Ely High Consolidation

Hi Everyone,

In preparing for this weeks activity our group decided to approach our presentation a little differently. Instead of creating a video for you to view independently we decided to create a situation in which you would be apart of interpreting, analyzing and resolving a situation in which change was imminent. We based our activity on Ely’s(1990)  Eight conditions of change. Each of the four characters ,which you interacted with were experiencing the introduction of the iPads in different ways and as a result this change was effecting them differently. Our goal was to have you figure out which of the conditions were missing from each character and help them to resolve their issues. Change is difficult on an individual level, however this activity looks at how change can effect members of a group differently and what is needed according to Ely (1990) to make the change easier and more acceptable.

Your participation was crucial to making this activity work and we really appreciated that you took your character’s issues seriously. Your suggestions for change were great!

Thank you to all who participated ,

Jen,Amy,Elizabeth and Kris

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Evan Wells- Teacher

I’m a new teacher at Ely High and would like to share my experience in technology implementation in the classroom with you. Having been recently certified I was excited to secure my first full time teaching position at this innovative high school. During our Faculty meetings it was presented that we have received a grant and will be using iPads to deliver content throughout the school year as a pilot project for technology. When I heard this news I could barely contain my enthusiasm because of my background in digital technologies, and the opportunities it was going to afford me while delivering curriculum during the school year.

The first part of the year was successful because of the “new” element of the technology and the excitement surrounding the project from my students. It was evident to me immediately that the “younger” generation has embraced this technology and were eager to utilize it in new and exciting ways. My first major project was to have the students use the iPad as a video conferencing tool by installing the FuzeBox app. The intended outcome of the project was to log into an online community presentation (presented by one of my colleagues in the digital technology field) and participate in a dynamic and collaborative video chat. I had done a similar thing during my studies and was common practice working in the digital technologies field, so felt extremely confident in this exercise.

As I prepared to deliver the project I tested the setup with the colleague presenting on two occasions and started to unveil some possible barriers to the success of the project. This first problem is the bandwidth allocated to devices on the network. Without getting into specific numbers, the performance ranged from acceptable to non-functional. The second issue was the uptime of the internal network and the frequent “outages” of our network. I made these issues known to leadership and was assured all of my concerns would be addressed before my project was delivered to the students. I remember walking out of the meeting feeling frustrated about the lack of support and understanding around my needs technically to deliver a collaborative project of this scale.

During the week of the presentation I decided to put away any thoughts about the possibility of failure due to technological issues and return to the belief that the technology is going to open new doors for my students. During class we all downloaded FuzeBox and logged into the appropriate URL for the presentation. Everyone was ready with the exception of 4 students that advised me there were no iPads available to sign out for the presentation. I quickly ran down to the audio/video sign-out room but was told that many of the iPads were signed out and had not been returned for over a week. My only choice at this point was to have the 4 students look on with other students and share an iPad for the presentation. I wanted each student to have the experience for themselves but forged ahead with the online meeting.

As the meeting started my colleague welcomed everyone to the online environment and asked if they would like to share a bit about themselves. This part of the presentation went well and we really started to function well as a community online. As the conversation evolved the students were now looking at different digital content such as videos, 3d animation, and augmented reality. Once we reached this portion of the presentation the network slowed down to a crawl. The students loved the content but were unable to view most of it due to our limitations around bandwidth. It eventually got so bad we had to abandon this part of the presentation. The final part of the presentation was to discuss what types of jobs exist in the technology field. The students were engaged and had an excellent conversation going for about 10 minutes until our network shut down.

This ended our collaborative group project online using iPads and left the students feeling mixed emotions about how this technology works. The project culminates in them writing a short paper on the iPad about the experience. Many students thought the project was “cool” but couldn’t understand why our technology kept failing. The four students without iPads commented on the lack of resources available to them and how it was unfair that other students were able to sign out an iPad for the presentation.

I encouraged this conversation in class and discussed how technology affords us this opportunity but also can cause unforeseen challenges to learning or collaboration. Even though I tried to remain positive in front of the class I felt so upset about the experience that I couldn’t sleep that night. I kept thinking to myself, how can we say we’re a technologically advanced highshool when our network can’t even handle a normal load? How could the AV department run out of iPads unless they are not taking care of the inventory and doing regular maintenance on them? My main concern is how can we say we are effectively demonstrating technological integration when there is no support for the infrastructure and accessibility of this technology. If these failings were related to my implementation of the project I would be devising a new plan for success as I type this but instead I’m faced technological with hurdles out of my control and simply feel defeated by the process. To me it’s simple, if we are going to talk the talk, we better walk the walk and at this point we are barely even crawling.

Joyce MacDonald- Teacher

My name is Joyce MacDonald. I have been a High school English teacher  at Ely High for the past 25 years. I believe that student’s today are completely spoiled. All I ever see is them tapping on those phones constantly. In my day you sat and listened to your teacher and look those students  run the world! My pupils never want to do the work I assign them stating that it’s “too boring” and they don’t get what it has to do with them. Is it so wrong that I want them to learn how write a proper essay and be able to apply proper grammatical techniques to their writing? Lately, things in our school have changed. First, we got these things called “smartboards”. I don’t know what is smart about them, it’s just more work for me taping paper up all the time to write my lessons on. Now, my Principal has been given a grant to buy iPads for the whole school. Just one more thing I have to worry about. I have at least 5 years to go before I retire so I’m hoping to just lay low until it’s all over.

Francine Facil- Board Facilitator

My name is Francine Facil.  I am a facilitator at the board of education.  My job has recently been refocused from working on technology-integration equity between all schools board wide, to focusing purely on Ely High and implementing iPads school-wide for all students, teachers and administrators.  There’s been a big push lately by the Ministry to teach to the 21st Century learner and making the curriculum, and how it is delivered, more relevant by implementing new technologies.  The Ministry has provided a grant to us for a one year test run at Ely.  There’s a lot of pressure on me as the board facilitator; if I am successful then this program will spread, if I fail, the money is taken away.  My board superiors have made it very clear that the success of this program is a top priority.  The school has the technology, but there are a lot of resistors who have no interest in using them. They know that I am available for consultation via email and phone, if they have any questions or concerns they have been told to contact me.  I’ve sent out an email to all Ely staff outlining the pedagogical implications of this technology, the research to back up such a change and the Ministry documents that support the iPads’ use.  I also outlined these same points in a PowerPoint at September’s staff meeting and gave each teacher a FAQ’s sheet.  I have had some very positive feedback from some teachers excited by the potential, but there seem to be more who really can’t be bothered or see the positives that can come from the iPad integration.  I’m feeling so frustrated!

Mrs. Changer, Principal of Ely High

Finally some progress after all the paper work I have filed for this grant! The teachers better be happy because I went above and beyond the call of my duties as principal to secure those iPads. Now I guess it is up to them to actually use the darn things. I’m sure they will find something to complain about though, always do. I’m just glad I get one too because always wondered what the big deal about tablets was. I have an iPhone so I’m sure it will be a bit redundant, but some videos and text are too small to comfortably read or view on that tiny screen, so I will have a few uses for the iPad. At least when I am out of my office away from my desktop. The wifi in our building is slightly unreliable but my home network is great, so when I’m on the treadmill I can get some work done. Mrs. Changer, Principal of Ely High

Welcome to Ely High a little bit about us…

Ely High, the local urban-based high school of lower socio-economic status, has been given a large government grant to make available an iPad for every student, teacher and school administrator. The grant includes funding for the technology, appropriate apps to be set up on all iPads, and funding to have a board facilitator liaison with the school staff during implementation. The goal is to promote technological use and increase accessibility for all students.  The expectation is that the iPad is to be integrated into everything including curriculum, assignments, assessments, homework, agenda and organization etc., with no exceptions.  The government and the board of education are hopeful that the utilization of the technology will increase literacy and numeracy skills, make students’ learning more relevant and meaningful and in turn raise standardized test scores.  The government has given the school board one year to demonstrate effective implementation of this technology at Ely High.  Should the board be unable to demonstrate effective technological integration, the funding will be withdrawn.  If they are successful, more schools within the board will receive a similar grant.