Project title


K12 Web 2.0 Consortium


Project Description

Purpose
The purpose of this project is to create a consortium of teachers and administrators who will research new Web 2.0 resources, evaluate their appropriateness at different levels, and collaborate on innovative curriculum design.

The project is taking place at a K12 independent school in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The project seeks to provide a resource of information about social networking for classroom teachers and administrators. It will also create a more democratic process for evaluating social networking sites and their potential use.

Rationale
Web 2.0 represents a more collaborative, interactive Internet where individuals can easily share and contribute to global conversations. This new web offers so many opportunitues for educational applications, but schools are challenged by resistance to change, the rate at which new tools are emerging, network security issues, and Internet safety concerns. Despite this challenges, research indicates that K12 students have embraced Web 2.0 and are active using these tools in their private lives.

It would be impossible for just one or two teachers to stay abreast and evalute all of these resources alone. By establishing a consortium, more individuals are available to assess these tools, examine options, and consider their potential use in the classroom. In addition, the consortium will provide a relatively safe and non-threatening learning environment where teachers and administrators can work collaboratively. Consideration of potential threats to network security and Internet safety is built into the evaluation process.

Learner Analysis

The primary target learner will be K12 teachers and administrators who volunteer to participate in the consortium. The audience will consist of learners with varying levels of experience using technology. Most have not had experience with Web 2.0 tools.

Primary Audience

• K12 Teachers
• Instructional Technologists
• Administrators

Secondary Audience

• Systems Administrators
• Media Specialist
• Guidance Counselors
• Pre-K Teachers

General Learner Characteristics

• K12 teachers have between 1 and 25 years of teaching experience.
• Administrators include a lower division, middle division, and upper division head, curriculum deans in each division, and a headmaster
• System administrators keep the infrastructure running

Entry Characteristics

Learners will be classified as:
• Level A: Early Web 2.0 adopters
• Level B: Uses technology regularly in the classroom and/or for professional use
• Level C: Minimal experience with technology
Classification will be determined by self-assessment and administrative observation.

Potential Audience Concerns

Teachers realize that the world is changing, but many don’t recognize that education must change also. Some teachers are ignorant or fearful of applying new technologies. Some will need considerable support getting started with the consortium. In addition, time constraints may prevent interested participants from joining the consortium.

Detailed description of your needs assessment, including development of plan and its use, and goal analysis


Needs Assessment Plan:

Phase I: Planning

An overview of the target audience indicates that very few teachers are using Web 2.0 sites or tools. We view the need to use these tools in the classroom as a future or anticipated need. In addition, felt needs are represented by those motivated toward self improvement. Expressed needs are represented by those who requested additional training in technology.

Phase II: Data Collection

A comprehensive survey of teacher technology use was conducted to determine individual technology skills, use of current technologies in the classroom, comfort levels, and training needs. All faculty and administrators were included in the survey. The following four-point scale was used:

1 - I have no skills in this area and require additional training.
2 - I am familiar with this skill or technology but require assistance.
3 - I am familiar with this skill or technology and can use it independently.
4 - I use this skill or technology in my classroom and can teachers others how to use it.

Scheduling - The consortium will meet every other week face-to-face in the student activity center. Teacher laptops, Internet connection and projector will be available. Between meetings, participants will collaborate via a Teach Web 2.0 Wiki.

Phase III: Data Analysis

Of the 84 K-12 teachers, administrators, and support faculty that completed the survey, 10 are classified as Level A, early adopters, 55 as Level B, using technology regularly in the classroom and/or for professional use, and 19 as having minimal technology experience.

Level A: 12%
Level B: 65%
Level C: 23%

Note: These percentages reflect all K12 teachers, administrators and support faculty. The actual consortium participants will come primarily from the K12 population. However, they will participate on a voluntary basis. It is assumed that the consortium will consist of a higher percentage of early adopters and those currently using technology in the classroom. Those with minimal technology experience will be encouraged to join.

Phase IV: Final Analysis

The needs assessment plan confirmed the need to respond to three issues related to Web 2.0 tools in our school. Teachers were unaware of the various tools and wanted to learn more. A procedure needed to be put in place to evaluate the tools. And, further reflection and collaboration would be needed to come up with educational applications. Another need surfaced as part of the needs assessment planning process. A democratic, informed decision process would need to be developed to determine what sites or tools should be banned from the school servers.

Goal Analysis

Aim - create a K12 Web 2.0 Consortium to investigate and explore social networking tools and their applicability to the classroom.

Goal Ranking
Note: This ranking represents order in which tasks are performed. All goals carry the same weight or value.
  1. Identify social networking sites to explore or investigate.
  2. Research articles and reference links that provide insight into the form and function of the site or tool.
  3. Perform a SWOT analysis to determine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  4. Brainstorm possible use in the classroom.
  5. Decide whether or not this site should be banned on the school servers.
  6. Post this data on a collaborative wiki for other members to access and review.

Performance Assessment

  • Lack of knowledge or skill - Most teachers and administrators have had little or no experience with Web 2.0 tools.
  • Lack of motivation or incentive - There are many cases where teachers and administrators don't know what they don't know. There are other situations where there is a general lack of motivation because teachers are resistant to change or fearful of using new technologies.
  • Environmental factors - Teachers and administrators experience frustration with poor response times from the technology department when they are having problems with software, hardware, or the network. Lack of support deters many teachers from using technology in the classroom.
  • Management factors - Administrators are generally supportive of technology use. At the same time, they are reluctant to issue directives. There seems to be a feeling that teachers will adopt technology as needed or desired over time. Administrative support is key to the success of this project.
  • Interpersonal relations - There is some resentment among teachers to others on their grade-level teams who are doing things in new and different ways. Others are reluctant to make changes for fear of upsetting the status quo.

Summary of your needs assessment outcome

The table below summarizes the technology levels of both the primary and secondary audiences:

table.png
The survey confirmed the potential concerns presented in the project description. Many of the K12 teachers, administrators, and supporting staff recognize the need for technology integration but are not sure of the best way to do it. In a free response question asking to list three goals for technology use the next school year, the majority of Level B users hoped to integrate more technology into their daily curriculum and were looking for additional training to help meet those goals. Level A users expressed interest in learning about current technologies available, while most Level C users were willing to learn new productivity skills but were not interested in integrating technology in their classrooms. Teachers at all three levels stated that prompt support from technology team members would be important to reaching their goals.

Goal statement as a result of your assessment


Wisdom Community Goal:
  • Research Web 2.0 tools and social networking sites
  • Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT)
  • Brainstorm effective, appropriate educational applications
  • Apply a democratic, informed process for determining what sites should be banned on the Shorecrest network.

List of entry competencies


Knowledge - Level of knowledge will depend on whether the participant is an early adopter, mid-level technology user, or new user.

Skills - All participants have laptops and are comfortable with email and Internet searching. A small group of teachers are blogging or using podcasts with students.

Attitudes - Attitudes vary from those excited about learning about new techniques and tools to those who are happy to continue doing things the way they've always been done.

Learner interview


In addition to the survey, informal interviews were conducted of potential consortium participants from each of the three learner classification categories to determine their future technology needs, willingness to spend additional time outside of the classroom, and concerns they may have about the consortium.

Description of learners


Participants will be selected on a volunteer basis. Motivation for participation includes: professional development, self-improvement, Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS) credit points, school leadership, evaluation for compensation, and general interest in educational technology. Most learners will be starting from scratch with regard to Web 2.0 tools. However, comfort levels with technology in general will vary. All participants will require instruction on the use of wikis and procedures for posting to the community wiki.

Performance context and implications for instruction


Orienting context – This will be a blended learning experience. The team will meet every 2 weeks in the student activity center to explore new Web 2.0 sites together or in small groups. Over the two weeks between face-to-face sessions, participants will be expected to review reference sites independently and post findings to the group wiki.

Time is always a challenge for teachers. Keeping bi-weekly sessions to an hour will be a key to keeping team members focused and committed to the project.

Relevant current references

Articles reflecting a need for teacher training on Web 2.0 tools and sites

Fryer, Wesley. (2007). Top-Level Bloggers: Social technologies move into the office. Interactive Educator. 3(3). pg. 40-41.

Jakes, David. (2007). Professional Development and Web 2.0. Technology and Learning. 27(9). pg 20.

New Media Consortium and EduCause Learning Initiative. (2007). 2007 Horizon Report. Retrieved July 10, 2007 from http://www.nmc.org/horizon/2007/report.

November, Alan. (2007). Banning Student Containers. Technology and Learning. 27(11) retrieved July 10, 2007 from http://www.techlearning.com/showArticle.php?articleID=196604487

Richardson, Will. (2007). Networks of Learning: Should schools promote online networking? Interactive Educator. 3(3). pg. 20-21.

Articles supporting an instructional model for virtual learning communities and wisdom communities

Gunawardena, Charlotte; Ortegano-Layne, Ludmila; Carabajal, Kayleigh; Frechette, Casey; Lindemann, Ken; Jennings, Barbara. (2006) New Model, New Strategies: Instructional design for building online wisdom communities. Distance Education. 27:2, 217-232.

Luppicini, Rocci. (2003) Categories of Virtual Learning Communities for Educational Design, The Quarterly Review of Distance Education. 4:4, 409-416.

NOTE: This wiki is a joint collaboration between Anna Baralt and Wendy Drexler. Content is initially being developed for ESE6939 Instructional Design, a graduate course at the University of Florida.