Thursday, March 20, 2008

Journal # 7

Briggs, Linda. Technological Immersion Turns Around Texas Middle School. T.H.E. Journal, 3/20/

This article discusses the changes that happened at a middle school in Texas once both the students and the teachers were given access to technology. The school, Marvin Baker Middle School in Corpus Christi, Tx, is a Title I school where over 80 percent of the students qualify for free lunch. The school also houses the Athena Program for gifted and talented students, of which about one third of the students participate in. Three years ago the school received a grant that allowed them to secure laptop computers for every teacher and student. The grant then also allowed for staff development and workshops to enable the teachers to learn the technology and then to transfer that knowledge to the students.
The school credits staff development as the starting point for the changes seen in the school itself. So far the new technology has helped create an environment that allowed for the school to improve it’s testing scores as well as a resultant drop in school violence and disciplinary problems. The grants that allowed for the teacher training and the new laptops came from the Texas Technology Immersion Project which is a public and private partnership between the Texas Education Agency and several vendors including Apple and Dell among others. This article did bring up two questions for me that it did not address.

1. What are requirements for getting into the program, why was this school in particular picked for the grant. I actually dont have an answer for this or the following question. I wonder how invested the companies are when they donate computers and money for this project.

2. What happens when a student or teacher loses, breaks or has their computer stolen, is there any change to recover the property?Again, I dont have an answer for this question either. I would hope that there is some concession made to the students if they cannot replace the computer themselves (which seems very possible in a Title I school) but that there should also be some accountability on the part of the students who are receiving such a wonderful gift.