside of Blackboard. These interactive student activity pages are created to actively engage students in a variety of web-based learning modules. Students within the Virtual Schools program at HISD access their courses using a graphical web browser, Microsoft Explorer 6. 0or above. References http://edtech. twinisles. com/ http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Virtual_school http://vschool. houstonisd. org/info/about. html http://www. britannica. om/bps/additionalcontent/18/33373763/Technology-to-Support-Education-Software-Solutions-for-Quality-Assurance-in-elearning http://www. houstonisd. org/HISDConnectDS/v/index. jsp? vgnextoid=bd49e39400672210VgnVCM10000028147fa6RCRD=b52c2f796138c010VgnVCM10000052147fa6RCR http://www. k12. com/schools-programs/k-8-program/ Spector , J. M. and Hannafin, Michael, Editor-in-Chief:; Educational Technology Research and Development:A bi-monthly publication of the Association for Educational Communications & Technology www. houstonisd. org www. houstonisd. org/vs