During parts of November and December of last year, the public was asked to provide responses to a number of questions poised by the Ferndale School District in the Technology Levy Survey.
According the School District, the purpose of the survey is to
“ask the community for feedback about the role of technology in education.”
There are references to the 2015 Proposed Technology Levy in the survey results as well.
According to the survey results, a number of means of repeatedly contacting and requesting public feedback were utilized including email, social media, flyers sent home with students and a postcard mailed to over 15,000 residential and business addresses. The results indicate that there just over 600 participants of which more than one-third were identified as employees of the School District (one respondent was identified as submitting over two-dozen surveys which all but one were excluded).
Questions in the survey included:
- How important do you believe it is for students to get the information they need at any time from anywhere?
- How important do you believe it is for students to have access to a computing device (laptop, tablet, etc.) in the classroom?
- How important do you believe it is to provide teachers with current resources and devices to integrate technology into their teaching and differentiate instruction for students?
- How important do you believe it is for students to learn how to collaborate with others?
- How important do you believe technology is in fostering student engagement and collaboration?
In the published results of the survey, the School District identifies the following “common themes” derived from the results of the above questions:
- While participants overall see the value of using technology in the classroom to support learning, many feel that more emphasis should be placed on general skill development (collaboration, conflict resolution, critical thinking, problem-‐solving, etc.).
- Several participants stressed the importance of maintaining a balance between technology and face‐to‐face instruction and collaboration.
- Participants would like to see greater guidelines for students on when and how to use technology. Many feel devices (tablets, computers, smart phones, etc.) have distracted students from their learning.
- Participants feel greater technology support for teachers (professional development opportunities, IT support, etc.) and students is needed.
The conclusions published in the survey results detailed a number of “next steps:”
- In response to the need for the School District to communicate about how technology is being used to support learning, a “technology news tidbit” will be published weekly via social media. Information about the School District’s use of technology will be provided to local news media as well.
- A new “Teaching & Learning with Technology” showcase event will be provided to provide the community an opportunity to see first-hand what teachers and students are doing with technology.
- To address other questions raised, the School District will continue to track and report the impact of technology on teacher instruction, student achievement and district technology expenditures.
- Provide the information to the School Board as they work to decide if and when to have voters consider a new Technology Levy to replace the one that expired at the end of 2014.
Parents may find it interesting that the top 5 most popular means of communication from the schools to parents, according to survey results (in order):
- Postal mail
- Electronic newsletter
- Automated “robo” caller
- District website