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Reflections: EDLD 5362 - Information Systems Management

Posted by Hope Scott on Sunday, June 5, 2011 Under: Internship

Reflections - EDLD 5362 Information Systems Management

Self-Assessment
This class, Information Systems Management, allowed me to get a better look at the importance of student data. I already knew the importance of student data because I was the registrar prior to becoming a teacher. The class confirmed the adage, student data is what pays the bills, plain and simple. We must get this right for everything else to be right. Additionally, I learned that, "Four key ideas continually surface when it comes to making the most of the SIS technology: leadership, communication, training and more training" (Sausner, 2003, Optimizing Existing Technology, para. 1). I think communication should be first on the list. Many times teachers are frustrated while trying to learn to input student information in a system that is not user-friendly. In the case of our district, teacher complains caused the district to move from SASI to Gradespeed. I agree with Sausner that training is extremely important, whether the product is easy to use or not.

This takes me to the next thing I learned. "One might expect that the current crop of high school students -- kids who learned to read even as they learned to click a mouse and hit Enter -- wouldn't think twice about keeping track of their classes online. But the experience at San Ramon's California High School suggests that not everyone in the wired generation is an eager early adopter. The real success of such products rests with the teachers. If they don't update the system at the back end with grades and assignments, the whole exercise becomes pointless. And there is a measure of ambivalence among teachers about Web-based technologies that dissolve traditional boundaries between the living room and the classroom" (Gronke, 2009, Meeting Resistance, para. 1). This was a wake-up call to me; I am one of the teachers the writer mentions. I learned that I need to input grades as soon as I can. I have students who check the system to see what grades they have and what is missing as soon as they enter the lab. They harass me to update my grades rather tactfully by asking me to give them a printout of what they are missing.

Finally, I learned pertinent information about filtering. I already knew the importance of having powerful filtering in place on campus and district computers. I know this because I have a problem with students accessing blocked sites using proxies. I have had several computers with viruses because of these sites. I had a major problem with a virus called "silly something (cannot think of the name because I have not seen it since the first part of the year). This virus reconfigured files by adding its name to the beginning of the file name and creating a shortcut to the file that did not work. We finally figured out how to open files, but not before it infected many computer ports. The article, The Filtering Challenge, points out, "As with anything in life, you get what you pay for. A cheap filter will lack the sophistication to discern between subtle variants of Web sites. It will also quickly become out-of-date. To remain effective, a Web filter's site database must constantly be maintained" (Careless, 2007, 5 The Cheap Filter Option, para. 1). Our district uses a virus scan program that is a joke. We jokingly say that it was probably free. It is like having a big, ferocious looking dog that will do nothing but lick the hand of an intruder! Basically, it is just on the computer to look like it is going to do something important; it does not block viruses. As a matter of fact, the virus overtakes the virus scan program and hijacks the computers! I do not know if the filtering purchased by the district can be considered cheap, but it is definitely ineffective.
 
Learn as a Learner
I enjoyed Week 1 assignment because I had to interview a veteran teacher. Finding time to talk to anyone during TAKS season is rare, but my colleague was willing to share some of her time with me. Week 2 assignment was a little harder to accomplish because of TAKS testing. But, I was able to speak to our technology director. He was able to give justification for the student system we now use, Gradespeed. He, like the other teachers on campus, likes the product. He likes it ease of use, its small learning curve, and that it is compatible with Microsoft Office products. He also said it is aligned with Achieve Texas and the Kuder System.

Lifelong Learning Skills
The Horizon Report opened my mind to great possibilities, especially as it relates to augmented reality (Johnson, Smith, Levine, and Haywood, 2010). This is so awesome to sci-fi lovers like myself. My mind can imagine all of the things I have read about becoming a reality. I would love to see the excitement in a student's eyes as he or she looks at life from another dimension. It would be like Edgar Alan Poe meets Freddy Kruger through time travel. Augmented reality, of all of the other technologies, is the most intriguing. The other technologies, cloud computing, collaborative environments, game-based learning, mobiles, and flexible displays (Johnson, Smith, Levine, and Haywood, 2010), offer accessible avenues for success. Some of these are currently being used. My question is; how can we get teachers to buy into augmented reality? Additionally, how can we get administrators to understand that students are different than they were? What excited them is boring to today's Digital Native student.

Careless, J. (2007). The filtering challenge. Tech & Learning, Retrieved from http://www.techlearning.com/article/7212
Gronke, A. (2009, February). Student information systems monitor kids’ grades. Edutopia. Retrieved on November 17, 2009, from http://www.edutopia.org/student-information-systems-grade-monitoring
Johnson, L., Smith, R., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2010). 2010 Horizon report: K-12 edition. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2010-Horizon-Report-K12.pdf
Sausner, R. (2003, November). Making paperwork fulfilling. District administrator. Retrieved fromhttp://www.districtadministration.com/viewarticle.aspx?articleid=103. Retrieved from Lamar University Epic site.

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Hope Scott I am a Web Technologies teacher. I created this blog as part of my Master of Education in Educational Technology Leadership for Lamar University, Beaumont, Texas.

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