Jackson Middle School:
Case Site and Community
Harrison City School District is an urban school district in Virginia that comprises 36 schools: 4 high schools, 6 middle schools, and 25 elementary schools. Harrison City has a population of approximately 1,500 teachers and 23,000 students. The free and reduced lunch percentages for the City and the school are 45% and 22% respectively. The ethnicity percentages of the city student population is 61% African American, 2% Asian, 3% Hispanic, and 38% White. The ethnicity percentages of the school student population is 50% African American, 1% Asian, 3% Hispanic, and 45% White.
Jackson Middle School first opened its doors in 1976 and operated as a school for 4 years before being transformed into the division's central office for 16 years. In 1997, with an increasing number of middle school students, the district re-opened the site as a middle school with grades 6-8. Jackson School was organized into a traditional depart-mental structure as part of its emphasis on the state Standards of Learning (SOLs). Three years after reopening, the school was designated a magnet school for gifted stu-dents focused particularly on math and language arts. The school has also implemented block scheduling so that students receive, over the course of the school year, twice as much instructional time in math and language arts as in typical schedules. In these two content areas t, and teachers provide remediation as the assessments indicate is nec-essary. Students from across the district apply for the program and are selected by lot-tery.
Scope and History of the iBook Laptop Initiative
The stated goal of the laptop program, as found in the Technology Handbook for Laptops 2004-2005, is to "enhance the curriculum of each core class" so as to increase student academic performance and to provide students' with equitable access to tech-nology and technology skills in preparation for the workplace. As put by the assistant superintendent,
One of our goals for the division is exceptional academic performance. We got that goal working with our community. It is very important to them that we look at academic performance, not just from the foundation that all kids meet the SOLs. To us, the SOLs are just that, a foundation. We want exceptional academic per-formance. So, in discussions about that with our instructional team, it is impor-tant to realize that students learn differently--different modalities for different learning styles. We looked at ways that we could enhance learning for students. . . . We were looking at things like increased numbers of students scoring in the advanced category on the SOLs, so each year being able to inch up not only the number that are actually passing, but the number that is scoring in the advanced category on that. We were hoping to see more students enrolling in higher-level courses, like our college prep and AP courses, hoping to see higher scores on SAT tests. We've been tracking those things.
A teacher described the role of technology as a tool to enhance teaching as follows:
I think as a teacher, it's to effectively integrate technology into instruction and en-hance instruction. . . . I used to teach English and we did essays. And it's really opened up a lot of different ways to approach writing [than] before, if they were just, you know, pen and paper. I notice the children are more willing to write more using the computer. They became more aware of their mistakes. Maybe they took more pride in their writing because they had something that looked more like a final product when they were composing. There were different pro-grams we used with being able to go online and having their essays online scor-ing. They would get a feedback immediately: "I got a two out of four for my es-say. How come?" And as a teacher sometimes you can try to say to those, "You need to work on this," but getting that immediate feedback and then working with their word choice or their sentence structure, you would see an improvement. So definitely, that's one measurable thing I could think of where I would notice.
Another teacher explained his expectations for the effect of the laptops on student learning:
I look at the product--if what they are producing, because the laptop was in-volved, has an improved quality over what I would expect without it. I expect a wider choice of sources. There should be more of a critical element in what they do, because they have more to choose from. What I expect produced from them is much more synthesis than analysis, rather than regurgitate knowl-edge/comprehension-level things. I expect them, because they have so many sources of information, and they have so many ways of looking, I expect them to look at all of these different ways that people made sense of things, and then synthesize from that what they think. So, I guess, I expect a higher degree--I ex-pect more sophisticated answers from them. And I expect a greater depth of thought, if it's produced on the laptop. And I guess I'm expecting a more in-formed answer than I would get if it is paper and pencil.
The technology director stated that, in addition to improving student achievement, the laptop initiative was aimed at increasing students' self-esteem and encouraging parental learning:
And we were looking for ways to improve student learning. We also wanted to empower our teachers as well. . . . What we're looking for is to improve student achievement, but not just in the area of grades. We would like to see discipline improved, we would like to see attendance improved, all those little [things] and see all the items that we have to be taking a look at. We also look at how the student feels about themselves. . . Also, in having them take [the laptops] home, we're looking for some adult learning to take place as well. We require all of our parents to come in for an orientation, where we do teach them a little bit about the laptop and how to use it. We also offer free classes. . . . So we're looking to not just reach the students in the school, but we're also looking to reach into their homes as well.
The principal viewed the IBook initiative as a way to meet students at their level and to motivate them to learn, realizing that many students are already technology-savvy. She mentioned that the school had changed their hiring protocol to include questions about teachers' attitudes toward and aptitude with technology. The goals of the IBook initia-tive follow from the state-mandated SOLs, and technology is viewed as a tool to in-crease student performance on the SOL tests. The school has instituted an on-line test-ing program, Solaris, to assist with quarterly student assessments. As the principal stated,
But the Solaris is what is the most important thing, and this enables us to [have a] benchmark test. They [used to be] hard copy. And this week we have online the information on how our students did. Teachers having that information that quickly and being able to access it that quickly, to have a department that can see all of its scores as a unit and look for areas of concern this early, prior to SOLs, that is the most important technology going on right now. Because in the past, what we would do is, at the end of the year when we got our SOL scores, we would hand aggregate all the data. Which was maddening. And then we would try to share with the teachers before they came back what looked like our problems had been in the previous year. Now we have all of that information right here, right now, to do something with it before we get too far down the road on the SOL. So that is the most important thing for us right now. In getting teachers to understand that has curriculum impact, it has strategy impact. Be-cause a lot of times teachers will say, "Well, I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing." Maybe they are. But if the kids are not getting it, then we've got to make a change right then. Is there a lack of alignment with the curriculum with the test? Is there a lack of curriculum alignment with the SOL? Where is the break-down? And trying to see that as it happens, what we find here is that there may just be a segment of something that they have not hit with the intensity that they should have.
The iBook initiative at Jackson has not been a part of any specific district-wide program to change instructional approaches to a more student or learner-centered approach to teaching, nor has the district pushed any particular curricular strategies using the tech-nology. Teachers, however, view the technology as part of an instructional approach within which students become more active in their learning. In the principal's words,
Yeah. I would like for the teachers to be able to teach the children how to be learners. That's the main thing. The content's going to always be there, and that's going to be delivered. But to teach them to explore things and try things and to be independent in terms of coming up with some decisions on their own. I think technology offers a lot of that. And I just want them to be, well, a life-long learner is trite, but I want these kids to go away knowing how to study, knowing how to learn, knowing how to answer questions that are past the knowledge level. And I think that tech-nology really offers them an opportunity with that. And I think that that is one of the big things I'd like for the teachers to help them to be able to do. There's so much they can do. They can compare different philosophies on things, they can do comparisons, they can do so many different as-pects of it that get into just being a good student. Even in English, and I'm an English teacher, too, the opportunity to teach plagiarism and to show it. And to show, "Here's what you can do. Let's just show you." That's what I do in my college classes. "Here it is. Now, now that that's been said, let's talk about integrity. Let's talk about why people write to begin with," and that kind of thing. So the big goal in my mind is that these children go away from here ready to learn and to be able to utilize any tool that it takes to learn. And we also, you know, we teach note-taking, and we teach summary, and we teach so many pieces. But their technology edu-cation is a part of that as far as I see it. Just equipped to go out of here and learn whatever you need to and to not be intimidated by whatever as-signment you're given. To use the tools at your disposal and get it done. That's my big goal.
The IBook initiative at Jackson began as part of a district-wide initiative started in 2001. After laptops were first implemented at Lincoln Middle School in 2001, Jackson was se-lected as a second site primarily because of its being perceived as an innovative site and, because of its having formerly served as the division office, therefore already wired for technology. It was also selected as a site because it had achieved its SOL testing mandate.
The Harrison City School Board used local money to initiate the program, which was part of a larger, citywide virtual learning community envisioned by the then-superintendent to promote exceptional academic performance above and beyond the state's Standards of Learning requirements. The assistant superintendent explained how the laptop initiative fit into this broader vision:
It was really his vision to create the virtual learning community. That was so exciting to me, because we were pulling in business partners to include Apple, some of our local business people, and our city leaders. We were all talking about what could Harrison become as a result of becoming a virtual learning community. It was really exciting to talk about everyone in the city being able to have access to the Internet. If you were shopping somewhere and you wanted to check something out, you could just pull out your little PDA, or you could pull out your laptop and look it up. And being able to walk around Harrison and be able to take care of your busi-ness, making Harrison a wireless city. That was exciting.
Another driving force behind the iBook Laptop Initiative was a desire to promote educa-tional and technological equity for the district's students.
During the first semester of the 2001-02 school year, the district had formed a commit-tee to plan the implementation of the program before introducing it at the first site, Lin-coln Middle School. The committee consisted of Lincoln's principal, an assistant princi-pal, a seventh grade teacher, two media specialists, and members of the division's technology, library/media, and professional development departments. The committee considered such issues as student, teacher, and parent training and potential problems. Together the committee developed what would become the district-wide student/parent contract, iBook usage guidelines, plans of action, and a system for tracking and analyz-ing data. An important decision made by the committee was that students could take iBooks home only after a parent/guardian had completed a two-hour training session held at the school.
Based on the success of the program at Lincoln, the program was expanded to Jackson Middle School and a high school in the fall of 2002. As at Lincoln, seventh graders were given laptops and kept them the following year as eighth graders, although sixth graders were not included in the Jackson initiative.)
Both the business community and parents have been actively involved in the laptop ini-tiative. The results of a community survey revealed that most households had com-puters and Internet access. In addition, representatives of many of the prominent busi-nesses in the community serve on the initiative's advisory committee. Pressure from the community to improve the technology training of students was significant, according to the director of technology: And everyone, from community members to business members, all said that we need to do a better job of preparing these students for when they graduate. They don't have the skills that employers need. They don't have the skills when they go to college or other schools to be able to grow. This is a very high-tech area with NASA [located nearby]. We have [a local university], we have commu-nity college, we have the government, . . . so we have a lot of people here who expect a lot out of us, other than traditional methods of teaching. They want us to do more.
The implementation of the ubiquitous computing project in the Harrison City Schools and in Jackson Middle School in particular has been taking place within several national and state-level contexts that have increased accountability pressures both nationally and at the state level. Both the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation and the state's Standards of Learning (SOL) accountability program have increased educators' attention to standards, accountability, and testing.
In the 1990s, the state adopted statewide curricular standards known as the Standards of Learning (SOLS). The state then purchased a criterion-referenced assessment sys-tem. Stakes such as denial of promotion and graduation were recently added to the ac-countability system; students not passing the accountability tests by the end of their senior year were denied graduation in 2004.
The state has had a history of encouraging technology innovation in its schools, which has in recent years been tied to the state standards and accountability movement. The state initially established a set of standards and an assessment to measure student mastery of technology skills at the eighth grade level, which have since been aban-doned but that influenced the district's choice to begin their laptop program at the sev-enth grade level.
State policies reflect a commitment to technology in education and a movement toward ubiquitous computing. In 1996, for instance, the state adopted a policy goal of obtaining a five-to-one computer-student ratio by 2002 and universal access to scientific calcula-tors for middle and high school students. Beginning in 2000, the state also initiated online, web-based SOL instruction, remediation instruction, and testing, first in its high schools and later in middle and elementary schools, which have also been used to gar-ner legislative support for technology infrastructure and hardware supporting ubiquitous computing initiatives. As of 2004, about 50% of students tested annually were tested online.
As can be seen in Tables 1 and 2, 80% of the Jackson faculty who were surveyed de-scribed the testing stakes as high. Of these, 76% agreed that the testing stakes were high within their content areas, 96% felt under pressure to teach to the accountability tests, and 92% reported that their teaching was influenced by the tests.
Table 1. Teachers' Perceptions of the Stakes Associated with Their State Accountability System
|Low stakes (%)||Neither low nor high stakes (%)||High stakes (%)|
|How would you describe the nature of your state's accountability and testing system?||4%||16%||80%|
|How would you describe the nature of the accountability system in your content area?||4%||20%||76%|
Table 2. Teachers' Perceptions of the Influence of the State Accountability System on Their Teaching
|A great deal (%)||Somewhat (%)||None at all (%)|
|How much pressure to teach to the state accountability test do you feel yourself to be under?||76%||16%||8%|
|To what extent does the state's accountability teaching influence your teaching?||80%||12%||8%|
The district has aligned its curriculum to the SOLs, and the implementation of the state's accountability plan coincided with the reopening of Jackson Middle School. It influenced the plans to turn Jackson into a magnet school with block scheduling focused on math and language arts and quarterly assessments geared to the SOL tests. It also influ-enced the decision to organize the middle school along a departmental model rather than the teaming model more commonly associated with the middle school movement. Asked about the effect of the accountability program, the assistant superintendent of secondary instruction stated that It has influenced instruction, because we have gone back and aligned all of our curriculum to the SOLs. We've done a pacing guide so that we know that every-thing is being covered, and when it is being covered. It has influenced how re-sources are directed. It really has influenced, basically, everything that we did. . . . We have done well. We have made progress every year. We've realigned re-sources; we've changed how we work; we've changed even our structure here in the central office. We created the Office of Instructional Accountability. It has had some significant impact.
The principal of Jackson Middle School reported having initial misgivings about the for-mat adopted by the school:
When we made that leap (this is our seventh year) that we weren't going to have teams when we opened this school, I took a deep breath. I thought I was doing something immoral, or at least illegal. You know, because middle school concept was . . . middle school teams. . . . But we discussed it, the teachers that had been hired, and said, "Which way can (we were SOL-driven at that moment), what way can we address the SOLs best?" And they said, "We need to be de-partmentalized."
She reiterated that they felt the pressure of accountability policies at Jackson:
We are SOL driven, but . . . more No Child Left Behind-driven at this moment. I think we've accepted that we're going to hit the minimum, and what we're trying for is just to go higher. . . . No, I think we're pretty secure that we can meet the minimum standard for the state. . . . We'd like to be the highest in the city, and our neighbors, we're very competitive with our neighbors, I am.
The assistant superintendent of secondary instruction admitted that this impact has not been entirely positive:
Knowing that the SOLs were going to be so important to the children and to the schools, we put our resources primarily in the academic core areas. And so it was a matter of just using the human resources a different way. And because we were a new school, we could say, "We just don't offer French." And no one is zoned to come here. They choose to come here. So if I want French, I'll go to this other school. So be it.
The pressure to produce results on the Standards of Learning tests has had an influ-ence on how technology and the laptop initiative are viewed by administrators and teachers. Sixty-four percent of the teachers surveyed at Jackson indicated that ac-countability tests hindered them somewhat or a great deal in their effort to integrate technology into instruction, while twenty-seven percent said that the accountability tests facilitated the use of technology somewhat or a great deal (see table 3). Nearly two thirds, or sixty-four percent, felt the accountability requirements constrained the amount of time available to them for technology integration, and twenty-seven percent agreed that accountability requirements encouraged them to integrate technology in a wide va-riety of ways (see table 4).
Table 3. Teachers' Perceptions of the Influence of the State's Accountability System on Teach-ing with Technology
|Hinders a great deal (%)||Hinders some-what (%)||Neither hinders nor facili-tates (%)||Facilitates somewhat (%)||Facilitates a great deal (%)|
|To what extent does the state accountability system hinder or facilitate your ability to inte-grate technology in your instruction?||9.1||54.5||9.1||18.2||9.1|
Table 4. Teachers' Perceptions about the effects of Accountability Testing on Technology Inte-gration
|Strongly agree (%)||Agree (%)||Neither agree nor disagree (%)||Disagree (%)||Strongly disagree (%)|
|I would like to use technology for a variety of instructional uses but there is not enough time because I must prepare students for state tests.||36.4||27.3||18.2||18.2||0|
|The state mandated tests encourage me to use technology in a wide variety of ways.||0||27.3||36.4||27.3||9.1|
Note. n=24. an=23
District administrators view the laptop initiative as a vehicle for attaining and moving be-yond SOL goals.. The assistant superintendent of secondary instruction describes the accountability press in the division as "huge":
In terms of checking on student progress, in terms of providing resources to teachers, information to parents--We just recently implemented a new phase of our instructional accountability program. We have benchmark testing that we do. We have the students take the benchmark test. We scan them through the scanner, and then we upload them to CSSG and reports are generated that we can view online. . . . The reports are designed so that when we give the informa-tion back to a teacher, the data comes back by essential knowledge and skills. . . . You unpack the standard and you look at the various essential knowledge and skills area, the teachers can specifically pinpoint where there is a learning defi-ciency. You have this big category, like patterns and functions in math, and then you have maybe twelve, maybe more, essential knowledge and skills under that. Well, you can see that in the first three, the child is doing fine. But all of a sud-den, something starts falling apart here, but then they are fine for the rest. So you know exactly where you need to go back and look at doing remediation, ex-tra work.
Despite those advantages, some teachers see the implementation of the SOLAR as-sessment program as an intrusion that does not match the goals of the school. As one teacher put it,
What we have seen this year, with our new superintendent, is a "Big Brother" looking over us, because we started the benchmark testing. We disagree with that. We are going to do it, because we've been told we have to, but we dis-agree with benchmark testing, because we already assess in math every 4.5 weeks. Our assessment we wrote ourselves . . . based upon the curriculum and SOLs. Our assessments are at a higher standard than the SOLs, so we disagree with giving a benchmark that expects less. We also disagree with it because the model we set up with [professor's name] is eight assessments a year. Well, now you are going to add another testing date. We just gave an assessment on Fri-day and now you want a benchmark again tomorrow. We are testing just to be testing. We disagree with the benchmarks, the faculty at Jackson as a whole. We've had this discussion with downtown. But what we're finding with the ac-countability is that he is looking on a site called Solaris, and he can see who is looking at their benchmark test. So he can call up [the principal] and say, "Hey, why hasn't this teacher checked her scores?" We disagree with that. Our theory is, if you hire us, treat us as a professional. He is a new superintendent, so we are giving him the benefit of the doubt, and we will see how this goes. But the benchmarks we disagree with. What we are seeing in the state is that there has to be some accountability. Each district is coming up with what they feel the ac-countability should be and how it is going to look.
The director of technology also expressed some fear that the testing pressure was limit-ing the ability of teachers to teach in broader, more constructivist ways:
Teachers over the years gather all these materials and all these neat things to do. They'll teach what they're supposed to teach, but then they'll go over here a little bit, and they're not allowed to do that anymore. And I don't think the tech-nology is pushing it out. I think the testing was doing that. That everything was focused on those tests.
Some teachers and administrators also reported that the pressure to meet SOL stan-dards conflicts with technology implementation because district- and school-level per-sonnel are so focused on meeting the accountability demands that they tend to view teaching technology as a distraction from their main goal of raising test scores. The technology coordinator stated, "They're so focused. And the state testing is part of the reason it is. They're so focused on what they have to do with the information that the students have to learn. A lot of times they look at stuff as just one more thing to do. [But] we'll win them over, I have to say that."
A teacher reiterated this point when asked how his technology use would be affected if he didn't have to deal with the SOL pressure:
I would probably use them a lot more as far as for a research base, because there would be more time to do research and projects in the classroom. For in-stance, we get to do that career project, but I would probably like to do more. We used to do a greenhouse effect lab in Algebra I. We don't have time to do those anymore . . . because of the SOLs. Because everything we do in this classroom, now, we have been told if a visitor walks through and we cannot somehow show that it relates to the SOLs, don't do it. And that is a very real [pressure]. That is exactly what we have been told. So what we do in math is say, well, they have to have this as a prerequisite, or they have to have this for this reason. . . . Be-cause of the principal we have, we can get around it. But I know for a fact, when I was [at another school] and talked to the other instructional leaders that particu-lar principals would walk in the room and say, "You've got to stop teaching that, because it is not in SOLs. You can't teach it unless it is in SOLs."
The pressure of No Child Left Behind and the state's accountability program are also framing the use of technology as a tool for standardized assessment and for transmit-ting accountability information. The director of technology worried that curriculum con-tent personnel and teachers feel "kind of like they have blinders on": They know they have to do this, and they don't to want to have to look at any-thing, they don't want to do anything else. They're so focused on that. And so I have to kind of break that and say, "Well, you know, look at this. This would really work." One of the things that we're doing is that we're putting pacing charts for all the teachers online. So that they don't have these books that gather dust over in the corner, or the one that you can't find. And the curriculum people are very excited about this because when you talk about a pacing chart, you'll have a nine-week [plan] at a glance. And you'll click on one piece of it and it'll take you deeper in. It'll give you lessons, it'll give you resources, it'll give you URLs, and it's all right there. . . . So those are the kinds of things that we do just to pull people in. We're really big on databases here. We're using them for peo-ple to make things easier for them to do.
She continued about what she saw as the consequences of accountability pressures for integration of technology:
I think that they [the teachers] have pushed technology out into the front. I really do. I think they probably have helped people realize that technology can really help them more than any one thing in the last few years. They know that they're going to be tested. They know that they need to know where their students are. We have a program . . . that teachers can use to see where their students are. We use it for nine-week assessments. We're trying to put the data into the teacher's hands, and the only way we can do that is with technology . . . . Well, actually we do a bubble-in sheet, but we also do it online.
The technology has also been used to prepare students for the format of the SOL tests. Laptops have been used to access assessment sites that are used to prepare students for the tests. As a teacher stated,
Now, I have the sample tests and the J-lab that I can put the students on those laptops. It helps them to see the format of the tests. The format of the test is dif-ferent than textbook. I will take time to write some test questions that are similar to the SOLs. But those test questions that are available have been field-tested. So I feel they are the most valid. That would be one of the impacts. I no longer necessarily have to give them the pencil/paper. . . . I think it is positive because the kids aren't scared. When they get the SOL tests, they say, "This is so easy; why did you scare us to death?" But because they have been exposed to the format, they've been given sample questions, it is much easier for them. If they have never seen--the first time I gave that sample test, they looked at me like, "You're crazy." I said, "Take your time; work through each question." . . . Most of it is the format, because they [the test developers] just love to give them junk they don't need. So we teach them to annotate. Once they annotate through the question, they know exactly what they need and what is trash. It is much easier. By the time they take all of those, and we use the [state] coach book, they are way prepared for the test.
Yet the director of technology believes that the ubiquitous nature of the laptops has al-lowed teachers more creativity in their teaching, thereby bucking what she admits is a trend toward applying technology for mere rote memorization and basic skills training:
I would agree with that, except in the laptop schools. I have not noticed that in the laptop schools. In a school where you don't have every child with a laptop, where it takes extra time to go to the computer lab or even to roll the laptops in, yes, I can see that. . . . No, I can see it. I know it. . . . "I don't have time to do this. This is really nice. I like it, but I don't have time." That's what you get. You don't get it in the laptop schools because the laptop is part of their tools. . . . It's not wasting their time, so to speak. They're using it.
A teacher at Jackson agreed that the laptops allowed her to extend beyond the SOL-driven curriculum:
It allows me to go beyond the textbook. The textbook, like the textbook we have in eighth grade, is a [state]-adopted textbook. That is supposed to gear our-selves toward certain SOLs. Well, even if it gears itself toward certain SOLs, I might not like what they have to say about irony. So I can use technology to support what they have to say about irony, or to give better poetry than just the poetry printed in the textbook.
This same teacher related that accountability policy has restricted her use of technology at the same time that technology has also afforded her opportunities to move beyond the basic skills emphasis of the tests:
Absolutely. It has seriously restricted my teaching with the computers. The pressure of the standards has to be the first thing that I worry about. For exam-ple, I am a literature person. That state assessment doesn't care if the students have never read Frost or Hemingway or Pope. They just care that they can iden-tify imagery. If they can identify imagery in Dr. Seuss, it seems to me the state is happy, as long as they can identify imagery. So, for me, I have felt the pressure of getting the kids prepared for an assessment, regardless of the literature. I have almost been told in department meetings downtown, "Don't worry about the stories, and teach the skills." But I want to be more than a skills teacher. I also want to be a literature teacher. The standards have restricted me. I don't think the use of the technology has. The use of technology has just allowed me to ex-pose the kids to more literature and more writers in a smaller amount of time. My hands aren't tied by the textbook anymore. . . . I can teach that standard a variety of ways, whereas before, I could only teach the standards the way the textbook taught the standard. . . . It gives me more choices. I don't want to be the teacher who goes "Page 1 through page 30" and then "Page 31 through page 50" in a textbook. I want to make choices based on how my kids are learning and based on what is of a higher interest. The technology allows me to find that stuff.
The one-on-one laptop program at Jackson Middle School receives strong leadership from the district level. District leaders' commitment to involving all stakeholders has re-sulted in ongoing involvement from the community and a very active technology leader-ship group at the school level. The impetus for the laptop program came from input from community business leaders and others on a district advisory board related to district's technology planning. The superintendent decided to implement the laptop program as a way to better prepare students for the 21st century by developing their technology profi-ciency and ability to use technology for research and other schoolwork. When Jackson Middle School was selected as the second site in the district to have such a laptop pro-gram for its students, its administrators and teachers also became a part of the technol-ogy leadership group.
At the district level, the administrators with instructional responsibilities and those with technology responsibilities work together closely. The director of technology said she collaborates on a regular basis with the director of technology, the director of profes-sional development, and the specialists for the core content areas and electives who make up the instructional team. All of these individuals report to the assistant superin-tendent of schools. The assistant superintendent was involved in the laptop program from the beginning as a key aide to the previous superintendent, who is acknowledged as having been the catalyst for the laptop initiative. At the time of our visit, that superin-tendent had recently left the district and the new superintendent of schools was engag-ing in meetings with community members about what they felt was important for the dis-trict's vision and direction. The assistant superintendent was optimistic that the commu-nity's support for virtual learning throughout the district and the community would come through: "I am very hopeful that this will emerge again. It really had a very strong level of support."
Within Jackson Middle School, the technology leadership team includes administrators and staff members who are primarily responsible for technology and for instruction. The principal is involved in that she brings technology opportunities to the teachers and, as necessary, encourages them to take advantage of them, but the two library media spe-cialists and their part-time assistant as well as a full-time technology support specialist carry out more specific duties, like technology professional development in both instruc-tional and technical matters. The instructional leader (i.e., department chair) from each content area is a representative on the technology committee for the school, and two retired teachers have worked part-time on specific tasks related to the laptop initiative, such as creating a Technology Handbook for Laptops to distribute to teachers, students, and their parents and supporting the teachers in using the online textbooks used in the curriculum.
Parents are involved in the technology leadership in that they must participate in certain ways in order for their son or daughter to get to have a laptop. They and their child must both sign a computer-use agreement, pay a $20.00 user fee, and assume responsibility for repayment if the computer's charger or bag is missing. Parents also must attend a two-hour workshop about the laptop program, which is taught by the school's technol-ogy support specialist.
The assistant superintendent and director of technology both characterized their interac-tions with district-level technology leaders as cooperative and collaborative and attrib-uted this to the fact that the majority of them had worked together for nearly thirty years. The assistant superintendent also noted that the instructional background of many of the technology staff members had helped to create a working environment where they worked as a team to ensure the technology supports their goals:
It's not something that you can replicate, but so many of us have been in [tech-nology] enhancement for so long, that we already had this relationship. It wasn't like we brought in a bunch of new people because we have this technology. We already collaborated a lot, from the beginning, because some of them were al-ready instructional people.
The two of them believed that technology staff members should focus not just on the hardware and technical issues but on also helping administrators with mainly curriculum and instruction responsibilities see how technology could enhance their functions and goals. The assistant superintendent explained how this occurred in part through the technology director and her staff members' attending the instructional team's meetings:
Our technology enhancement is very integrated. The technology people come to my instructional team meetings. . . . We all meet together. As a result of that, the technology people have a greater understanding of some of the things that we're doing in the instruction area, and are able to offer suggestions to us as to how we might better do that.
Thus the district technology leaders' interactions were frequent and focused on the overall goal of enhancing learning with technology.
The district and school technology leaders interact on a regular basis to discuss imple-mentation of the laptops. The director of technology and sometimes other district admin-istrators and the school technology committee members attend regular meetings. Their interactions are often about managerial issues---a discussion of what is working, what isn't, and what to do about it. These meetings were the suggestion of the district director of technology, so as to ensure that district resources and knowledge can be brought to bear upon needs that arise and that the context of the site and the teachers' perspec-tives were considered in working out a solution. The first year of the laptop program at Jackson Middle School, this group met on a monthly basis; since then, these interac-tions were reduced to meeting about every two months or as needed. Sometimes the technology committee would call for a meeting of the full faculty (even though sixth graders do not have individual laptops, all teachers teach at least one eighth grade class) so that the staff could come to a consensus on managerial issues such as a pro-cedure for keeping the laptops charged, how to collect the laptop fees paid by parents, and so forth.
The technology committee members are the technology leaders in the school. The prin-cipal described her technology leadership role as garnering opportunities for bringing technology into the school and presenting these choices to her staff, whom she de-scribed as "stellar." As an example, she described a chance that the school was offered to pilot a web portal system that worked with the school's electronic grading program to provide parents with access to their child's grades, attendance, homework assignments, and other activities. The principal wanted the school to try it and presented it to her staff members as an opportunity they just shouldn't turn down, considering the school's status as a technology innovator:
We had to do some prodding to bring the whole seventh grade on this semester. And we had to present it as "This is where we are in our world of technology as Jackson magnet school. These are the expectations of our children. . . . Here are the expectations of the parents. How are we going to have this opportunity and not provide it?"
The principal said that once some element of the school's technology direction has been set, other technology leaders step in to work out the specifics with the teachers. She described how, as the building's overall leader, she relied a lot on email to commu-nicate information and on her technology staff and instructional leaders to work out spe-cific details with the teachers. One of the media specialists, during an interview with her and the principal, described the principal as having a strong ability to motivate her staff: "Talk about a motivator. . . . We joke about a deer being stuck in headlights!" They both described the staff as exceptional, a group of leaders and self-starters. Thus as tech-nology leaders, the interactions of the media and technology support specialists' with teachers were mostly about making learning opportunities known to them or responding to their requests for information.
The instructional leaders' technology leadership interactions occurred mainly in the con-text of weekly department meetings, where they would either bring technology topics to the agenda or take input from teachers about technology and bring it to the school's technology committee. Several of the teachers interviewed reported that they didn't feel pressure to use the laptops in any particular way, or perhaps even at all, but rather that they were trusted to use their best pedagogical judgment. One math teacher shared that while she used the laptops as much as possible, the principal "has not given us any di-rection as far as how much the laptop is to be used. We decide on how we are going to utilize it as individuals in our classroom."
To check teachers' perceptions of who served as technology leaders at the school, we distributed a survey that was completed by 25 of the 38 teaching staff. In it, teachers were asked to list and describe the role of the technology leaders in their work environ-ment. Respondents were given four spaces in which to list the name and title of such persons and asked to check all of the relevant responsibilities met by each. These lead-ership activities could include leading professional development, providing technology support, serving as a expert on some educational technology aspect, and assisting teachers in working out instructional uses of educational technology, or some other, which they were asked to describe. While the survey instructions indicated that respon-dents could add more names on the blank backside, no one did.
Altogether the teachers listed eight names. (See Table 5.) Of these, four were of the school-level staff whose formal job responsibilities included technology support for teachers: the technology specialist, the two media specialists, and an assistant media specialist, three of whom are administrators in the district and one of whom is a teacher. The role that teachers most often mentioned being filled by these four technology sup-port personnel was that of providing technical support, with 50 mentions. The second most common role was serving as an educational technology expert (46 mentions), fol-lowed closely by leading professional development and working out instructional uses of educational technology, with 42 and 41 mentions, respectively. Of these four individu-als, the technology specialist was most frequently mentioned in each of these roles, fol-lowed closely by each of the two media specialists. (See Table 5.)
As would be expected, teachers reported far fewer technology leadership functions as being fulfilled by district-level administrators and teacher leaders than by the school technology support personnel. The three district staff and the one district teacher who were cited were mentioned by one or two people each, with the respondent indicating one or two roles for each name. Altogether, the three district administrators received four mentions of serving as an expert, three for providing technical expertise, and two for providing assistance in instructional uses. One respondent mentioned one Jackson teacher's name and checked that this individual provided technical assistance, was an expert, and provided assistance in instructional uses. (See Table 5.)
Table 5. Number of Mentions of Technology Leadership Roles Fulfilled, by Job Title
|a) Lead Prof. Dev||b) Provide Tech. Support||c) Serve as Expert||d) Assist with Integration|
|4 school-based: Technology Specialist, Media Specialists, and Assistant Media Specialist||42||50||46||41|
|3 District Administrators||0||3||4||2|
|1 Teacher Leader||0||1||1||1|
The survey also asked the Jackson Middle School teachers if they thought that the ef-forts of the technology leaders were coordinated so as to collectively accomplish the most possible with the resources at hand. The teaching staff was also asked to describe whether or not, and if so, how, they were able to give input to the technology leaders at their school about the direction and scope of the school's computer uses and initiatives. For both questions, the answers were analyzed holistically first to categorize them as a yes or no response and then for emerging themes.
This question was answered by 18 of the 25 teachers who returned the survey. Of these, 16 indicated that the technology leaders' efforts were coordinated for maximum effectiveness, while only 2 said they were not adequately coordinated. Those who saw the work as coordinated cited as evidence that the leaders were always accessible and provided training opportunities to the teaching staff and that their needs were being met. The two negative responses added that teachers needed more training or follow-up and peer coaching to help them learn to use technology with students.
Of the 14 of the 25 surveyed teachers who responded to the question asking whether they had opportunities to provide input to the technology leaders, eleven said that they did. They reported that their input was asked for, that they felt heard when they gave suggestions, and that they felt they could speak up if they wanted to.
Technology Support Structure
When teachers need technical support in their classroom or for their own or their stu-dents' laptops, they first contact the building's technology support specialist. The full-time specialist responds herself to the majority of the technical issues---ranging from printing to networking issues, from broken zippers on laptop bags to adjusting the Inter-net filter to allow a legitimate website to be accessed---and is seen by teachers as abso-lutely essential for the success of the laptop program. If she has to be absent, the prin-cipal asks for a district technical support staff member to come to the school in her place. One teacher said, "To me, she is everything about the laptops," and the principal described her as "the one person in this building who is indispensable." All of the inter-viewed teachers spoke highly of the quality of her support and how she was always available by email and phone or through her open-door policy. The school also had a remote observation and control program that she could use to look at the desktop of any computer in the school, which also supported her in troubleshooting problems with the computers.
If a computer requires repair from the Dell- and Apple-certified technicians at the district office, it is sent to them. In addition to handling the major repairs, the central technology department at the district office trains and prepares the building-based technical support staff to handle the simpler troubleshooting and repairs.
Professional development on integrating technology is available through both the school and the district office. A robust series of professional development offerings is coordi-nated by the district office, the majority of which are about operating various software programs and integrating those into their instruction. Many of these courses are offered online using an online course management tool called BlackBoard. Three specific courses offered in this format are required of all state teachers to fulfill their Technology Standards for Instructional Personnel, and others are offered about teaching with tech-nology in various content areas. All of the Jackson Middle School teachers have com-pleted these three courses, which were required in order to receive a laptop for their own use. Within the school, the technology support specialist and the media specialists also offer opportunities for teachers to learn how to operate various hardware and soft-ware. Staff members we interviewed spoke of recent learning opportunities about ac-cessing the server, I-Movie, the grade book software, and the website portal for parents.
In addition, the two media specialists at the school provide instructional support to teachers for using the Internet as part of their job as information and reference special-ists. Teachers can fill out a reference request slip and the media specialists will search the web to locate resources appropriate for them to use in class. The teachers de-scribed this as very helpful, because it has saved them a lot of time in finding reliable, appropriate web resources to use in class.
The three interviewed teachers all said that the majority of the support they received for using specific software to support the teaching of their subject area either came from their department peers or they had to locate information on their own. They wished for more help in locating and utilizing software and web resources specific to the classes that they teach. The central office had provided help with the online textbooks and sup-plementary resources in the form of a part-time support teacher who was assigned to this and the district's other laptop middle school. Yet using full-time access to laptops well and frequently requires a depth of support within each content area that is not yet provided in the district's instructional support structures.
The year following our visit, the state provided formula funding to all schools for tech-nology instructional support positions, and Jackson Middle School will be adding a full-time person in this role. According to the assistant superintendent, these new personnel would coach teachers across the district and help them learn to better use technology to support teaching and learning.
The school also provided teachers with help in the management of the technology, in-cluding procedures for inventory and the investigation of theft, damage, or loss. Teachers were able to contribute to the creation of these procedures, as many were worked out at the technology committee meetings. While the teachers have to actually carry out the inventory in their classrooms, the technology support specialist takes responsibility for communicating to parents regarding their responsibilities and coordinated the re-quired parent workshop. The technology support specialist is also in charge of monitor-ing that students are using the Internet appropriately. The monitoring software she uses allows her to know what any student is doing on his or her laptop, including what web-sites they visit. If students are in an inappropriate site, she can make a warning mes-sage appear on their laptop. One teacher described how on occasion the specialist has "walked into the room, grabbed a students' computer, and walked out because they've been where they weren't supposed to be, and she's caught them."
We surveyed the teaching staff about their need for technology support of a technical or instructional nature, asking them to indicate how frequently they needed each of the two types of support, whether not at all, seldom, one to three times a month, or weekly or more. They were also asked to indicate the availability of such support using a five-point scale, ranging from not available to sometimes, frequently, mostly. or almost always available. Teachers were also asked to rate the quality of the two types of support available to them on a five-point scale, choosing poor, fair, good, very good, or excel-lent. Finally, teachers were asked how much more they would use computers in their teaching if they received adequate support when they needed it: no more, somewhat more, more, or much more. (See Tables 6-9.)
Nearly all (92%) of the teachers said they needed technical support seldom or only one to three times a month, and nearly all (92%) of the teachers said it was frequently or al-most always available. A large majority (88%) reported that the quality of the technical support was very good or excellent. Still, a quarter of the teaching staff indicated that if they always had adequate technical support available, they would use the computer more or much more.
When it came to instructional support, three quarters of the staff reported that instruc-tional support was not at all or seldom needed, and over half (58%) said it was mostly or almost always available. Nearly two thirds (64%) indicated that the quality of the instruc-tional support they received was very good or excellent. As with technical support, about a quarter of the teachers answered that they would use computers more or much more if adequate instructional support was always available.
Table 6. Percentage of Teachers Indicating Frequency of Need for Technology Support
|Not at all (%)||Seldom (%)||1-3 times a month (%)||Weekly or more (%)|
|Technical support (e.g., computer and software fixes)||0||56||36||8|
|Instructional support (e.g., incorporating technology into your lessons)||20||56||24||0|
Table 7. Percentage of Teachers Indicating Frequency of Technology Support Availability
|Not available (%)||Sometimes (%)||Frequently (%)||Mostly (%)||Almost always (%)|
|Technical support (e.g., computer and software fixes)||0||0||8||20||72|
|Instructional support (e.g., incorporating technology into your les-sons)||0||12.5||29.2||8.3||50|
Note. n=25. an=24.
Table 8. Percentage of Teachers Indicating Quality of Technology Support
|No support (%)||Poor (%)||Fair (%)||Good (%)||Very Good (%)||Excellent (%)|
|Technical support (e.g., computer and software fixes)||0||0||0||12||24||64|
|Instructional support (e.g., incorporating technology into your lessons)||0||0||20||16||12||52|
Table 9. Percentage of Teachers Projecting Increased Computer Use with Additional Technology Support
|No More (%)||Some-what more (%)||More (%)||Much more (%)|
|Technical support (e.g., computer and software fixes)||65.2||13||8.7||13|
|Instructional support (e.g., incorporating technology into your lessons)||43.5||30.4||13||13|
That a professional community around technology integration does exist at the school is indicated by the shared vision the teachers have for technology use and the degree to which they engage in collaborative activities about technology integration, such as the amount of sharing of materials and practices and of reflective dialogue about integrating technology.
Jackson Middle School opened as a magnet school, meaning that students within the district could chose to attend based upon their desire for the school's special emphasis on reading and math. The principal selected a model of double block scheduling for these two content areas that had been developed by a professor at a nearby university. This emphasis on developing students' mastery in these two content areas, the sched-uling approach, and the common planning time were evidently attractive elements of a shared vision to the teachers who applied to teach there. The principal was given the ability to handpick her staff, and she said that as she interviewed them, she emphasized that she wanted teachers who shared her commitment to the staff interacting within a shared code of respect and professionalism. In our interview with her, the principal de-scribed her staff as stellar, highly qualified, and the very best people available to her, and said that she emphasizes that they are to operate in a team-oriented way and that she gives teachers ample opportunity to provide input to her or empowers them to make their own decisions.
It appeared that the shared mission for instruction at Jackson Middle School was to de-liver excellent instruction and foster student achievement at very high levels. The school's shared vision for using technology held that the teachers had excellent peda-gogical judgment, were very skilled in what they did, and that they could chose to apply it when and where they thought it was appropriate. It seemed that the principal was not at all concerned that the laptops wouldn't be used because she relied on the innate drive toward excellence that she knew was present in the teaching staff, giving them a great deal of freedom and responsibility. The interviewed teachers acknowledged that they knew they were trusted and appreciated that they could make their own decisions. The principal said that occasionally she reminded the staff that they were considered "the technology school" in the district and that their practices would be closely scruti-nized and looked to as a standard.
The surveyed teachers were asked in an open-ended question to describe in their own words their understanding of the school's vision for technology, to check whether they shared it, and if so, to explain why. . Based upon an initial review of the responses, four categories or themes were identified and statements were reviewed again and assigned to one of the four. The first is "Just Use It," which included responses that emphasized that providing students with access was key and that it should be used as often as the teacher sees fit to do so. The second is "Future Preparation," which included responses that emphasized that students needed knowledge of or experience with technology to be prepared for their future. The third is "Improve Teaching and Learning," which in-cluded both general responses about supporting student learning and more specific de-scriptions of benefits, such as promoting higher-level learning or student engagement. The final category is "Assessment," in which was placed any responses that mentioned preparing students for the state tests or raising students' scores on those test.
The majority of the teaching staff characterized the school's technology vision as fo-cused on improving teaching and learning. An example of one such statement is "Tech-nology is one more tool available for learning. It can expand horizons, improve thinking skills, and motivation, lead to life-long learning." Thus, while teachers are free to apply their own judgment in using the laptops, the majority of the teachers are focused on specific instructional reasons for the use of the laptops. Although the remaining teacher responses were evenly distributed among the remaining three categories, many men-tioned improving teaching and learning along with another statement that more em-phatically stressed one of the other categories. For example, one teacher's vision statement that was categorized as about assessment said, "To engage students and improve standardized test scores."
Table 10. Teachers' Perception of School's Technology Vision, by Percentage in Each of Four Categories
|% of responses|
|1. Just Use It: Student access is key; use it as much as possible, based upon your own decisions about its benefit.||13.63|
|2. Future Preparation: For a successful future, students need to know technol-ogy. Knowledge of technology is needed in society.||13.63|
|3. Improves Teaching and Learning: General statements and those with specific benefits mentioning how technology supports teaching and learning||59|
|4. Assessment: Accountability testing, assessment, raising test scores||13.63|
Teachers also responded to three items about the degree to which they shared the goals of their principal and of other teachers in the school, and whether or not the teachers in their particular subject area had a common understanding about how tech-nology should be used. They indicated how much they agreed or disagreed with each statement on a six-point Likert scale that ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The mean and the standard deviation was also calculated for each of the three items. (See Table 11.)
All of the teachers responded that they strongly agreed that the principal's values and philosophy of education were similar to their own. Teachers agreed very nearly as much that most of their peers shared their beliefs about the central goals of the school. Teachers indicated that, on average, they only slightly agreed with the statement that teachers teaching similar courses shared ideas of how to use technology and that there were clear expectations that technology would be used in that way. This item may have suggested a sense of conformity that ran counter to the principal's emphasis on their applying their professional judgment when integrating technology.
Table 11. School Mean Score and Standard Deviation for Shared School Goals
|Mean Score||Standard Deviation|
|My principal's values and philosophy of education are similar to my own||6.0||0|
|Most teachers here share my beliefs about what the central goals of the school should be||5.5||.6|
|Teachers in the same grade or subject area share a common understanding about how technology will be used to enhance learning, and there are clear expectations that technology will be used in these ways||4.2||1.6|
In an interview, the principal said that when she started the school, an aspect of her vi-sion for how the school would operate was that all the teachers from a department would have the same 90-minute class period free. This common planning time was de-signed to allow teachers to talk about instruction across their subject area. For example, she believed it could facilitate their coming to a consensus on particular software or re-sources they wanted to request and becoming familiar with each others' ideas and re-sources for integrating technology into particular lessons or units. One English teacher described how different colleagues had become known for a collection of materials and sharing resources, noting that "We all have our go-to people. . . . We are aware of that." Teachers in the same department who teach the same grades have classrooms near one another, and their proximity serves as a catalyst for a lot of informal sharing throughout the day, or "hallway talk," as one teacher described it. The teachers' email accounts and the school's shared server space support the teachers' exchanging infor-mation and resources.
The math department has formalized their sharing process even further by forming Learning Clubs. One day a week they meet according to the course they teach, which allows teachers to compare specific teaching ideas and resources, including technol-ogy, for that specific curriculum. And one day a week the teachers in the department meet as a team and discuss items of interest or concern to the whole group.
The entire teaching staff was surveyed about other aspects of their work environment that affect the degree of professional community among them. Ten of these elements were grouped into two indexes. The first index is a measure of professional communica-tion and discussion comprising respondents' agreement or disagreement with four statements about the regularity of discussions of school goals, follow-up discussions on topics from school meetings, and how often teachers interact with one another about new ideas and student work. A second index was created from six items about profes-sional development at the school, which referred to teacher input on professional devel-opment, the continuity and follow-up of professional development, teachers' commit-ment to continuous learning, the recognition they receive for implementing new prac-tices, and the access they have to others with knowledge on integrating computers. For each of these two indexes, the multiple responses---made on a six-point Likert scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree---were averaged to create an index score for each respondent, and the mean score for the school was calculated. The Cronbach's alpha coefficient was calculated for each index as well.
On average, teachers agreed that their work environment included regular dialogue, col-laborative activities, and deprivatized practice, which along with shared purpose are hallmarks of professional community. The average score for the professional develop-ment indicators was slightly lower, but still indicated that on average, teachers agreed that their professional learning environment was healthy. (See Table 12.)
Table 12. School Mean Score for Professional Communication and Discussion Index and Staff Development Index
|Professional Communication and Discussion Index||*a 5|
|Staff Development Index||**b 4.7|
Note. an=24. bn=23. *Cronbach Alpha Coefficient=.61 ** Cronbach Alpha Coefficient= .58
Ubiquitous Computing in Teaching and Learning
Configuration and Use in the Learning Environment
The Jackson Magnet Middle School's one-to-one laptop program provides teachers and students with a high level of technology integration into the Harrison City Schools cur-riculum. Observation and interview data revealed a well-organized program with abun-dant technological resources supporting a wide-range of integration activities. Individual teacher use consisted primarily of high-level individualized drill and practice, online re-search, and eCommunications. According to interview and survey data, the participating teachers' perceptions of the impact of the laptops on classroom use were highly posi-tive. The stated goal of the laptop program is "to effectively integrate technology into in-struction and enhance instruction," and based upon the data collected, this goal is being met and surpassed. The school's principal estimates that approximately 90% of the teachers are meeting the school's technology goals and vision.
The school's laptop program involves approximately 550 students and 40 teachers across two grade levels, seventh and eighth. These students are given 24/7 access to their laptops after meeting the following requirements: parents and students must sign a computer use agreement, parents must pay a $20 non-refundable usage fee, and par-ents must attend a 2-hour training class. The laptops are Apple iBooks with 128 mega-byte hard drives running Operating System 10.3.4. Each computer is loaded with Micro-soft Office software and is configured to use Internet Explorer as the web browser. In addition, each laptop contains Glencoe/ McGraw-Hill textbook resources on the hard drive as well as online textbook access. While the students carry their laptops from class to class, the storing/charging cart is housed in each student's "home base" class-room.
In addition to the 555 laptops used in the one-to-one program, there are also approxi-mately 25 desktops available in the library, which are Apple iMacs with 256 megabyte hard drives running Operating System 10.3.8. The overall computer to ratio is 1:1.
According to the building technology support coordinator, the wireless network covers the entire school. The school also houses eight servers, one of which is dedicated to use by teachers and students. Each teacher and student has his or her own login and password to this server. This capability allows students to turn assignments in via the teacher's drop box instead of handing in a hard copy and teachers to post assignments, class materials, and feedback in a shared class folder or in individual student folders. The students do not have email accounts and are unable to communicate with their peers or teachers through a school-supported account. This was an intentional policy put in place to prevent inappropriate behavior. However, some students do have email accounts with independent companies, such as Yahoo or AOL.
The Jackson Magnet Middle School computer contract and laptop guidelines contain well-documented protocols and clear expectations for teacher, parent, and student use of the laptops. (See Appendixes A and B.)
The centralized Harrison City Schools Library provides numerous resources to the teachers and students for classroom use via the web. Among the free and contractual online resources made available to students and teachers are United Streaming, Pro-Quest, ERIC, PBS Videodatabase, TeachingBooks.net, Facts for Learning, Gale Group, and World Book Encyclopedia Online. As noted earlier, Harrison City Schools also pro-vide technology training and classroom technology integration support on an ongoing basis at both the district and building level.
Survey data revealed a high level of teacher satisfaction with the program configuration and access to resources. Table 13 presents the teachers' perceptions of their access to critical components of the program.
Table 13. Teachers' Perceptions of Access to Critical Components of the One-to-One Program
|Very poor/ Barely (%)||Adequate or pretty good (%)||Good (%)||Excellent (%)|
|The type of equipment needed for planning lessons or for pro-fessional development (e.g., cameras, scanners)||4.2||25.0||25.0||45.8|
|Sufficient numbers of computers and other equipment (e.g., cameras, printers) to implement technology-supported learning opportunities as I want to||8.0||16.0||24.0||52.0|
|Computers and other equipment where they are needed (e.g., in my classroom; in a science lab)||12.5||4.2||20.8||62.5|
|Reliability of computers, printers, projectors, and other equip-ment (i.e., it works when I need it)||4.0||24.0||36.0||36.0|
|Reliable, high-speed access to the Internet in classrooms, labs, and media centers||-||24.0||32.0||44.0|
|Software appropriate for my content area and the age of my students to use with my class(es)||-||24.0||44.0||32.0|
|Technology tools for my own productivity (e.g., electronic grade books, word processing, presentation software)||-||12.0||20.0||68.0|
|Technical support with little or no wait-time||-||20.0||36.0||4.0|
|Instructional support that helps me to integrate technology||-||32.0||36.0||32.0|
Note. n=25. a n=24.
The teachers responded to each item on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (non-existent) to 5 (excellent). The majority of teachers reported their access as good or ex-cellent for the type (70%), number (76%), and location (83%) of the computers in the school. Furthermore, the majority of teachers reported good to excellent access to reli-able hardware (72%) and reliable Internet connections (76%) in the classrooms. The teachers also reported good to excellent access to appropriate software (76%) and teacher productivity technology tools (88%), such as electronic grade books, word proc-essing, and presentation software. Finally, the teachers reported good to excellent ac-cess to both technical support (80%) and instructional support (68%) that facilitated technology integration.
Teacher Practices and Outcomes
Classroom observation and teacher interviews revealed that Jackson Middle School teachers were using the technology in high-level and often creative practices that in-cluded drill and practice, online research, expression and visualization, productivity tools, eCommunications (managing student information and disseminating class infor-mation).
For example, in an observed math class, a math teacher used the laptops to reinforce covered previously covered SOL concepts using drill and practice exercises while she circulated throughout the room. The students worked individually to solve math prob-lems and games on an algebra website (http://education.jlab.org/solquiz/alg1/91.html) and an algebra program located on their hard drives (Algebra Class). In this capacity, the laptops were used primarily to drill covered concepts and to assess comprehension of the topics covered in class. The websites and applications used have 'hint' and 'help' buttons to assist students In addition, the programs provide immediate feedback to the students regarding performance. The test items have a few unique features, which scaf-fold, provide feedback, explain concepts, and give the students updates on how they are doing. Most of the students consult with peers during the process to complete the problems. The programs have visual and audio demonstration and reinforcement of the concepts drilled. "Wonderful," "Nice Work," "Perfect," "Way to go," "Fantastic," were audible throughout the classroom. The audio assessment gave the teacher an easy audi-ble check on how well the majority of the class was doing. The teacher circulated coaching those who needed it, but for the most part the laptops were doing the coach-ing within the selected website.
When asked about the Algebra Class software, the math teacher summarized the strengths of the program:
I like that one. It has everything--the minimum that I need--for Algebra I. It is effective [in] that the students can take it home and work problems, and it interacts and tells them if they're right, if they're wrong. If they miss it, it will take it through step by step for them. To me, for students that go home and there's not a parent necessarily home to ask questions, they can use the Algebra Class and get themselves tutored in that area. If you hit "step-by-step," it will tell them, "Step 1, do this," and you type it in; "Step 2, do this." So it takes them through each problem step by step, if they select to do it in that mode. What I tell the students, because some of the parents don't get home until after the dinner hours, if you get stuck on something, go to Algebra Class, look up that skill, and do some prob-lems. It will lead them step by step.
During the use of these programs in the classroom, students appeared highly engaged, periodically checked their scores against those of their classmates, and clearly enjoyed the feedback capability of the games. The teacher was free to interact with individual students throughout the lesson and to provide a high level of guidance in the use of the laptops, a teaching method that she calls guided practice.
This math teacher also uses the laptops for individualized remediation based on previ-ously missed items and for enrichment, critical thinking for example, through websites such as and , http://www.coolmath.com/), and research activities. She also uses the computers "to export my grades to K-12 Planet, so parents can be up-to-date on where their students are. . . . They can do it anytime, but I update on Friday." She also de-scribed how the laptops have resulted in greater parent awareness and participation in their child's schoolwork:
The other thing that I like with the laptops is parents can use it to help. If they don't know how to do something . . . it will help the parents to un-derstand what their child is learning. So it is a tutorial also available to the parents. Parents tell me all the time that they love the Internet with Glen-coe, because if their child is getting ready for my test or quiz, they put them on there, and they can watch them do it while they are doing it, and then see if their child knows it or not. The parents have gotten way more involved . . . since we've gotten the laptops.
In two observed language arts classes, laptop use ranged from creating a virtual com-munity via the Internet for collaborative poetry writing to conducting online research for group projects on The Hobbit and Shakespearean sonnets. These two language arts teachers also used the school's shared server capacity to collect, distribute, and man-age student documents, completed assignments, and class handouts.
In one seventh grade language arts class session, the teacher was introducing students to the use of the shared server as a productivity and materials management tool. The class began with the teacher introducing the distributing passwords and familiarizing them with the process of handing in assignments via this medium. The teacher sat in the front of the class executing each step on her laptop as she instructed the class to perform each step. Occasionally students would fall behind and the teacher would have to stop to make sure they kept pace. In another observed class with a different teacher a few weeks later, the directions were posted on the wall and as a result there were much fewer questions and much less time spent catching all the students up. This speaks to the strength of clearly written directions posted on the board in large letters. Otherwise, critical time is spent trying to keep everyone on the same screen.
As the teacher proceeded, one of the students volunteered to show the class how to create a "sticky" note in order to save their passwords. The teacher responded, "Okay, Mary, you get to talk us through it. Everybody listen." The student proceeded to walk the class through creating a new sticky. This is a significant type of interaction that often takes place in a class containing this much technology. Often the students will know more than the teacher about a certain type of technology or program, and by acknowl-edging and capitalizing on this situation, the teacher empowered the students to help her and one another.
When the teacher finished showing the students the procedure for turning in or "drop-ping" assignments via the server, she handed out a quiz that the students answered on their laptops using Microsoft Word. As the students were completing the quiz the follow-ing exchange took place: S: "Can I write the quote in a different color?" T: "I don't care because you won't be printing it. You'll be dropping it in the server."
This exchange highlights the students' ability to personalize their work with ease in terms of fonts and text color without detracting from the quality of the work. As the stu-dents began to turn the quiz in, the teacher simultaneously checked the server to see how many students had dropped the completed quiz in the right place and named it cor-rectly and read out those students' names. She then helped students who had not named the assignment correctly resave their quizzes on their machines with the correct name and drop it to the server folder. This immediate feedback was a powerful compo-nent of this lesson.
The teacher then told the students to open another Word document and copy the notes off the board, telling them they could put the notes in any format they want as long as the information was there. When asked about the use of the laptops in this capacity, the teacher explained, "It does become a little bit of an electronic notebook. We've kept poetry logs in the seventh-grade class, where they have just worked on different poems, and entered certain information about every kind of poem in a standard log, a quote log, vocabulary log."
The advanced purposes to which this material management via a shared server and/or a web-based interface can be put was also observed in an eighth grade language arts class, where the teacher led students in a collaborative poetry writing exercise using an Internet-based website, Nicenet.org, to compose and share poetry in an iterative, accre-tive process. During the hour and a half class session, the students completed four rounds of collaborative poetry writing by writing, sharing, and rewriting poems incorpo-rating portions of their peers' poems into their own with each successive round.
As the class had 15 students, each successive round created 15 new poems, which built upon and drew inspiration from each other's work. While this lesson could have been completed with paper and pencil, the laptops greatly facilitated the process on numerous levels. They allowed the students to quickly and quietly exchange 60 different poem iterations over the course of the class session without passing papers around the room, to overcome potential obstacles because of poor handwriting, and to express themselves in virtual anonymity through the use of screen names that can be kept con-fidential if a self-conscious student chooses. Describing this last benefit, the teacher said,
It also gives them a certain amount of anonymity. . . . I allow them to have a pen name. It is registered with me; I know who everyone is. When we first begin to use Nicenet.org, I am in and out of their mailboxes all of the time, to make sure everything is school-related and that whole thing. I re-view the rules every nine weeks . . . but after that, there is a certain amount of anonymity if they want it. It's really interesting, too, because they can use it to sort of test the waters in ways that they would never do if all they had was [hand] written or verbal.
In fact, the teacher reported that if this activity is done with paper and pencil, typically the writing quality deteriorates significantly after the second round. By doing the exer-cise on the laptops, she said,
I don't think the quality of the third round and fourth round degenerated. See, if I did this on paper, typically the last two rounds the quality degen-erates, because they don't want to write anymore. They are tired of writ-ing, or they're so busy fussing with their other papers, fussing to see what other people wrote, but with this way [with laptops], it's like a surprise, it's like a reveal.
During this session, the students were all engaged and writing their individual poems in the Nicenet.org interface as the teacher circulated, facilitating and coaching as needed. At the close the teacher announced: "This is a prewriting strategy. . . . If you like what you have . . . highlight it, copy it, and paste it into a Word document. . . . Keep as much as you want."
When asked about this capability, the teacher explained,
I use it as an organizational tool. If they choose to, they don't have to bring a notebook to my class. I make all of their notes available online. All of the notes are available through Nicenet.org. They can take class notes on a Word docu-ment. Anything I can give them that I can either drop in their student drop box or I can make available on Nicenet.org, I do, rather than a handout.
Both of the language arts teachers also used the laptops for individual and group online research projects, although their observed approaches were different. In the seventh grade class, the students were given directions and a few suggested websites to begin their research, but were also encouraged to explore on their own using various search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves. In an interview, the teacher explained her philosophy: It goes back to that trust and that freedom. I think if they are operating within the school, and the school has already set the parameters by hav-ing the filter in place, then they should be allowed to do that. . . . I have to trust the kids to find something that I might not have been able to find. If you are saying, '"Only these websites," then what you are saying as a teacher is, "I've already done this search and this is the absolute best one." I don't feel comfortable making that decision, because there is so much out there. These kids are better at finding it than I am, so I give them that freedom. I want to encourage, I guess, that curiosity, and I also want to give them credit for being better navigators than I am.
The eighth grade teacher took a different approach, in which she filters and presents acceptable websites via Nicenet.org that the students are able to use for an online re-search exercise. When one student inquired about using Google to search for some-thing, this teacher responded with, "You are not searching the Internet, not ever." She was not alone among the teachers interviewed in being extremely reluctant to allow stu-dents free access to the Internet during class time for fear of their accessing inappropri-ate material.
Despite these imposed limitations, this teacher described using the laptops for a wide range of uses in her class:
I use it as a tool. It functions from day to day. If I have things I want them to have, if I want them to have certain grammar, I drop it in a folder and I drop it. There were pieces of a writers' handbook that I got permission to scan, and I gave it to them, because what we had through the system wasn't very good. I didn't have anything at the time. I use it as a text-book. There is a whole section in my Nicenet.org where I load the links in. There are certain links that they use as a textbook. The next nine weeks, my focus is going to be nonfiction writing. Once a week, I expect them to find something in the world to write about, to reflect on. I have loaded all kinds of things . . . so I use it as a textbook. It supplements what I have or don't have. I use it as a communication device. I communicate with par-ents. If I have parents who are real concerned about their kids not keep-ing up, I just let the parent log on to Nicenet.org. I tell them to give me their name, don't tell the student that they are doing, and it allows the par-ent to just see what is going on. . . . It allows the parent to observe if they want to, but it allows me to keep in touch with children. They know that if they have a problem with something, if they e-mail, I check my Nicenet.org every night. They know that if they have a problem, they can email me that way; if they want a change, or whatever, they can get a hold of me that way. I use it as a prewriting tool. I use it as an information source, as a reference room. I use it as a production tool. I use it as a presentation tool.
Different uses were observed in a science class, where the teacher used the laptops for viewing instructional videos, for conducting online research in order to complete a class project on mammals, and for maintaining eCommunications via a class website (for ex-ample, using http://www.schoolnotes.com)
In one observed class session, the teacher began by reading through the online
text with the students following along on their individual laptops. As the
class reached a sec-tion on vertebrates, the teacher instructed the students
to view an embedded video at http://glencoe.mcgrahill.com/sites/0078617022/
student_view0/brainpop_movies.html#, which has a series of BrainPOP videos, described by their publishers as "3- to 5-minute animated movies that provide a clear and concise explanation of a particular topic in an engaging manner." This reveals a powerful capability of computer-based books, which have dynamic and interactive capabilities such as embedded video clips that enhance learning beyond what a single book can provide. In addition, the ubiquitous nature of the laptops provides a much more intimate viewing of video and information than watching the same video on a screen in the front of the classroom.
During another observed class, the science teacher guided the students through an online research exercise using Google's advanced image search features. Step-by-step instructions were read by the teacher as well as posted clearly in the front of the class. Once the images were located, the students cut and pasted the appropriate pictures into a Word document and printed the collection to the classroom printer. The students then physically cut and pasted the images into the appropriate place on their individual "foldables," the teacher's term for two-toned 8.5 x 11 inch pieces of paper that the stu-dents fold into thirds. One side contains the general characteristics of the object of study (e.g. mammal) and the other side is used to further classify the characteristics of the ob-ject of study. The students used the laptops to collect the needed information for the foldable using websites that were retrieved using an advance Google search. Google was the dominant search engine used in this and other class observations.
The science teacher also explained that she uses her laptop to plan lessons:
You go online anyway and look for lesson plans and everything else. I mean, I don't know how to teach now without a computer! . . . I've got the whole world at my fingertips now. I can get anything I want to know about something that I couldn't, and I can get it much quicker. I don't have to call somebody, find somebody at a university, I can go online and look for it.
Table 14 presents the frequency with which the participating teachers make various uses of their computer. The teachers responded to each survey item on a 4-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (never) to 4 (more than once a week). The vast majority of the par-ticipating teachers reported using the computers to manage student information once or more a week (88%) and to conduct instruction preparation research or develop instruc-tional materials at least once a week (84%). Computers are also used extensively to communicate with colleagues, with almost all (96%) of the teachers reporting they do so more than once a week. Approximately half of the teachers reported assessing student work with the computer (48%), while only slightly more than a third (36%) reported using a television or projector to display information from the laptops once or more a week.
Table 14. Teachers' Use of Laptop or Desktop
|Never (%)||Less than once a week(%)||About once a week (%)||More than once a week (%)|
|Conduct research that contributes to instruction (e.g., research for lesson plans and curriculum de-sign)||4.0||12.0||28.0||56.0|
|Develop materials and / or presentations for instruc-tion or homework assignments||-||16.0||28.0||56.0|
|Assess student work in or out of class||16.0||36.0||24.0||24.0|
|Manage student information||4.0||8.0||28.0||60.0|
|Communicate with colleagues inside and outside the school||-||-||4.0||96.0|
|Use a TV or projector to display information from your or your students' laptops||20.0||44.0||8.0||28.0|
In addition to the specific classroom practices described above, teachers and adminis-trators reported numerous outcomes as a result of the laptop project, the majority of which they consider extremely positive. The district's technology director, for example, reported that the laptops and the accompanying online texts (http://www.glencoe.com) have had a significant impact on student learning: "The online version is interactive. It's not just words online. It's interactive, and they have all these different resources. It has really changed the way a lot of these teachers do business." The Jackson media spe-cialist reiterated this point: "If you have a textbook . . . you're limited to your textbook, and you can find a website that shows what you're trying to teach, the visuals, every-thing. That's definitely going to enhance instruction."
Teachers also reported both a higher quality of student work and higher teacher expec-tations for their students' work. For example, the eighth grade language arts teacher explained some changes she has noticed as a result of the laptop project:
I found that the student participation is better, the discussion is better, the essay is better, because they have had a chance to rehearse it online. So that is one really good example. . . . Another thing that I have seen is that their support and criticism of each other's writing is evolving.
She noted that the laptops have also changed her expectations:
I think the laptop is amazing. . . . When I talk about the level of synthesis and the level of analysis, I guess I expect it to an even greater extent if I know they have had access to their laptops than I would if it were a paper and pencil. They have a wider variety of tools. They are not bogged down with the process, with the spelling and the can't-read-your-handwriting, and the "I forgot it and I lost it." . . . It kind of cuts through all of that, that bogs everything down. There shouldn't be a barrier. They should be able to do what they know how to do.
The seventh grade language arts teacher expressed some of the same out-comes and expectations:
I expect them to use the spell check; I expect them to use the grammar check and to at least consider those things that the computer is sending an alarm on. So I expect that to just be a natural thing. My expectations with students who have really bad handwriting, they don't get that excuse anymore, because now you are issued a laptop. If your handwriting is bad and I've had to make you rewrite because of handwriting, go to the laptop in the beginning, instead of wasting your time. That expectation, I can throw out that excuse of "I'm not a good speller." I can throw out the ex-cuse of "My handwriting stinks." My expectations when we go to do some-thing is that they will remember what they've taken in sixth grade and what they've taken in seventh grade in their keyboarding classes. I expect them to be able to find how to open Microsoft Word. I expect them to change names of folders, drag things from one folder to the next.
The math teacher, however, described a change in her teaching but not in her expectations:
I don't think the expectations have changed. My expectations have changed as far as how I am going to teach the material and how I am go-ing to instruct the students. That would be the difference for me, and how I am going to utilize what's been given to me, because that is a $1,500-per-student [investment]. I am not going to waste $1,500 worth of materials.
While the majority of the classroom and teaching outcomes resulting from the laptops have been positive, some of the teachers also described challenges presented by the presence and use of the technology. For example, one teacher explained, "It makes classroom management--it raises the management to a whole other level, if you let it." Another described how grading can become more time-consuming when using the lap-tops:
The way I grade, I will grade the first page of everybody's test, and then I go to the second page, and then I go to the third page. And so that way I can have it memorized very quickly and go right through it. This way it's like, it's just one per one per one. It just takes a lot more. And then if you have to make a comment, you've got to highlight it, you've got to get an-other color to print it in, it's just more things to do. It's not just simple writ-ing. Now I've got to get the right color, highlight it just takes longer. And then you've got to send it back, drop it back in . . . and it kills your eyes af-ter a while.
All of the teachers participating in the laptop program were also surveyed about their perceptions of the impact and outcomes produced by the program. The teachers re-sponded to several items on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (very negative) to 5 (very positive). The results are presented in Table 15.
Table 15. Teachers' Perceptions of School and Classroom Outcomes
|Very negative||Negative||Neutral||Positive||Very positive|
|Your interaction or collaboration with students||-||-||20.0||40.0||40.0|
|Your interaction or collaboration with other teachers||-||-||8.0||52.0||40.0|
|The cohesiveness of your department or team||-||-||20.0||52.0||28.0|
|Your interaction with parents||-||-||4.0||64.0||32.0|
|Parents' involvement in your students' schoolwork||-||4.0||20.0||52.0||24.0|
|Your use of high-quality instructional tools||-||-||8.0||48.0||44.0|
Note. n=25. an=24.
Almost all the teachers (96%) believed that the laptops had a positive to very positive impact on their interaction with parents. The vast majority of participating teachers (92%) also believed that the laptops had a positive to very positive impact on their inter-action or collaboration with other teachers and that they had been a positive to very positive influence on the cohesiveness of their department or team (80%). Most of the teachers also reported that the laptops had a positive to very positive impact on their use of high-quality instructional tools (88%). A considerable majority of teachers (80%) believed that the laptops had had a positive to very positive impact on their interaction or collaboration with students, while nearly the same percentage of teachers (76%) be-lieved they had a similar effect on parents' involvement with the students' schoolwork. Approximately half of the teachers believed the laptops had also had a positive to very positive impact on classroom management, while the other half reported that they have had a neutral impact.
Student Practices and Outcomes
Teachers in the one-on-one laptop program were also surveyed on their perceptions of the impact and outcomes that the use of the laptops has had on students. The results can be seen in Table 16.
Table 16. Student Practices
|Rarely or never (%)||Quarterly (%)||Monthly (%)||Weekly (%)||Daily (%)||N/A|
|Communicate with experts, peers, and others (e.g., over email or through discussion boards)||52.0||8.0||-||-||8.0||32.0|
|Solve real-world problems (i.e., involving situations, is-sues, and tasks that people actually tackle in the outside world)||32.0||8.0||20.0||20.0||8.0||12.0|
|Produce word-processed documents||8.0||4.0||28.0||32.0||28.0||-|
|Create video or audio products to produce a multi-media presentation||41.7||20.8||20.8||8.3||-||8.3|
|Conduct online research||-||28.0||40.0||20.0||12.0||-|
|Use drill and practice or tutorial software||20.0||12.0||20.0||28.0||12.0||8.0|
|Visually represent or investigate concepts (e.g., through concept mapping, graphing, reading charts)||24.0||29.2||16.7||16.7||8.3||4.2|
|Use electronic information sources like the WEB, ERIC, EBSCO (searching for these efficiently, for example, by using "and"/"or" to narrow/expand search, identifying keywords)||24.0||32.0||4.0||28.0||4.0||-|
|Use technologies specific to your field (e.g., probeware in the sciences, geographic information systems in the social sciences)||36.0||20.0||12.0||12.0||16.0||4.0|
|Use technology primarily to prepare for the state man-dated tests||29.2||12.5||20.8||12.5||8.3||16.7|
Note. n=25. an=24.
The teachers responded to each potential use on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (rarely or never) to 5 (daily). The activities that were most commonly used in the class-room on a daily or weekly basis included producing word-processed documents (60%), using drill and practice software (40%), conducting online research (32%), and visually representing or investigating concepts (25%). Another 28% of the teachers had the stu-dents use technologies specific to their field of instruction, such as probeware in the sciences or geographic information systems in the social sciences, or to solve real-world problems on a weekly or daily basis. Less than a quarter of the teachers (21%) reported the students using the laptops to prepare for the state-mandated tests on a weekly or daily basis. Finally, only a small minority of the teachers (16%) reported hav-ing the students use the computers to communicate with experts, peers, and others (e.g., over email or through discussion boards), and only half of those said they did do more frequently than quarterly.
The infrequent use of email as an instructional tool was reiterated in two additional sur-vey items, as seen in Table 17. Because of the district-wide policy of not giving the stu-dents email accounts, most of the teachers reported never having their students use email to communicate with other students (96%) or with their teacher (70%).
Table 17. Student Practices
|Never||Less than once a week||About once a week||More than once a week|
|Take notes for a class||20.0||32.0||12.0||36.0|
|Email other students||95.8||-||-||4.2|
|Email their teacher||70.0||20.8||4.2||4.2|
|Take a quiz or a test||56.0||28.0||16.0||-|
|Turn in an assignment for class||4.0||68.0||12.0||16.0|
Note. n=25. an=24.
Table 17 also presents teacher responses to other questions, using a 4-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (never) to 4 (more than once a week). The majority of teachers (68%) reported having their students do homework on the laptops once or more each week. Slightly fewer than half (48%) of the teachers had their students take notes for class with the laptops once or more each week, while a minority reported that students used the laptops to turn in an assignment for class (28%) or take a quiz (16%) with the same frequency.
Table 18 below presents the teachers' survey responses about the effect that the lap-tops have had on a number of student outcomes, many of which were also supported by observation and interview data. The vast majority of the teachers reported that the laptops had a positive to very positive impact on students' engagement, involvement, and interest (92%), on students' ability to work independently (80%), on what students learn about the subject (83%), on students' ability to work cooperatively or collabora-tively (74%), on students' self-efficacy (72%), on interaction among students (75%), and on the quality of students' school work (68%). Approximately half of the teachers be-lieved the laptops had a positive to very positive impact on the students' level of reason-ing, problem solving, and/or thinking skills (52%). Approximately half of the teachers also believed the laptops had a positive to very positive impact on students' grades (48%). Fewer than half of the teachers reported the laptops' having a positive to very positive impact on students' ability to demonstrate metacognition (42%) and organiza-tional skills (40%), while about a third believed the laptops had a positive to very posi-tive impact on students' standardized achievement scores (36%) and attendance (36%).
Table 18. Teachers' Perceptions of Student Outcomes
|Very negative %||Negative %||Neutral %||Positive %||Very positive %|
|Interaction among students||-||-||20.8||45.8||29.2|
|What students learn about the subject you teach||-||-||16.7||50.0||33.3|
|Students' engagement, involvement, and interest levels||-||-||8.3||45.8||45.8|
|Students' ability to work independently||-||-||20.0||36.0||44.0|
|Students' ability to demonstrate metacognition||-||-||58.3||33.3||8.3|
|Students' ability to work cooperatively or collaboratively||-||4.2||20.8||62.5||12.5|
|Students' standardized achievement scores||-||-||64.0||32.0||4.0|
|Students' level of reasoning, problem solving, and/or thinking skills||-||-||48.0||32.0||20.0|
|Students' quality of school work||-||-||32.0||48.0||20.0|
Note. n=25. an=24.