ST1.4: Students use technology resources to conduct research, demonstrative creative and critical thinking, and communicate and work collaboratively. (add pictures)

Self Assessment Rating 3

Bates Middle School students have opportunities to use technology resources to conduct research, demonstrate creative and critical thinking, and communicate and work collaboratively. We became a 1:1 school in October of 2016. Students are issued Chromebooks for use in all of their classes and teachers have received extensive professional development on technology integration for teaching and learning. Teachers have a cart with extra Chromebooks in their classes for students to use. Students use SCDiscus, content-specific websites, Internet searches, online textbooks, and many other digital resources to complete research projects across content areas.

We are a Google Apps for Education district and all students and staff have Gmail accounts. Using the Chromebooks, students collaborate on assignments using Google Classroom, Docs, Slides, and Sheets. For example, students can provide feedback to peers for revision of work within a Google Doc. They can highlight words or phrases, draw circles or other shapes, add comments, or otherwise annotate the assignment for further review.

Our teachers use Google Classroom to facilitate collaboration between students. Google Classroom is used to send and receive assignments, share resources, and survey students. Teachers also use it to post videos and other resources in a flipped classroom manner.

The mathematics interactive program ALEKS is utilized by all of our students. ALEKS uses adaptive questioning to quickly and accurately determine exactly what a student knows and doesn’t know in a course. ALEKS then instructs the student on the topics she is most ready to learn. All of our students also utilize Gizmos on-line simulations in their study of science concepts. Gizmos use an inquiry-based approach to learning that has been validated by extensive research as a highly effective way to build conceptual understanding. In addition, all students have access to USATestprep. USATestprep offers a variety of higher order assessments with our technology-enhanced Performance Tasks. ALEKS, Gizmos, and USATestPrep can be accessed both at school and at home.

After researching a problem, individual students and student groups often create and publish websites to share their work and thinking. The Great Kindness Project challenged all of our Project Based Learning classes to identify, investigate, analyze, and form a solution to help solve a real-world problem. Each student group created an info-graphic display of their research findings. Some students chose to use the online site PIKTOCHARTS while others used VENNGAGE.

As a 1:1 device and Google G-Suite school, technology is embedded into our daily practice, so this indicator is certainly one of our strengths. Students are continually exposed to new ways to use their devices for research, collaboration, and the presentation of information. A walk through our classrooms on any given day will reveal students using a variety of programs and applications as part of the learning process. Professional development is on-going and provided by our district Instructional Technology Specialist. Teachers continually instruct students in the usage of the G-Suite and we also offer a Google Basics course. All of our courses focus on the 4 C’s of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative thinking.

One identified weakness is to ensure school-wide common instructional strategies for student collaboration. To address this issue, we have engaged in the implementation of Kagan strategies school-wide. Professional development is on-going and provided by our district Kagan specialist for the implementation of Kagan in the classroom. Another identified weakness is student ability to effectively research information. To address this, a partnership has been formed with Central Carolina Technical College’s (CCTC) English Department in which the instructors from CCTC will work with our school English and Social Studies Department in instructing students in the ability to adequately research topics and properly cite scholarly sources.