iEducate Delaware: Integrating Technology to Improve Student Learning
On May 1st, we began accepting nominations for iEducate Delaware, an initiative to uncover and share the amazing stories of education leaders across the state. As the nomination window continues through the end of June, we will be posting updates about last year’s honorees and their projects. Rodel invested $2,000 in each of these honorees’ projects to support their work.
Audrey Carey, one of our inaugural iEducate Delaware Honorees and manager of the TAPE program at Indian River School District, shares:
In reflection of implementation of the TAPE program, I am in awe of all we have learned throughout the past two and a half years. The foundation of the grant, Technology Advancing Proficiency in English Language Learners (TAPE), was developed to support the Indian River School District’s and North Georgetown Elementary’s vision of supporting English Language Learners to become proficient in English Language Arts. The program was initially supported by a Title IID, Enhancing Education Through Technology (Ed Tech) Grant, through the Delaware Department of Education.
TAPE focuses on English Language Learners in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade through innovative uses of integrating technology in instruction. We incorporated the use of iPads, SMARTboards and PCs to provide individualized educational opportunities, serve as a tool that promotes collaboration and creates interactive learning for English Language Learners (ELL). This vision was created prior to the actual use of iPads. The team had only briefly seen the advertisements for iPads. We knew however, this was the multi-faceted device that would help incorporate all of our remaining technology infrastructure into a seamless unit and become a true portal of learning for our students. It became just that, but not only for our students but a portal for a new level of instruction for our teachers as well.
A professional learning community (PLC) was developed specifically for the TAPE teachers and district staff to discuss academic goals for the students and help promote professional conversations around a new type of instruction that no one had yet explored. The PLCs were also developed to discuss student data and implementation of an English Language Arts curriculum that aligns with the English Language Arts Core Standards. The TAPE teachers agreed they must be skilled in the technology implemented through the project in order to raise student achievement and a Professional Development plan that incorporated almost a full year of professional development with the teachers using iPads prior to providing students with iPads was developed. The professional development training utilized through the grant incorporated the general use of iPads, ELL applications, how to integrate iPads into instruction, and teachers learned how to utilize iPads in conjunction with SMARTboards. Teachers demonstrated understanding of the professional development by creating instructional units that provide ELL students will differentiate instruction that incorporated technology. This step was vital in creating a strong and long lasting foundation that truly created an instructional shift in the classroom.
Students in the TAPE Program were evaluated both during and at the end of each school year. DCAS data, ACCESS test scores, DIBELS scores and classroom grades were used to evaluate student progress. The ELL students’ individualized improvement plans were adjusted at the end of each semester to ensure that each student was receiving the necessary support they needed to meet AYP at the end of the school year. Teachers were monitored through Learning Walks and provided with individual feedback.
So was the program successful? ABSOLUTELY! The efforts of TAPE raised academic achievement, increased the number of English Language Learners testing out of special services, helped build a bridge between school and home, increased technology literacy for both students and teachers, and created teacher leaders. This is not the end of our successes. With support, the additional funding of the iEducate Delaware grant is helping us sustain the program to continue impacting students. The publicity and support IRSD and North Georgetown received from iEducate Delaware has increased awareness of the innovative instruction that happens in our buildings. Together IRSD and iEducate Delaware support innovate projects that propel students into the 21st Century and provide portals of learning for all students.