Engage Educators; Get a Return on Your Tech Investment
Jim Hadlock, director of educational technology at Chippewa Falls (Wisc.) Area Unified School District, knows firsthand that using data to improve teaching and learning with technology is crucial.
His school board approved a three-year technology upgrade project in 1997. "When the project was complete, the board members wanted to know what they got for their money," Hadlock said. "Had the updated infrastructure allowed us to improve teaching and learning and yielded the results we expected?" The answer was no.
In the search to discover the value added by this expensive undertaking, Hadlock and his colleagues found the enGauge® Professional Development Program created by Learning Point Associates. The program has three components to help improve systemwide use of educational technology through planning and evaluation: Online data-collecting tools and framework, on-site data collecting and peer review, and professional development programs.
The online assessment comprises surveys for nine school community stakeholders, such as teachers, students, parents, and administrators. Once the surveys are completed, several types of reports or profiles are generated.
"We surveyed over 1,000 people in the district from principals and parents to teachers and students and came to one major conclusion," said Hadlock. "We needed to provide teachers with meaningful professional development opportunities in order to make the most of our technology."
On-Site Data Collection, Peer Review
Learning Point Associates has provided innovative enGauge programs in more than 450 school districts. In Wisconsin, schools that want to receive Title II Part D funding use enGauge as one of their evaluation tools. States such as Indiana and Minnesota introduced their schools and districts to the Web site and even cosponsored some of the professional development workshops.
Early results of an enGauge program evaluation show nearly all the districts surveyed made direct, concrete changes to policies, planning, or professional development as a result of enGauge. Many used the enGauge framework to influence staff development offerings. Two-thirds said the biggest impact of enGauge was shifting their attention from acquiring hardware and software to focusing on the uses of technology for student learning.
Chippewa Falls is in its third year of using the enGauge program. Hadlock said the district's commitment to data drives continuous improvement, involves a wide range of stakeholders, and gives everyone a shared vision.
Using data to drive decisions about technology is shown in Chippewa Falls' classrooms daily. "By providing staff with more tools and more targeted professional development, we see more use of technology on a daily basis," Hadlock said. "Teachers have been able to expand their teaching capacity in ways only technology allows."
For more on enGauge, call Learning Point Associates at 800-252-0283 or visit online at www.learningpt.org.
Copyright © 2004 LRP Publications. What's Working: Data-Driven Decision-Making In The Schools. Reprinted with permission. To subscribe, call 800-341-7874 or visit online at www.lrp.com/store.