September 1, 2002
The Regional Education Technology Assistance (RETA) program has completed its fourth year of program activities, addressing many of the goals outlined in the original project proposal. The program offers professional development opportunities to educators across the state of New Mexico in the integration of technology into academic content. The program also emphasizes developing regional expertise among classroom teachers who can act as peer technology experts in their communities. In addition, the program addresses issues of education technology policy at a statewide level and provides resources to pre- and in-service teachers through partnerships with institutions of higher education at several Regional Resource Centers throughout the state. The program works to reach teachers of students who are often underserved by more traditional professional development efforts.
The RETA program has achieved many of its goals. Below are some of the most striking findings from the Year Four Evaluation.
After Participating in RETA, Teachers Changed What They Did in Classrooms
- RETA teachers increased the kinds of technology they used, such as computers, video cameras, scanners and digital cameras.
- RETA teachers increased the kinds of software packages they used, including word processing, spreadsheet, World Wide Web surfing software, educational software, CD ROM.
- RETA teachers increased the frequency with which they used technology.
- More RETA teachers provided professional development to peers.
- RETA teachers increased the frequency with which they assisted peers with software and hardware problems.
- RETA teachers increased the frequency with which they discussed technology-related curriculum with peers.
- RETA teachers attended and presented at professional conferences more often after participating in RETA.
Teachers Altered What Their Students Did in Classrooms
- RETA teachers had their students use technology more often.
- RETA teachers had their students use a greater variety of software applications.
- RETA teachers increased their use of curriculum units integrating technology into classroom content.
- Students of RETA teachers engaged in group activities more often after their teachers participated in RETA.
Changes in State Policy and Practice
The RETA program directly affected multiple changes in state policy including:
- Drafting statewide teacher technology standards
- Raising expectations that funded programs collaborate with state agencies and other efforts
- Preparing educators for future demands on teachers in areas such as data-driven decision-making and assessment
- Preparing educators to secure and make best use of E-Rate funding
- Supporting and encouraging women and minorities to take on educational technology leadership roles
- Altering the funding formula to improve the use of state technology funds.
RETA Addressed the GPRA Indicators
Indicator 2.3: Demonstrate that the professional development model results in improved instructional practice.
The RETA program has identified multiple statistically significant findings using matched pair analysis from data collected through pre- and post-surveys and structured observations that show improved instructional practice among participants.
Indicator 3.3: Demonstrate positive impact on Curriculum
RETA has developed and revised a vast collection of curricular materials that address a range of content and effective uses of technology in ways that are accessible and can be implemented in a range of age and ability settings. Many of the units developed address culturally relevant issues for the state of New Mexico, such as Native American, Spanish and American history. All the curriculum modules address statewide learning standards. In addition, RETA has developed modules that are available in Spanish, and some that incorporate the Navajo language. Over 75 percent of RETA participants indicated that they used some or all of a RETA module while teaching during the past year.