Research Results

Evaluation Report for the Grade 6 IMYM Pilot

February 1999

Prepared by Distance Learning & Information Technologies Unit, Program Development Branch, Manitoba Education and Training

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5.0 Impact of the Project on Instructional Practices

Pilot teachers reported on the impact of the project on their instructional practices. They commented on their role as a pilot teacher, on interdisciplinary instruction beyond the IMYM model, and on their future plans for integrating both technology as a foundation skill and the IMYM model in their classroom.

5.1 Role of Teacher

Most pilot teachers reported that their role in the IMYM classroom had changed from a provider of direct instruction to more of a facilitator of student learning. In this new role, teachers found it necessary to be flexible and to be willing to try new instructional practices. Many teachers indicated that they had difficulty in assessing interdisciplinary student learning because of the need for subject-specific marks on report cards. Several teachers indicated that their increased technology skill level made them more resourceful teachers as well as better time managers, organizers, and trouble-shooters. One teacher reported that he didn’t think he could teach next year if he didn't have access to all the information technology provided with the IMYM project! Pilot teachers also reported they found they had more time to spend with individual students.

5.2 Interdisciplinary Instruction Beyond the IMYM Model

A number of pilot teachers shared the interdisciplinary instruction they had pursued beyond the IMYM model. One teacher indicated that after completing the Inventions, Innovations and Discoveries unit, his students became interested in pursuing a unit on Ancient Egypt. The students began by using the Internet for research and capturing pictures. Students then developed interactive games using Hyperstudio. Several other teachers reported developing units on the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Another teacher reported that his class was currently working on an historical museum project. Their town has a small museum, which has a link to the town home page. The IMYM students took pictures, conducted interviews, and began the process of revising the museum’s web site!

5.3 Future Plans for Integrating Technology as a Foundation Skill and the IMYM Model

IMYM teachers reported that using technology had become very important in planning and conducting their daily lessons. Most reported that they would continue to use the word processor, Inspiration, Hyperstudio, the Internet, and other IMYM software in their lessons. Other teachers described using the Internet extensively to do research while some teachers frequently used literature circles in their classrooms.

Most pilot teachers reported that they would be doing the Inventions, Innovations and Discoveries unit again next school year as well as several other integrated units. One teacher reported that next year he would be doing some interdisciplinary art units (line, texture, and shape) in Hyperstudio. Another teacher planned to develop a unit entitled Larger than Life. Others planned to develop units on the 1999 Pan-Am Games. Some teachers indicated that they didn’t know precisely what interdisciplinary themes or concepts they would use – just that they would continue with interdisciplinary instruction in their classrooms.

Several teachers reported that they intended to have their current students do orientation sessions for next year’s IMYM students and their parents. All teachers indicated that they would ensure that the integration of technology as a foundation skill continued in their classrooms. In addition, teachers suggested that it might be better to implement the unit in the second term of the school year to allow students to become familiar with the information technology before beginning the unit.

One teacher suggested that the teachers involved in the IMYM project be paired. Teachers could then receive peer support and share the activities that take place in their classrooms. In order to be successful, this pairing could be formally organized with set dates and activities. Pairing would be useful in order to resolve technical issues as well to provide moral support. Other teachers indicated a need for a follow-up for the third year of the project.

Some teachers reported that the IMYM project is beginning to spread within their school and school division by putting IMYM model "pods" of information technology hardware and software into other classrooms and schools in their divisions.

6.0 Impact of the Project on Students

Pilot teachers agreed that their IMYM students enjoyed and benefited from using the information technology. The students were extremely motivated and challenged by the activities involved in the Inventions, Innovations and Discoveries unit, especially by building and promoting their own invention. Several teachers commented on how academically weak students were able to succeed in this project and seemed to rise to the challenge of higher expectations. The teachers also reported that the students developed leadership qualities and group skills where students helped one another. Students became good negotiators and problem-solvers as a result of having to share five computers amongst 30 students.