The school-based research team, led by Dr. Kui Xie, Cyphert Distinguished Professor in Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University, and Dr. Vanessa Vongkulluksn, the school-based research lead, visited 7 partner schools for the College Ready Ohio project and 5 partner school districts for the EDCITE: Evaluating Digital Content for Instructional and Teaching Excellence project. The team reported Year 1 survey results and discussed the implications for school policy and classroom practice. Prior to the December visits, the team analyzed and prepared school-specific assessment reports, focusing on teacher beliefs towards technology integration and student non-cognitive competencies such as motivation, grit, and school belongingness.
Conversations with teachers and administrators revealed some common issues. “I don’t feel confident in the reliability of the technology that I have,” was one comment. Access to computers was another problem for some schools. “We have laptop carts that are shared among classrooms,” reported some teachers, “and computer labs are often booked for testing.” A necessity for in-service training for the instructors was also pointed out. “I need to find time somehow to figure out how to use [the technology],” said a high-school teacher.
On the other hand, a tour of each school’s facilities and learning environments demonstrated that partner schools varied in their access to technology. Even within the same district, each school had its own distinct culture. A greater understanding of these nuances will help the team tailor evaluation tools to better represent the needs of each school.
All of our partners expressed high interest in the evaluation outcomes and looked forward to the Year 2 evaluation results. The school reports provided administrators with insights into teachers’ perceptions of access to technology and their ability to use technology for instruction. One high school principal stated, “[I] see technology integration as having the potential to improve instruction and increase 21st century learning goals.”
Teachers also benefited from understanding their students’ motivational profiles and were engaged in discussing classroom practices that could spark students’ enthusiasm for learning. All our partner schools and school districts requested an electronic version of the school report to share with the whole school community.
Before leaving, the evaluation team listened to feedback on Year 1 evaluation data collection efforts and discussed how to tailor and time Year 2 surveys to fit the needs of individual schools. “We’re excited that we will be able to see comparisons across the years,” said a district administrator. Added another, “The College Ready Ohio project and the efforts of the CRO team have been very helpful for our technology integration efforts.”