B.L.A.D.E. Program - S.T.E.A.M.
Cleveland Middle School will continue to expand 1 to 1 student technology opportunities and classroom integration. (BLADE Project).
Technology has long been a priority of Cleveland City Schools. The school board and administration have dedicated funds and resources to ensure technology is available for all students.
With the creation of the BLADE Project, a focus on technology has become even more paramount. Currently, every student has access to a laptop, and 95% take the laptops home. This enhances classroom lessons and allows for teachers to engage students in ways that were previously not possible.
A focus on the technology initiatives has been on transforming learning. TPACK and SAMR theoretical frameworks have been used as a guide in teacher trainings (called Tech Mastery Mondays). In Tech Mastery Mondays, teachers meet weekly with the BLADE facilitator and work on planning, delivery, and assessment of instruction.
Access to digital curriculum resources are a continuing area of challenge. Cleveland Middle School is in its third year of BLADE implementation. Though teachers have access to a wide array of pedagogical tools, CMS will expand its digital curriculum resource oerings.
Classroom resources such as DyKnow have had wide-adoption. Additionally, access to the digital resources of Curriculum Associates is available and widely utilized. Furthermore, new textbooks provide new digital resources in science such as interactive labs. Cleveland Middle School will work with its new social studies vendor to integrate Canvas and its curriculum resources into one package. Other software that could add to curriculum resources include Insert Learning where teachers can put learning activities into non-ction texts and primary sources of historic documents and articles they nd online.
INTEGRATION OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM
Every student is provided a personal laptop device (Chromebook) that they can utilize at school and at home. All classrooms have access to a wireless infrastructure to connect students with the broader available academic resources. The school/system purchases several academic resources that students utilize online including, but not limited to, iReady, Study Island, GoGuardian, Kami, Canvas, and more. A challenge with student access to technology is wireless at home. Though students can complete assignments oine, there is still an advantage to having Internet access at home. To that end, Cleveland Middle School, through the BLADE program, has 10 Kajeet hotspot devices that can be checked out from the library to enable wireless Internet access for student computers at home. Additionally, the BLADE program has partnered with local businesses that display the "BLADE sticker" on their door to indicate that they will allow our students to utilize their Internet.
Canvas LMS is a full-featured learning management system that allows teachers to manage both synchronous and asynchronous content delivery and testing. The previous LMS, Blackboard, was determined to be ineffective for managing the dynamic environments of today's classrooms. The new LMS allows for LTI integrations with several key product vendors such as Google's G-suite, Nearpod, and more. Though the LMS is known for its easy implementation, training will be the catalyst that helps spread adoption of the platform.
Cleveland Middle School is varied in its Canvas use. Most teachers are using an LMS (either Google Classroom or Canvas). This is the primary goal. However, there is a growing interest in Canvas. Once teachers have received training, implementation should follow as a natural extension. Ongoing, job-embedded professional development and teacher support will be critical to the platform's success.
It is the hope of Cleveland Middle School that the teachers will leverage classroom to utilize 21st-century teaching methodologies that empower students to learn at the area of their greatest need and at their own pace. With less than 50% of students performing on grade level in all core content areas, new teaching methodologies will help improve our students on track or mastered. Examples are flipped classroom lessons and re-delivery/re-teaching of content will be more easily accessible to teachers and students thanks to the capabilities of the program.
Project Based Learning (PBL) is a constructivist instructional approach where students are engaged in meaningful inquiry of personal interest to them and where collaboration and personalized learning are emphasized. Research confirms that PBL is an effective and enjoyable way to learn and develop deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career and civic life.