At Hannah Gibbons Cleveland Metropolitan School, I intently observed the technology that was used throughout Mrs. G’s classroom. I also talked with Mrs. G recently and had asked her a few questions pertaining to the “behind the scenes” work involving the technology in her classroom and school. She told me that the curriculum instruction specialist is the go-to person that expects all teachers to integrate certain sites for the students and he sets them up on the application called MobyMax on their iPads. He also refers them to skills navigator on the NWEA website, and when they have professional development days for math, using the site called Eureka, he will turn to Engage New York or ANet for professional development for them. The curriculum instruction specialist for Cleveland Metropolitan School District is Mr. K. The main curriculum instruction specialist for Hannah Gibbons building specifically is Dr. S. Both hold the title of curriculum instruction specialist.
Another person who is in charge of technologies available to advance the learning of students is their library media specialist. Currently, their library media specialist works part time at their school building. Most of the Cleveland Schools have a part time library media specialist who goes back-and-forth from one school to another in the Cleveland district. Both the curriculum instruction specialist and the library media specialist help with the placement and use of technologies for the learning of the students. In my experience at the school I have seen Mr. K and Dr. S, the curriculum instruction specialists, to be more of help with the technology aspect of Mrs. G’s classroom. They also turn to Mr. B for assistance with the technology, who is an intervention specialist for K-5 and is a testing coordinator.
Anytime the school has new things happening, such as a resource from an online site or a new piece of technology, Mr. K and Mr. B get acclimated to it first and then they show the teachers in the school. Otherwise, there are times when someone from the company the product or application itself came from will actually come out to Hannah Gibbons and give the teachers a professional development.
In terms of what technology is offered and provided to the students in Mrs. G’s third grade classroom is 10 iPads total, and then 6 desktop computers in the back of their classroom. Mrs. G uses the 10 iPads every day, usually in center time and it is expected by their principal that they are used weekly during rotations. She has a separate rotation in centers called “Interactive” which is on the iPad. The cart of the iPads is located in the 2nd grade classroom, this cart has a total of 40 iPads for grades K through 3. Each grade gets 10 iPads. These iPads are maintained and upgraded yearly. The 6 desktop computers all have internet and are used during rotations as well, called “computers.” The headphones they use for these two types of technology are provided by the school and purchased through the school’s budget. In conclusion, there is not a one to one ratio between the students and technology devices which is different from many other schools.
The iPads and computer desktops are working, and they are available to students when they are permitted to use them. Maintenance on their computers is done once a year. It took them a while to get the iPads back because of having to do upgrades and such. There was no money in their budget for the iPads, so they just got them about a month ago. When they do have any technology issues with computers, smart boards, or iPads they have to go to headquarters with it. They put in a “ticket” online and somebody comes out and handles it. Sometimes you will see a person in the building multiple days in one week because Hannah Gibbons is a PreK through eight building.
For the families themselves, they are not responsible for paying for anything or providing any technology devices for their children. The parents just have to sign a form that says that their child is allowed to use it and they understand the nature for what they are using as well as understand that there are rules for using the technology that the students are expected to abide by.
As far as blocking certain aspects on the iPad or computer, that is all controlled by headquarters. They do a good job of it, says my cooperating teacher. Also, Mrs. G has an application on her teacher iPad that she uses to make sure students are all on the right application and not going off task and playing games. She also has the power on that app to lock students in apps, so they are not able to switch between applications. She does this during center time, I even did it. Students iPad screens are locked on SeeSaw application, so they do not go and play games. Mrs. G also said that they are required to change their passwords on their computers every 60 days.
All in all, the people with the best information centered on technology are Mr. B, Mr. K and Dr. S. All of these employees at Hannah Gibbons have the most knowledge of what needs to be implemented on the students’ iPads and desktop computers. They provide the basis for what students can access, along with the headquarters. Throughout my observations, I was able to see the desktop computers and iPads be used each and every day during their center rotation, I even would go to the second-grade classroom to pick up the 10 iPads for her class. Technology at Hannah Gibbons is very straight forward, yet very involved in the overall learning of each student.