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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4.0 Implementation Factors

The following is a summary of some of the successes and challenges the pilot teachers encountered during the course of implementing the interdisciplinary unit.

4.1 Successes of the Project

Some successes of the project included:

  • motivated students – stayed in at recess, came to school early  (mentioned several times)
  • students became good negotiators (mentioned several times)
  • academically weak students succeeded in this program and seemed to rise to the challenge (mentioned several times)
  • personal and professional improvement and growth
  • students became independent learners
  • evidence of increased student leadership
  • success with the IMYM information technology learning resources in the classroom
  • dynamic social changes in the students – the contributions of individual students became important because of the skills they were acquiring and sharing
  • students challenged themselves by taking personal responsibility for their learning
  • IMYM email list was helpful – great ideas and interesting web sites shared
  • open house for parents allowed the students to show what they were learning hands-on
  • IMYM project generated great public relations and local community support
  • excellent training and professional development sessions held by Manitoba Education and Training

4.2 Challenges of the Project

Some challenges of the project included:

  • too much work to complete in too short a timeframe (mentioned several times)
  • lack of hardware with big classes – it took too long to rotate students through the computer workstations (mentioned several times)
  • student assessment was difficult – how do you evaluate an interdisciplinary unit when you have a non-interdisciplinary report card? (mentioned several times)
  • mathematics activities need to be expanded (mentioned several times)
  • problems with the ethics and use of technology – students sabotaging and destroying other students’ files
  • physical classroom organization – not enough space in the regular classroom for five computer workstations and peripherals
  • technical problems at the beginning
  • security issues – students trying to steal equipment
  • sound and recording were problems – it generated too much noise in the classroom
  • single station Internet access wasn’t enough – multiple Internet-capable computers are needed to allow the practical use of Internet in the classroom
  • software programs were a little overwhelming – not enough time to become familiar with all of them before implementing the unit
  • lack of art in an interdisciplinary unit
  • need for other non-computer-based activities that relate to the unit for the students not working on the computers
  • French language information technology learning resources were too complex for most immersion students
  • translating the technology terms into French was difficult
  • lack of technical support at the school level resulted in pilot teachers being expected to do too much technical trouble shooting
  • the French writing activities were too long
  • need more time to explore the useful Internet sites that were shared via the email list by other IMYM teachers

4.3 Impact of the Project on the School

Most pilot teachers agreed that their school administration was very supportive of and impressed by the IMYM project. Teachers agreed that this support was very important to the success of the IMYM project and to the long-term integration of technology as a foundation skill.

Some pilot teachers claimed that initially some colleagues were envious of the all the information technology they received for their IMYM classroom. Other colleagues thought the IMYM project looked like too much work. However, once their colleagues saw what was being achieved in the pilot classroom, they became very supportive. Some teachers believed that some of their colleagues did not feel comfortable with integrating technology as a foundation skill and that it was important to have them know they could get the support they need when they need it. Pilot teachers also insisted that prompt technical support was very important.

Pilot teachers reported that parents were very supportive of the IMYM project. They were happy to see their children demonstrating their ability to use, manage, and understand information technology, and some had purchased computers and software for the home as a result of the IMYM project.

4.4 Impact of the Project on the Classroom

Many pilot teachers indicated that daily lesson planning and classroom organization became very important when integrating technology as a foundation skill. Flexibility and willingness to try new instructional practices were also cited as being important. Many teachers stressed the importance of the physical organization of the classroom, as so much of the day is spent working in small groups. Teachers also felt that the noise level in the classroom seemed to be much higher, but that it was a positive noise.