When I found out the next assignment was going to involve an evaluation process, I immediately went back to my career in the Navy. Evaluations are the key to success of every command. Although dreaded, they provide valuable feedback on ways to improve, procedures to change, and new ideas to implement. Evaluating technology in a school environment is very similar. Since this is a private school, many variables affect budgeting and planning. Student enrollment is the greatest factor to consider. The goal of the school is to increase student numbers so that each classroom has at least 24 students. Due to difficult economic times, student enrollment has dropped dramatically over the past seven years. Planning and budgeting is difficult with decreasing student population and increasing operating costs.
Twelve years ago, the school was awarded a very substantial grant to be used for the purchase of technology in the classroom. This could have been the opportunity of a lifetime for such a small school. Unfortunately, the purchase was made and that was it. Maintenance is done on an as needed basis and the school is operating on Office 2003. As the desktop computers began to wear out, the school purchased refurbished replacements and relies heavily on donations from local businesses who are upgrading. It is very difficult for one person to maintain such a large number of computers when it is one of several responsibilities in the school but it must be done if the teachers are going to fully utilize what is available.
At Shetland Sheepdog Elementary (SSE), the student enrollment is approximately 130 in grades K-6. The school is not culturally diverse and there are no English Second Language students currently enrolled. A number of tuition scholarships are awarded annually to students whose financial situation would not normally allow them to attend SSE. Approximately 15% of the students are from single parent homes.
Maturity Model Benchmark Filters:
This assignment was truly an eye opening experience. After reviewing my findings, I would classify this institution at the Islands Stage of the Technology Maturity Benchmarks. I believe the available resources are actively utilized although not always to the fullest. It is my hope that existing technology can be upgraded and increased opportunities provided for the students and teachers.
Additionally, I would like to require all teachers at this school to complete a Maturity Benchmarks Survey. Once the survey is completed, compile it into one comprehensive document to be analyzed. It would be most interesting to see their opinion of where this school stands and their vision of the future. Finally, present the findings to the staff and begin an open dialogue of how they view the use of technology in their classroom in the future.