Lone Star 2000: Documenting Successful School or University Teaching and Learning

DR. DENNIS M. HOLT, Director Lone Star 2000 Project University of North Florida Jacksonville, Fla. KAREN LUDWICK, Teacher Cornerstone Christian Academy Ponte Verde, Fla. PAULA McALLISTER, Teacher Educator Duval County Public Schools Jacksonville, Fla. There is considerable concern among educators and ordinary citizens about the quality of teaching and learning taking place in America’s public schools. The debate over the failures of public education frequently fills daily newspapers and popular news magazines. Clarion calls for tuition vouchers, charter schools and schools run by free enterprise capture the imaginations of politicians. In what ways should these concerns be addressed, and by what means? Should we use nationally-normed tests, based on new, national standards? Should we use state-normed tests, based on state standards? Or should new assessment tools be employed, such as student and teacher portfolios? Solutions must be found to help convince the public that classroom-based educational reforms are occurring in ways that work. Examples of New Approaches The purpose of this article is to provide examples of new approaches to teaching and learning, those which use some of the best available curriculum and educational technologies. We believe the strategies employed by participants in Lone Star 2000, our K-12/ higher education partnership, address the national debate over education’s problems and inherent criticisms. We think new hope is offered by newly available solutions to some of the problems confronting America’s schools and teacher-education programs. These new approaches provide innovative and effective ways of motivating students and teachers to do their best every day. At the same time, these approaches provide opportunities for educational accountability -- by assessing and documenting student achievement through student and teacher portfolios. Lone Star 2000 Project For a third year, IBM Corp., the University of North Florida (UNF) and the Duval County Public School District engaged in a project to bring new educational technologies to selected classrooms within the district. In the 1996 spring semester, ten teachers and ten University of North Florida interns participated in the Lone Star 2000 Project. At the Lone Star Elementary School in Jacksonville, Florida, three interns were assigned to first-grade teachers, one to a second-grade teacher, and two interns to fifth-grade teachers. At the Fletcher Middle School in Jacksonville Beach, four interns were assigned to four social studies teachers. Three UNF faculty members served as intern supervisors for the project. In January and February the teachers and interns were trained by a specially selected teacher. Paula McAllister, a Duval County teacher on special assignment with IBM, provided three days of training on IBM products. This covered PC hardware and selected IBM courseware: Teaching and Learning with Computers (TLC), IBM’s approach to instruction; and, LinkWay Live!, an IBM multimedia authoring system. Training included hands-on instruction in computers, a large-screen projection device, CD-ROMs and selected, curriculum-based courseware. Teachers and interns learned to use LinkWay Live! to produce electronic portfolios with text, graphics and sound to demonstrate their technology skills and display examples of the portfolio’s products they assisted their students in creating. The focus throughout the training, and the project, was on passing the technology skills and experiences on to the students as quickly as possible. UNF faculty and directing teachers at the school sites guided interns helping them make the connections to selected curriculum and instruction. The two school principals and the educational technology specialist at the middle school actively supported the project. Project Goals Some specific goals of the Lone Star 2000 Project were to: 1.Build a community of learners that affects real change in teaching and learning outcomes. 2.Help create exemplary classrooms that make educational technologies available to students. 3.Contribute to development of an exemplary teacher-education program. 4.Effectively educate K-5 and 6-8 students in selected curriculum areas using educational technology and document the work using portfolios. 5.Effectively educate elementary education pre-service teachers in new approaches to teaching and learning using educational technologies. 6.Create a framework for classroom instruction that accommodates selected outcomes legislated in Florida’s Blueprint 2000 and recommended in America 2000. 7.Incorporate Teaching and Learning with Computers (TLC) into classrooms and document students’ work via electronic folders. 8.Strengthen the link between partner school participants, including K-12 educators and students, families, university faculty and students, community professionals and volunteers. 9.Use authentic assessment tools to evaluate teaching and learning outcomes.


Semester Goals Project goals for the 1996 spring semester were to: Provide concentrated instruction to interns and directing teachers in the uses of specific educational technologies, and Facilitate transfer of the new knowledge and skills to students as efficiently and effectively as possible to guide classroom teaching and learning outcomes. Spring's Objectives The objectives of the spring semester project were to enable participants to: Learn to use multimedia computers for producing multimedia presentations and instructional activities. Learn what software, courseware and related technology-based materials were available for classroom teaching and learning activities and how IBM’s TLC (Teaching and Learning with Computers) approach facilitates their effective use. Become familiar with the technologies necessary to use a single computer to present whole-class instruction and to successfully conduct a lesson using it. Demonstrate skill in the use of CD-ROM technology. Learn how the multimedia presentation tool LinkWay Live! can enhance teaching and learning in the classroom via creation of materials that include text, video, sound and graphics. Use LinkWay Live! to create electronic portfolios showing what interns learned about educational technologies. Portfolios included such things as: pictures of the intern, the directing teacher, the class, the school, the classroom layout; a diary of the technology training and intern experiences, highlighted with sound and pictures; sample lesson plans; samples of student folders, etc. Assist students in creating electronic LinkWay Live! folders that document their new technology skills, as well as their knowledge of the subject matter. These folders included student art, student- produced text, voice and pictures. Courseware Overview In January 1996, under the auspices of Ruth Ann Smith, IBM donated new computer courseware for use in the project. Included in the courseware installed on Lone Star’s computer network were IBM’s Write Along and Exploring Math Concepts - Levels I, II, and III; Cornerstone; Student Writing Center; and LinkWay Live! programs. Each participant at Lone Star Elementary used a multimedia networked computer in their classroom. Each classroom had one IBM PS/2 Model 55 computer, with a CD-ROM drive, plus four other PCs, either an IBM Model 25, or EduQuest 30, 35 or 40. Technical support for networking and software installation was provided by IBM. Part of the technical support was purchased by the school and the remainder donated by IBM. At Fletcher Middle School the interns’ classrooms were provided with IBM’s Columbus: Encounter, Discovery & Beyond and LinkWay Live! packages. The principal, Dr. William English, provided computers for the four collaborating classrooms. Each intern had one IBM Model 55 computer with a CD-ROM drive to use for the project. One IBM Model 55 was equipped with a Matrox video card, which was necessary to operate the Columbus courseware and used in conjunction with a Pioneer Model 6000 videodisc player. Fletcher Middle School’s technology specialist, Lo Marinelli, also installed the project’s courseware on networked computers in a lab for training purposes, and provided help for interns and directing teachers. Describing the Courseware Lone Star Elementary School participants used the courseware described below. Write Along is designed to give K-2 students a tool to write along with their study of subjects in the curriculum. It is designed to help young writers express themselves, encouraging them to elaborate and edit their work. As a natural means of expression, students can draw and color their work. The courseware is based upon recognized research in the area of writing development. In addition, pictures and stories from Write Along could be imported into LinkWay Live! for inclusion in student portfolios. Exploring Math Concepts - Level I is designed to give K-2 students an introduction to beginning mathematics. Levels II and III are designed to give students in grades 3-6 an understanding of whole numbers, decimals and fractions. Over 200 structured and exploratory math activities are presented. Open-ended learning environments provide students with "what-if" exercises. The courseware is designed to parallel education reforms outlined by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Cornerstone provides grades 3-5 students with a unique five-step approach for assessment, practice and mastery of basic language skills. Included are 175 lessons in capitalization, punctuation, grammar and usage and spelling. The five-step approach includes practicing the skills in a standardized test format, a highly motivational enrichment activity, and a take-home activity for further practice. The Student Writing Center is a writing and publishing program designed to help grades 3-5 students to create reports, letters, newsletters, journals and signs. It combines a full-featured word processing and easy desktop publishing with specially designed student features, such as a bibliography maker, grammar and writing tips, and design suggestions for signs and newsletters. Student- and school-oriented graphics make it interesting and motivating. Fletcher Middle School participants used Columbus: Encounter, Discovery and Beyond. This highly interactive, multimedia-laden program from IBM allows students in grades 6-8 to discover the people, places and events, art, history, culture and science of the Renaissance and investigate the influences these events had on North American history and culture. Participants at both schools used LinkWay Live! -- an easily learned multimedia presentation tool that allows students and teachers to present subject matter of any kind in a creative electronic format. Content can include text, sound, graphics and incorporate video input from a videodisc player or VCR. Outcomes, So Far During the semester, two teachers received awards from the Duval Educational Foundation, Inc. Their awards supported the goals of the project. To assist the first-grade teachers with computer-based instruction for their students, Cheryl Claxton facilitated the training of nine parent volunteers to help students with the computer courseware. Lynda Dresch received funds to purchase supplemental mathematics materials to accompany the Math and More I courseware. UNF interns produced LinkWay Live! folders that demonstrated their skills in using the technology. Included were pictures of themselves, their students, the school, their resumes and credentials, spoken commentary, and selected examples of work produced by their students. With the cooperation of a classroom parent, Shelley Cain, one first-grade teacher’s assistant, Connie Mickelson, created a system to track student progress on the mathematics curriculum courseware. This system was a valuable tool for interns and teachers in tracking students’ progress, helping evaluate the courseware’s effectiveness on student learning. Summary Throughout the semester, the university-school partnership produced structured, supervised classroom experiences for pre- service teachers, which included uses of educational technologies and portfolios to document successful teaching and learning. The partnership enabled the participants to work toward goals that resulted in enduring innovations, affecting the way teachers and interns taught, and students learned. The partnership also provided a framework for restructuring the teacher-education program and strengthened school programs and curricula. The Lone Star 2000 partnership enabled participants to discover that when groups composed of corporations, university and public school personnel work together within partner schools, barriers come down; visions and perspectives change; and the corporations, schools and the university are opened to permanent change. Dennis Holt is a professor and chair of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and Human Services at the University of North Florida. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He is director of the Lone Star 2000 project. (IBM received awards in 1995 and 1996 for their contributions to the innovative uses of instructional technologies for the improvement of teaching and learning in language arts, mathematics and science and social studies). E-mail: [email protected] Karen Ludwick is a teacher at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of North Florida. She participated in the 1996 project during her internship in a first grade classroom at Lone Star Elementary School. Paula McAllister is an instructional technology trainer with the Duval County Public Schools’ Professional Development Department in Jacksonville, Florida. She received her master’s degree from the University of North Florida in elementary education with a concentration in computer education. During the past three years she was on special assignment as an education instruction specialist for IBM. She actively participated in the project as a technology trainer for interns, parents and teachers. Products or companies mentioned: All the courseware mentioned is available from IBM K-12 Education, Atlanta, GA, (800) IBM 4EDU, www.ibm.com Matrox Graphics, Inc.., Dorval, Quebec, Canada, (800) 361-1408, www.matrox.com/mga Pioneer New Media Technologies, Long Beach, Calif., (800) LASER-ON, www.pioneerusa.com Related sources & references: 1.Belk, J., Calais, G., & Shaver, J. (1994),"Portfolio Assessment in Reading and Writing: Linking Assessment and Instruction to Learning," National Forum of Applied Educational Research Journal, 8 (1), pp.48-51. 2.Bernhardt, V.L. (1994), The School Portfolio: A Comprehensive Framework for School Improvement, Princeton Junction, NJ: Eye on Education, Inc. 3.Collins, A. & Dana, T. (1993), "Using Portfolios with Middle Grades Students," Middle School Journal, pp.14-19. 4.Colwell, R.J. (1994), "Authentic Assessment and Portfolios: What Do They Measure?" Special Research Interest Group in Measurement and Evaluation, Boston, MA: New England Conservatory, 16, pp.1-10. 5.Gellman, E.S. (1992), "The Use of Portfolios in Assessing Teacher Competence: Measurement Issues," Action in Teacher Education, XIV (4), pp.


39-44. 6.Goodland, J.I. (1994), Educational Renewal: Better Teachers, Better Schools, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 7.Goolsby, T.W. (1994), "Music Portfolios in Secondary Music Classes: What Do They Measure?" Special Research Interest Group in Measurement and Evaluation, 17, pp.1-20. 8.Hansen, J.H., Floyd, M.B. & Berry, K. (1993), Portfolio Assessment in Teacher Education, Center for the Study of Teaching and Learning, The Florida State University. 9.Holt, D., Holt, L. & Corsano, J. (1994), "Empowering Student Learning with Instructional Technology," Florida Technology in Education Quarterly, 6 (3), pp.42-51. 10.Kelly, T.F. (1993), "Alternative Assessment of Curriculum and Instruction," Quality Outcomes-Driven Education, pp.21-24. 11.Osguthorpe, R.T., Harris, R.C., Harris, M.F. & Black, S. (ed.) (1995), Partner School: Centers for Educational Renewal, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers. 12.Robinson, M. (1995), "Alternative Assessment Techniques for Teachers," Music Educators Journal, pp.28-34. 13.Sherman, E. (1992), "About the Works," Introduction to Portfolios, McDougal, Littell & Co. 14.Van Horn, R. (1996), "Making Multimedia, Part I," Phi Delta Kappan, 77 (7), pp.518-519. 15.Van Horn, R. (1991), Advanced Technology in Education, Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole Publishing. Weimer, M. (1995), "How Portfolios Can Improve Teaching-Learning Connection," The Teaching Professor, 9 (2), p.1.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/1996 issue of THE Journal.