The Pro Savior's mission is to create an environment in which our students will acquire the education they need to become productive, fulfilled citizens. We plan to accomplish this mission by focusing on the following goals:
" To encourage and support relevant and effective education for all children by recognizing the diversity of our students and addressing all students' educational needs.
" To support the continuous monitoring, assessment and revision of the district's Educational Plan for Student
Success (EPSS), to implement a strategic planning process, and to hold central office administration, principals, and teachers accountable for student achievement.
" To provide appropriate professional development that supports the implementation of a consistent curriculum focused on academic achievement for all students.
" To establish and promote collaborative partnerships between families and the community schools that support the mission of the Pro Savior.
" To develop and implement a 10-year facilities action plan in 3-year modules that maintains and updates facilities and plans for future needs.
" To establish the conditions to attract and retain the highly-qualified and diverse personnel required to support the increased academic achievement of our unique student population.
The teachers in the schools language arts department work hard to meet many instructional goals. We want to ensure our students are prepared for life after high school whether they plan to continue their post-secondary education, enter the military or immediately join the work force. Students who plan to continue their schooling need to have the advanced reading, writing, and research skills necessary for success on future assignments; however all students must have these skills to become productive, fulfilled citizens. The use of technology, especially computers, is now a reality of daily life. Someone who is not familiar with computers is also at a disadvantage in many situations.
Computers should be used as tools to attain our instructional goals. We want to help our students become comfortable with basic computer tasks, like word processing and Internet searching. Language arts students can also use computers as tools when creating presentations with programs like PowerPoint. In doing this, students will gain confidence in their skills and be able to express their creativity more freely. Because the students enjoy working with computers, they will also work hard on their assignments and take great pride in the high-quality work they create. This kind of motivation is invaluable and carries over into all aspects of a student's life. It will help students learn the skills and self-confidence they need to realize their dreams.
In order to meet the needs of the diverse student population, increased access to computers is essential. As members of the language arts department, we are requesting the funding to purchase 30 computers on a mobile cart with Internet access, a printer, a multimedia projector, and the software used by the language arts and media classes (Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe PageMaker, and Dreamweaver). Training in these programs would also be crucial. Purchasing a mobile lab containing this equipment is the most feasible solution because it eliminates the need for a separate classroom dedicated to this use. Teachers in the language arts and media departments could check out the mobile classroom as needed. This would free them from scheduling restraints and allow them to teach in their own classrooms. With the benefit of using computers in an environment in which students are already comfortable and the flexibility to use these computers easily without traveling to another location, the mobile cart allows teachers to attain higher student achievement and an eventual increase in graduation rates.
Different Foundations grant provides funding in the special niche that our program is trying to address. Partnering with the Foundation would allow our team to provide find solutions for our students while achieving the Foundation's mission to overcome "problems that impede educational systems today" in "classroom teaching and learning...with specific activities in the ...secondary classroom." Compared to a grant for a larger institution, ours is small monetarily, but we believe it touches the center of our school's larger problem regarding computer access and availability and also addresses the universal problem of providing life skills to all students.
Technology Needs Assessment
Our plan is to have 9-12 grade high school in per class. We shall serve 2440 students: African-Ugandan, 90%, and 10% Asian. Free or reduced-price meals are provided for 36.4% of our students, and 110 receive bilingual education services. Seven hundred and twenty-two students receive special education services, 35.3% of these are gifted students receiving Advanced Educational Services (AES).
The Pro Savior mission statement explains that the purpose of our school is to help students become productive, fulfilled citizens. To help us make the mission statement a reality, the school has established improvement goals:
" To increase student achievement in all content areas to exceed and meet state and
" To maintain student daily attendance rate at the state exemplary standards.
" To decrease student dropout rate to meet the state exemplary standards.
" To increase parent and community involvement to support student learning.
" To increase senior graduation rate to meet the state exemplary standards.
Various Advanced Placement courses are offered as a structured curriculum for all students that challenge them to achieve academically. Our school also has an extensive AVS (area vocational school) program that partners with different schools to allow our students to receive dual credit in both high school and college for the classes they complete that fulfill the requirements of this program. This initiative provides hands-on job skills for students and makes completing post-secondary training more realistic and feasible for many students who would not otherwise go to college.
Pro Savior is fortunate to have a Chairman, Sarfraz, who is computer savvy and works to make technology integration possible. He eagerly pursues grants for our school and advocates to bringing district funds and money to our site. Our frustration lies in part with the rules of eligibility for technology money and the simple "supply versus demand" factor. Our district, also has a technology and instruction specialist, M. Sadiq, who helps teachers acquire funding and training that encourages technology integration.
Our district and school site each have an Educational Plan for Student Success (EPSS). The main goal at our school is to lower the dropout rate and improve test scores. Technology planning would fit in with this process by motivating those students who are interested in computers and new software, but who do not do well in a traditional, lecture-based classroom. Students' interest in assignments and rate of assignment completion increase when technology is part of an assignment. Current high school students do not know a world without computers. They are comfortable with technology and enjoy using computers as tools to create high quality work. The students' excitement increases when teachers simply mention using the computers to complete certain assignments. If more students are motivated to complete assignments because of technology, grades improve and graduation rates increase.
The existing student access to technology is severely limited. Excluding several classroom labs used by the business department for computer courses, Pro Savior has only one small computer lab. It was actually designed as a career resource center, but we have been allowed to use it for class work as well. It is equipped with few PCs which have Microsoft Word and Internet access monitored by Novell; most of them also have Microsoft PowerPoint. As it stands, all departments on campus share this lab. Because there is not enough time for everyone, it becomes booked months in advance and teachers grow frustrated. Unfortunately, this lab is actually a section of the library and is subject to closure for testing with little or no notice numerous times each year. This means teachers are unable to bring their classes to the lab at their scheduled time and are also unable to schedule a replacement date. Current teacher feeling related to technology integration ranges from wholehearted approval to total apathy. Although every teacher has a classroom computer, the computers are several years old and cannot run many newer programs. Additional computers and equipment are available for instructors of some technology-based courses (such as business, drafting, and media classes), but the access remains insufficient for the number of students enrolled and the hardware is not adequately updated. Some teachers utilize smart boards on a daily basis, but others have never even turned on the computers in their rooms. Some teachers' reluctance may be due to the current impracticality of expending time and energy to integrate technology into their lessons when they know access is so limited. It is clear that having only one computer lab for the many school to use severely limits the students' access to technology and thereby limits their potential for success upon graduation.
Lack of adequate computer access is particularly problematic for students and teachers in the language arts department. Because four English credits are required for graduation, almost 1500 students are enrolled in these courses each semester; the number approaches 2000 when elective classes in the department are included. The current lab situation does not even provide enough access for all of the students to use computers for researching and typing their major writing assignments, let alone any additional activities.
We are currently rewriting our English curriculum, focusing specifically on revising the portfolio system and rubrics currently in use at our site. We are in the initial stages of a district-wide curricular alignment that will continue through 2019. The new curricular plans will be greatly enhanced by the integration of technology. Our students should be able to choose the software platforms that best suit their goals for each assignment. Having a choice between page layout, photo editing, web design, and publishing software would bring a sense of empowerment to these students. Providing them with the knowledge of multiple software packages would also give them real world skills they can use as soon as they graduate.
One of the primary purposes of education is to prepare students for life after high school, regardless of whether they will be entering higher education, the workforce, or the NGO. Dramatic technological advances are creating an increasingly global society. Between financial investments, NGO operations, natural resources, and social services, the UGANDA is linked to people all over the world. It is becoming increasingly common for people to be expected to use the tools necessary for effectively communicating and sharing information across great distances. Computers, in some form, are now used daily by almost everyone in the developed countries. People now encounter basic computer usage each time they use an ATM or purchase something in a store. As a consequence of computer prevalence, students must be given the skills they need to utilize this tool effectively.
One of the goals of Chairman Sarfraz's No Child Left Behind Act to create interactive classrooms that develop the technological skills students will need in the future. It is no longer sufficient to teach computer skills in isolation; they are the means to an end, not the end itself. Students must learn how to use computers as tools in a wide variety of situations. Educators are beginning to understand this distinction as they grow more comfortable utilizing computers as tools in their teaching. According to IBM (2002), computer technology is transforming the way students are taught. Discovery learning is becoming more commonplace as it becomes easier for students to "discover" things. Instead of delivering a lecture or assigning monotonous bookwork, teachers help students find the information independently. Discussions become more meaningful when the students are more invested in the topic and students' interests can be addressed more easily as they find related information or seek answers to new questions. Not only is it easier to find additional information using tools like CD/DVD-ROMs and the Internet, but the information is also more current. Textbooks are generally used for a number of years before schools have the funds to replace them. Although much of the information stays the same, new advancements occur more rapidly in many areas, like science, thanks to the expansion of technology usage. Up-to-date, varied information is also useful in helping students understand current events and learn about the numerous perspectives that exist around the world.
Recognizing the importance of student access to computer technology, schools have traditionally created computer labs. Unfortunately, these labs have often prevented the true integration of computers as tools. When a teacher takes a class to the computer lab, the focus is often on the computers themselves more than on the topic at hand. Through our own experiences, we have also found that taking a class to a lab steals time from instruction because the students must move to the lab and review the operating procedures they need to accomplish the task. Even the many students who have computer access at home do not know how to use every program, and those who use computers only at school forget how to do basic operations if they practice them inconsistently. It has also become more difficult to share these labs as teachers try to use them more frequently.
Administrators have been struggling with computer lab problems for years. Financial restraints prevent schools from upgrading their equipment fast enough to keep up with the technological advances. This frustrates students and teachers who want to utilize new programs that the old computers cannot handle. Administrators must also hire a person to manage the lab or ensure they provide individual teachers with the necessary training to keep the lab functioning. Technology is fantastic when it works correctly, but it can be very difficult to understand and fix all of the problems that arise in a timely manner. The increased usage interest is also creating logistical problems for administrators. Even if the school has the funds needed to upgrade current equipment and add additional machines, the school building has a finite amount of space. Schools are often overcrowded as it is; teachers float between classrooms or teach in portable buildings. Many administrators, including those, are simply unable to spare an existing room to create a new computer lab.
Wireless Computer Networks
One method of addressing this problem is a wireless computer network; Wireless networks allow students and teachers to access the Internet, servers, and printers using laptop computers at any location in the school. Although cheaper than wiring each classroom for few computers, it is costly to run 4G/fibre optic cable throughout the school to create the required wireless access points (the points from which the signals to the laptops originate). The number and bandwidth of wireless access points depend on the range of the signal and the number of laptops being used.
The design and construction of the school building can interfere with wireless signals, resulting in dead zones (which are also caused by competing signals from other types of equipment). Many administrators do not want to deal with the problems that can arise from assigning laptop computers to the students. Students might treat equipment roughly, fail to charge batteries, or even lose the computers. If taken off campus, the computers themselves must be designed to prevent access of inappropriate material and minimize risk of theft. These are a lot of additional issues to be addressed by already busy personnel.
Mobile Computer Labs
An increasingly popular alternative to both traditional computer labs and wireless networks is the use of mobile computer labs. A mobile lab is a large cart which stores and charges 15-30 laptop computers. The carts generally include a printer and a wireless access hub that provides Internet and server access. Other equipment, like a multimedia projector, is often included as well. The cart can be wheeled between classrooms and locked when not in use. This system only requires the minimal work needed to enable the wireless access point in the cart to operate. According our research in various school districts indicates that mobile computer labs offer the most cost-effective solution to computer access problems. Even if it does not initially appear to be a cheaper option, the costs balance out when all aspects of the alternatives are considered. Due to the high costs incurred by wiring numerous classrooms for 30 computers or building new rooms for additional labs, comparison research indicates wireless networks are the way to go. However, the costs associated with installing sufficient wireless access points and the costs of setting up, maintaining, and replacing assigned laptops lead many administrators towards mobile lab carts.
Mobile computer labs provide a solution to many of the concerns associated with traditional computer labs. They provide more equitable access by allowing more students to have additional access to the computing equipment. The carts eliminate the need for herding a group of students to a computer lab because the computers can be easily moved into classrooms, which is "a great advantage" according to Pro Savior, director of career and technology for many schools. The time previously wasted in transit to the lab can be used for instruction and the students' focus returns to the lesson itself. Adapting the tool to the learning instead of adapting the learning to the tool is the true meaning of technology integration. Laptop usage facilitates cooperative learning and integration of technology in learning more than regular computers, "even when desktops are arranged in collaborative clusters. Using the mobile lab in the regular classroom is also helpful because the teacher does not have to make as many changes to the standard class routine. Due to the increased flexibility, mobile classrooms are suitable for various teaching styles, different class sizes, and multi-mode teaching spaces, because the equipment is smaller, mobile labs allow teachers to monitor the classroom more easily and save space.
Mobile Lab Use
Using a mobile lab sounds great on paper, but that is true of many ideas that fail to pan out in real-life settings. The best way to determine whether the benefits of using a mobile lab are purely theoretical, or if the benefits are outweighed by unforeseen drawbacks, is to get feedback from schools that have used them. In December 2015, our colleagues who had spent the year using laptops were surveyed. The overall responses were very positive:
...teachers and students enjoy the greater freedom, mobility and versatility of using
wireless laptops in their own classroom. Teachers commented on the 'better fit' of
laptops in normal size classrooms, the ease of use of wireless laptops for collaboration
and that wireless laptops provided more flexibility for group work. Wireless laptops also
better allowed multiple activities in the same room and more customized learning.
However, the teachers also identified areas of concern: managing battery life, securing laptops from theft, preventing damage to cords or chargers, protecting laptops from excessive wear and tear, and occasional problems with protruding wireless cards. They also suggested things other teachers should consider when purchasing a cart, like weight, maneuverability, stability, and location of chargers, cable management, and cart-loading time.
Some schools has also attempted to increase student computer access by adopting a wireless computer program. They decided to try wireless technology when they realized that they need a sustainable plan that would "truly support the implementation of a technology-based curriculum". The use of mobile computer labs has revolutionized computer access. The 1:1 computer-to-student ratio increased flexibility and allowed students to remain in an environment to which they were already accustomed.
The teachers appreciated the convenience and felt the students benefited by working in the more familiar setting of the regular classroom. The particular set-up they used also allowed teachers to monitor students' activity through a central computer, preventing off-task behavior and access to inappropriate material. Administrators are working towards using a system that would enable teachers to use a wireless keyboard to display any student's screen on a converted large-screen television.
Public high schools are not the only institutions experimenting with mobile labs. The education department purchased mobile labs to offset the lack of adequate access in standard labs. A report published by the education faculty states, "the Mobile Lab facilitates a more natural teaching environment and reduces learner apprehension concerning the use of technology". The educators and students feel the computers blend into the environment, like simply adding another textbook to the desk. To prevent problems with their equipment, students are unable to permanently alter the hard drive. This means the students cannot change settings, save, download, or install things on the computer. A section of the hard drive can be used for temporarily saving files, but the section is wiped clean when the computer is restarted.
Although it means students must save their work in another way, this system is very helpful in protecting the computers. Much less time is required to fix problems that arise when students are prevented from making major changes to the hard drive.
Based on the research and testimony from schools that are using mobile computer labs, wireless computer carts seem to be a logical solution to the problems associated with integrating technology education effectively. It is important that administrators are aware of their current equipment and wiring situation before they decide how to proceed. They must also consider the time required for set-up and maintenance, as well as identify potential problems and establish plans to address those problems. Administrators and teachers would also benefit from getting selection and program advice from colleagues at schools that use mobile labs.
Our primary goal is to provide students with access to technology tools. To accomplish this goal, we have identified the following objectives:
" provide all English students and teachers with the opportunity to use tools and skills that will enable them to efficiently use instructional time
" provide increased opportunities for higher level and alternative thinking in English using technology to support problem-solving and creative thinking
" use technology to support expanded and more measurable assessment efforts, with a particular emphasis on alternative assessment
The hardware and software we are requesting will help us realize these objectives. The central purchase will be a mobile laptop cart (30 computers and locking cart) with dual batteries, wireless network access cards, UPS power supply, and a wireless printer (see Appendix for all budget information). Pro Savior's policies and contracts will determine our supplier and system specifics. We also plan to purchase a Hewlet Packard multimedia projector and the software needed for the language arts and media students (Microsoft Office XP Professional, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe PageMaker, Dreamweaver, and Norton Antivirus) all new versions.
Our project timeline is reasonable and flexible and We plan to share all implementation and training duties. Before the equipment arrives, we will establish check out and usage policies and procedures to ensure everyone in our department have fair access to the computers. When the fund arrives, we will work with our site technician to set up the equipment and establish a maintenance procedure. We will provide members of our department with training as soon as the equipment is ready for use. The plan is to use substitute teachers on four non-consecutive days to provide in-service training for the other teachers in the department during their planning periods. This training will familiarize them with both the hardware and the software, as well as provide technology integration information and ideas.
Once initial training has been completed, we will begin disseminating materials for lessons using the software available on the mobile lab. Although we are currently rewriting our curriculum, we plan to continue encouraging productive technology integration by locating innovative lessons and seeking information and ideas from university personnel. Our grant proposal includes a request for the funds to prepare the information and make copies. We will share this information with the rest of our department at the beginning of each semester (and as needed throughout the year) for the next three years.
Item Description Price
Mobile laptop cart, 30 laptop
computers, & printer $50,000.00
HP Digital Projector $1,299.00
Office XP Professional (30 licenses at $45.00 each) $1,350.00
Adobe Photoshop (30 licenses at $79.95 each) $2,398.50
Adobe PageMaker b(30 licenses at $49.95) $1,498.50
Dreamweaver/Macromedia Studio MX
(30 licenses at $69.95 each) $2,098.50
Norton Antivirus (30 licenses at $20.00 each) $600.00
Installation to enable wireless access point
(40 labor hours at $12.00 per hour) $480.00
Substitute Teachers (8 days at $12.00 per hour) $800.00
Copies for 20 people twice a year for 3 years
(15 pages each time at $0.05 per page) $900.00
Overtime pay for two people
(56 hours each at $15.00 per hour) $1,700.00
Maintenance/Upgrade (3 years at $2,200.00 per year) $6,600.00
Grant Costs (2.3% of every item not over $1,000) $63.94
Total Amount Requested $69,788.44
Technology Needs Assessment
Wireless Computer Networks
Mobile Computer Labs
Mobile Lab Use
Standards and Instructional Support
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