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These case studies were commissioned by the Virginia Department of Education during the development of the State Master Plan for Technology. The case studies complement an exhaustive review of the literature also conducted during the development of the Master Plan for Technology. The information found in these case studies makes it possible to approach technology decisions at the school level with a healthy blend of informed instinct and analytical deliberation.
The case studies collected information under three broad categories; an organizational profile, technology profile, and resource profile. Each of these areas were further broken down into sub areas to organize the collection and recording of data. For example, the organizational profile focuses on beliefs and visions; planning; and implementation. The technology profile focuses on technology applications; instructional implications; and instructional practice. The resource profile focuses on training; administrative support; software; facilities; and teachers' administrative uses.
This study was conducted in order to gain a richer understanding of the impact of technology in schools. The team selected schools to survey most basically on the extent of their use of technology. In order to be selected for this study, a school must have had a technology-rich environment for at least two years. A second criterion was the availability of backbone networks at the school. Urban, suburban, and rural schools were all equally considered. The use of technology to support higher-order thinking skills as part of the curriculum was another criterion for selection.
Four sites which met these criteria were decided upon and were visited by four member teams. Case One is a rural high school, Case Two is a suburban middle school, Case Three an urban elementary school, and Case Four is an urban high school. Three members of each team were drawn from the Virginia Department of Education's technology planning team. The fourth member was a faculty member from either Virginia Commonwealth University or George Mason University. A case study protocol (attached) was used by the site teams to guide their observations.
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VCU MERC Publications