A Swing and a Miss – An analysis of a technology-reluctant school

school

Lauren Peters

Social Media Analysis

Secondary Subject – K-8 School

I have two boys, aged 11 and 13, in a Public Charter Montessori school.  I am interested in what social media and other technology the school uses in communicating with teachers, staff, parents and students.  I am also interested in what the students can be using in the classroom to bring them into the 21st century.  Right now, the students are using computers like typewriters.  They write a draft on paper, correct it on paper, and then type it into the computer.  This MLIS online course has shown me that originating work in a virtual space is its own skillset.  I wanted to do the research that the teachers didn’t have time for, analyze their social media for LIBR 246, and present a report to the school in how they can improve their technology use.

 

I scheduled a meeting with the academic advisor, Courtney.  When Courtney came to the school 3 years ago, she was almost fresh out of college, with many ideas on how to use technology in schools.  In our interview, I learned that there is a great hesitation with teachers to use online tools for student use.  I asked if it was because not all students had computers at home.  She said that because of generous donations, all students in the K-8 had access to computers and the ability to go online.  3 years ago, all teachers had a wiki page to keep parents abreast on homework assignments and class happenings.  But even though it only takes a copy and paste function with papers they had already written on their computer, by the end of one year, none of the teachers kept their page current.  The teachers are fluent in file sharing like Google Docs within the staff, but for some reason they don’t use it in the classroom.  I know from serving on Site Council, that after salaries and textbooks, paper is the largest expense at the school.   I also pointed out that most textbooks can be accessed online.  My sons carry about 30 pounds of books to and from school, yet this easy access to the text at home is not utilized or even known about.

 

The main form of communication between the school and the parents is email.  A newsletter is blasted out in a ListServ once per week. The school also maintains a webpage.  One teacher uses igrade to post grades and assignments.  There is a dropdown tab for class websites (Wiki).  Only one teacher is listed as having a wiki page.   The Parent Teacher Organization has a Facebook page which is updated often but is almost impossible to find.  I searched on the school website.  There is no link under PTO and no Facebook button.  I searched on my Facebook page for Dixon Montessori with no result.  I searched DMCS and was directed to an Indian family’s page.  Finally, I searched DMCS PTO and found the page.

 

I decided that the school was not going to be a good subject for me to analyze for our social media project.  I still wanted to help.  I left my findings with Courtney outlining the deficiencies in communication between the parents, PTO, and the school.  I also left her with this website from edudemic.com where there is a link for 50 education tools every teacher should know.  I hope it at least starts the conversation which leads to using more technology in the classroom.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “A Swing and a Miss – An analysis of a technology-reluctant school

  1. Laura

    Teachers are overworked and they don’t have much support. That is my main feeling as to why they don’t integrate new technologies into their teaching.
    I have five children, four of them in elementary school. My oldest is in fifth grade. I’ve been happy to see a progression at their school, though slower than I would like, from paper to electronic, at least in how they communicate with parents. When she started kinder and her first couple of years, an envelope with all sorts of flyers came home with her. Now, multiply that times four or five. We no longer received those flyers. The principal set up a blog and he is VERY good about keeping it up to date. I subscribed to it so I automatically get alerted when new posts come in. All the weekly flyers are now posted on the blog.
    Additionally, they use several tools to post their work. Last year, my daughter had to post her writings to a site where they all had accounts. She carries a flash drive to school and they save their work there.
    Now, if they could make all those forms at the beginning of the year electronic….this parent would be MUCH MUCH happier!

    Reply
  2. J. Andrews

    I would absolutely encourage any classroom to at least do a group project with Google Docs. It’s worked really well for my past SLIS classes and for co-writing an essay with a friend for publication in a book. (Here’s a hint to make that easier, especially if it’s more than 2 people: Colorcode your edits.) You can even use the Google Doc as a chat window, just by both/all simultaneously typing in it.

    I do like writing longhand for some things, but when my hand gets tired or my thoughts are faster than my writing, I switch to typing. If someone told me I had to handwrite a first draft and then type it, I’d resent it. Sometimes your thoughts just aren’t linear like that.

    Reply

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