The Philomath School District plans to issue surveys to teachers, students and parents through Oct. 24 to try to create a complete picture of technology use for learning both in the classroom and at home.
Rob Singleton, the district’s director of instructional technology, said the surveys will be for teachers, students and parents in grades 3-12. The school district will analyze the results to provide targeted services, programs and professional development based on identified needs.
“We need to be able to prepare our students with 21st-century skills that can prepare them for college, training or work because that’s what the future is,” Singleton said. “We need to be able to be more strategic about how we go about that. By that, I mean we need to know where our strengths are and where the gaps are in both our teachers’ understanding and our students’ understanding of where their skills are — not just want they think they know but what they really need to know to be proficient and savvy and safe with all of these tools that we can provide and we use and what they might use.”
The district is conducting the surveys through BrightBytes Technology and Learning, a company that specializes in gathering targeted information through the use of what it identifies as its CASE framework. CASE is an acronym for four areas of evaluation — classroom, access, skills and environment.
Singleton estimated that the survey will take parents five to seven minutes to complete.
“We’re trying to get an idea of what kind of access they have to the internet,” he said. “We think that we might know that all of our kids carry around this little mini computer (cellphone) but that may not be the case and we might be sending digital homework and expecting all of our students to be able to do it through online access or even interfacing with their teacher online … Some of them may not be able to do so; we really don’t have a sense, we haven’t measured that in the community.”
The parent component of the three-pronged survey will serve an important purpose.
“We really want our parents to be part of the solution that we’re trying to come up with and be able to give us feedback about internet usage, access to a device, all of the things that they might need to have access to be successful,” Singleton said.
The teaching component is a big part of the information-gathering effort as Singleton and instructional support staff Jennifer Kessel learn about what they need to focus on to help support educators.
“It’s not like we’re putting a computer down and walking way — not that they did that before, but Jennifer and I throughout this year are going to be meeting with teachers about what are your goals for this lesson and what kind of support can we provide you in the classroom as you try a new technology tool for your kids that might enhance the learning that goes on?” Singleton said. “It doesn’t replace good teaching and the lessons and all of that, but it can add more differentiation so some students will be working at different paces with different content and we want to be in the classroom and supporting those teachers as they’re trying new things with technology.”
Singleton said the surveys all tie into three pillars that the district is focused on — RTI (Response to Intervention), AVID (Achievement Via Individual Determination) and social-emotional learning.