AnthroTech Assessment

Essential question(s): What attitudes toward the use of technology are present in my educational environment? How does this environment function as a technology culture?

Objective(s): To complete the AnthroTech Assessment research form, which will help you understand your educational environment as a technology culture, in practical, legal and philosophical terms.

ISTE NETS Standards

This activity reflects the following standards:

  • 3. Model Digital-Age Work and Learning, particularly b, "Collaborate with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation"
  • 5. Engage in Professional Growth and Leadershipparticularly b, "Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others"

Project Overview

Teachers and educational organizations have educational technology philosophies. Whether they know it or not, teachers have educational technology philosophies. You will have a chance to tell us what yours is in the last assignment for this semester, creating an educational philosophy video.

But organizations also have philosophies. Each educational environment - whether a school, school district, learning organization or department of education - is a unique technology culture driven by its own unique perspective about digital citizen

Overview of this week's activity

ship and the use of technology in teaching and learning. The technology culture of your school will determine what is expected, possible, supported, encouraged and discouraged, for you and your students. It will determine everyone’s rights and obligations, as well as limitations and opportunities, as digital citizens.

Formal vs. informal philosophy. Typically a school has a formal philosophy in the form of a vision and mission statement that sets the direction for an entire school community. Some schools and districts take digital citizenship and technology leadership seriously, and address issues of technology and learning in some detail. Others don’t. The quality of leadership in an organization in large part determines how importantly technology is viewed in an organizational context.

A second, less formal philosophy can be inferred from classroom and school activities. The formal philosophy describes intentions and policy, while classroom activities provide a “dashboard” reading of a school’s actual health. Just as you expose your belief system in the decisions you make that you don’t have time to think about, an organization exposes its core belief’s in the operational decisions it makes about what it supports in classrooms.

What’s your school’s technology philosophy? The goal of this assignment is to understand your school’s technology philosophy. You do this by becoming an anthropologist who seeks to understand the nature of your school community as a technology culture. Find out what technology your school has, who uses it and why, who the technology leaders are, what policies and standards guide technology’s use, and what customs and rituals are observed in relation to using technology in teaching, learning, administration and interacting with the public. The goal is to see the technology culture in which you work, and to understand how technology and digital citizenship are viewed by that culture. Once you have gained that perspective, you have a much better chance of being a successful practitioner.

Assignment: Please download and use the AnthroTechAssessmentGuide 9-1-2015 v2.doc to address a series of questions about the ed tech culture and philosophy where you teach. This file is a Word file so you can just add your answers to it. Downloading it appears to be a two step process. Clicking on the link brings the document up on your screen, then you need to click the the down arrow to actually download it.

The anthro-technology questionnaire has two parts:
  1. 17 questions about the technology, and the attitudes toward technology, in your school. Can you do this with others? Yes! See below.
  2. A reflection part, in which you talk about what you would like to see happen in the future. This you must do on your own. Suggested length is a page.

Approaching the project

Can you work with others in collecting the data? Yes! Please do. If, for example, a number of you work at the same high school, then work in groups (3-4 members max), so you don't have to bug the same people at the high school for answers to the 17 questions that comprise the questionnaire.

Post just one copy of all 17 questions that you collectively produced on Google Docs. Make sure it is clear who helped to create it.

But, each of you must create your own reflection. As explained above, the data collection instrument is in two parts: data collection and reflection. You must do your own reflection.

Bottom line: Collect together, reflect alone!

What to post where

  1. Post responses to questionnaire questions on Google Docs. After your group (or just you, if you are working alone) has collected and synthesized all the information for the 17 questionnaire questions, post just one copy of that on Google Docs.

  2. Post a paragraph about the project on your own ePortfolio. Briefly describe the purpose of substance of the project. Then link to your Google Docs doc from within that description. This will orient readers about this project.

  3. CHANGED since video: Send me your own reflection via email. Because honest research might compel you to say things that might be seen in a negative light about your school, send your reflection directly to me in an email. Suggested length is a page.
How will my assignment be evaluated? Generally I use holistic evaluation, and "check off" grading- if your work is reasonably well-written and you have met the assignment criteria, I will check it off as done. I almost always provide comments. If I feel I need to do a more structure assessment of your writing, then I will use evaluation standards that can be found on the Rubrics and Assessments page.

Why Google Docs?  It's free, open to anyone, easy to use. If you have an alternative to Google Docs, I am happy to consider it.

New to Google Docs? Then watch these short online tutorials about what it is and how to use it.
  • Google Docs Overview , by Common Craft. This is short - under 3 minutes. Start here for an overview of what Google Docs does.
  • How to use Google docs, by eHow. Are you a list person? Then this is for you. It provides written, step by step directions for using Google Docs.
  • How to use Google docs, the video series, by eHow. Are you more a video person than a list person? Then these videos are for you. They are short, generally around 2-3 minutes long. It takes you through most aspects of Google Docs, though you will only need to know what is contained in the first few videos.
Thank you Common Craft and eHow! They provide marvelous, free how-to videos that cover many of the skills you will want to have in terms of using social media and the tools of the Internet. Use them!

Jason Ohler,
Sep 1, 2015, 10:38 AM