September 1, 2002
This report presents the findings from Year Two of an evaluation of the Intel Teach to the Future professional development program. This evaluation, conducted by CCT, focuses exclusively on the U.S. implementation of this international program.
Our evaluation indicates that Intel Teach to the Future has had a considerable impact on the ability of a large majority of participating teachers to integrate technology into their classroom teaching, on the vision and practice of the use of instructional technology in schools with a large number of Participant Teachers, as well as on the technology-related policies of those districts in which Intel Teach to the Future has a presence. Our report is organized around these three levels of impact, discussing relevant research findings in relation to each one, and concluding with a synthesis and discussion of these findings and recommendations.
KEY FINDINGS: TEACHERS AND THEIR TEACHING
- Teachers leave their training feeling significantly more prepared to use technology than they did before training. Eighty-eight percent of participants felt "moderately" or "very well" prepared to support their students in using technology in their schoolwork at the end of their training, and 88% felt "moderately" or "very well" prepared to integrate technology into their curriculum / integrate technology into the grade or subject level they teach. Both of these are significant gains over teachers' perceptions of their abilities in these areas prior to participating in Intel Teach to the Future.
- Teachers follow up on what they learn in Intel Teach to the Future. A large majority (78%) of trained teachers report that they have implemented all or part of the unit plans they developed in their training. A majority (60%) of those who did not implement a unit plan reported implementing some other technology-rich activity in their classrooms after their training.
- Teachers are experimenting with new practices. Both case studies and survey data suggest that teachers are often focusing on research- or project-driven curricula for their students' technology use.
- Teachers are using a wider range of software with their students. In addition to an increasing number of teachers using software featured in the training, there was notable growth in the number of teachers using software other than Microsoft PowerPoint and Publisher.
- Access to technology continues to be a substantial obstacle. Intel Teach to the Future participants report having access to a greater number of computers in their classrooms than the national average, but negotiating adequate computer time for students to do their work is nonetheless a major challenge for these teachers.
- Teachers are actively exploring how to assess their students' technology-rich work. Intel Teach to the Future participants are beginning to make use, or are making greater use, of assessment tools such as rubrics, but are struggling to understand how to adequately assess the content and design of technology-rich student work.
KEY FINDINGS: SCHOOLS AND TEACHER COHORTS
- Important support networks often emerge around Master Teachers. Master Teachers often help to create a support structure in the schools in which they work, offering both technical and instructional assistance to teachers attempting to implement technology projects in their classrooms.
- Within-school teacher cohorts support each other in concrete ways. Participant Teachers support one another's efforts by pooling technology resources, making their own classroom computers available to colleagues, and working together on lesson design.
- "Critical mass" leads to new demands on resources. In schools with a large number of Intel Teach to the Future participants, the increase in teacher demand for computers in their classrooms, or access to computer labs, is putting strains on previously underused or adequate technology resources.
- Trained teachers are seeking further training and schools are responding. Some schools with a large number of Participant Teachers are helping these teachers build on their skills by dedicating some staff development time to in-service technology professional development.
- Administrative support is important, but varies widely. Administrators offer different levels of support for integrating technology in their schools. The primary forms of administrator support are the provision of technical resources and technical support personnel.
KEY FINDINGS: SCHOOL DISTRICTS
- Intel Teach to the Future helps to grow leadership. Many Master Teachers and some Participant Teachers are assuming leadership roles in their districts. Master Teachers who already had leadership roles are explicitly building on their Intel Teach to the Future experience to shape developing district technology policies.
- Districts are adapting technology plans, moving beyond a focus on procurement to emphasize supporting instructional use of the technology. The approach to educational use of technology embedded in the Intel Teach to the Future curriculum is influencing district technology planning in multiple areas, including budget planning, infrastructure design, and Internet access policies.
- Districts are shifting professional development offerings away from skills training and toward curriculum integration. Intel Teach to the Future has also influenced the way some districts are approaching professional development. Where once technology training meant one-shot workshops on specific software programs, districts are now designing professional development that focuses on integrating technology into the curriculum and linking technology-rich lessons to standards.
- Districts are often unable to provide adequate support. Many districts lack the resources to provide adequate technical support to a rapidly growing base of technology-using teachers; to equip all computers with software as up-to-date as that used in Intel Teach to the Future; or to provide adequate hardware and Internet connectivity in teachers' classrooms.