First Email to Participants

Congratulations and Welcome!

You have been selected to participate in Talladega County's 21st Century Learners project, an exciting learning adventure designed by classroom teachers for classroom teachers. We will launch this learning project at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 2nd at Fayetteville High School. The learning adventure will continue into February, March and May. Your team will meet with your mentor at your school in February. We will meet again at Fayetteville High School in March. Our final meeting will be a showcase of our learning in May.

Allow me to introduce you to the members of the TCBOE 21st Century Learners mentoring team. These ladies will be facilitating each of the four sessions this semester and bring loads of skills and experience to this project from which we will all benefit.

Robbie Stewart - Business Education teacher at Fayetteville High School
Amanda Spurling - Middle School teacher (Reading/Science/Social Studies) at Fayetteville High School
Kim Knight - Business Education teacher and Marketing Academy at Winterboro School

Karen Pemberton - ARI/Title I teacher at Fayetteville High School
Jennifer Barnett - U.S. History and English teacher at Fayetteville High School

You will find several attachments that you will need to read carefully. Some items will require your immediate attention while others are for your information.
  1. Student Technology Survey
    You should make copies of this survey and give to your students as soon as possible. These results from this survey will help you more than you can know as you begin this training.
  2. Agenda for our first meeting
    Take a look at the tentative schedule for our first meeting. We have packed it full!
  3. 21st Century Learners Application
    If you haven't completed one, please fill this out and send to me. This will help us as we plan.
  4. Things you might like to do as you prepare
    This is not required by any means. Your holiday is yours. Yet, if you would like to get a jump start on this project, the "Eager Teacher" handout will give you some direction. Again, please know that we don't expect you to do any of this!
The following information should be sent to me asap:
  1. Completed Application
    Please send if yiou haven't already done so. You may email this or send my handmail.
  2. Contact Information
    I'm compiling a contact list of our entire group. I need your name, email you will be using most, school address, phone numbers (school, cell, home)
  3. Questions or concerns
    Let me know if you have questions or concerns.
Some of you have already asked what you need to bring with you to our first meeting on Wednesday, January 2nd. The checklist below should help you be completely prepared to get the most out of your first training session.
  • Calendar
    Bring your fully loaded calendar so that we can schedule your February meeting and the other training sessions for the semester.
  • Completed Student Surveys
    Use the attached survey
  • Jump Drive (fully loaded jump drive not required, but may be very useful)
    Include your syllabus, pictures of you, your classroom, your students, documents (study guides, handouts, project descriptions, etc.) Include anything you value, use every year, or wouldn't want to loose.
Thank you for your commitment to your students and their learning. Your desire to be the best teacher you can be is inspiring and appreciated. I hope you will thoroughly enjoy being a valuable part of a new professional learning community in Talladega county that will make a tremendous impact on learning.

Again, welcome to this exciting learning adventure. We hope that your involvement in this program will not only be one of the most challenging experiences of your career, but one of the most rewarding experiences as well. I look forward to seeing you all very soon!


Jennifer L. Barnett
Fayetteville High School, Teacher
256.315.5550 school; 256.208.5160 cell

Second Email to Participants

Dear 21st Century participants, Below is a sampling of research on how the use of educational technology effects student achievement and student engagement. I am providing this to you for several reasons:
  1. To underscore the importance of the training you will receive
  2. To help you explain to others why our 21st Century Learners project is needed
  3. To remind you that our primary goal is always increasing student achievement and student engagement
Thanks to a number of you who have already shared your enthusiasm about this project. Please tell your colleagues about your involvement in this program. Should any of your fellow teachers express an interest in participating, let them know that we hope to repeat this training again next school year.
Our team is hard at work preparing for you and looking forward to getting starting.


Impact of Technology on Student Achievement
Ten meta-analyses synthesized research from 946 studies, ranging from preschool to college. Each meta-analysis concluded that instructional programs that included technology show a positive impact on student achievement, resulting in higher test scores. The key findings from these studies show:
1. Classrooms in which computers were used to support instruction usually showed gains in student achievement as measured by standardized achievement tests. The magnitude of gains varied from study to study. There was usually a good match between the desired outcome of the treatment and the outcome that was measured.
2. The effectiveness of different applications of computer-assisted instruction varied by the content area and the skill being taught. In general, applications fared better if delivered in a content area with a defined structure, such as mathematics.
In a report examining over 300 studies of technology use, authors concluded that teacher training was the most significant factor influencing the effective use of educational technology to improve student achievement. (Sivin-Kachala & Bialo, 2000)
A variety of studies indicate that technology will have little effect unless teachers are adequately and appropriately trained (Office of Technology Assessment, 1995; Coley, Cradler, & Engel, 1997; Silverstein et al., 2000; Sandholtz, 2001)
Literature Review on Educational Technology

This is a super review of hundreds of studies done on the effects of technology on student achievement and student engagement.

More Research on Educational Technology</span></span></span>
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Beginning in January 2008, teachers from Fayetteville High School and Winterboro School began working to spread and scale the 21st Century Learners project to the entire Talladega County school system. Here's our timeline outlining how fast this happened.

September 2007- FHS teachers attended Microsoft's Innovative Teachers Forum in Redmond, Washington; Began brainstorming ways to spread the "good news" to schools within our own system.
October 2007 - Began second year in the ABPC 21st Century Learners project; Began working on a proposal for our system
November 2007 - Made a presentation to our Board of Education about our Microsoft experience; Met with Superintendent and other key leaders about a plan to spread this initiative to our system and received immediate approval (after the Board meeting); Made a presentation the next week at the system-wide Principal's meeting about the 21st century learners project slated to begin in January
December 2007 - Deadline for principals to choose three participants for this program; Prepare participants for the launch in January

More information to come on the following:

January 2, 2008 - First Session (agenda is below)
February - Mentoring meetings
March 11, 2008 - Second F2F (Face to Face) meeting
May 13, 2008 - Third Session (TCBOE 21st Century Learners Showcase)

Materials used at the initial meeting to propose system-wide project:

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21st Century Learners Project - tcboe.doc Our superintendent quickly approved the allotment of professional release time for 21 teachers from 7 high schools and 3 middle schools for 2 days. Our first session is on January 2nd (already a staff development day) and our 2nd session is an after school meeting with a mentor. The other two days will require release time. Also approved were travel reimbursements for the participants and the facilitators of the project.

Promotion Materials

Video we showed to the principals at the Sytem-Wide Principals Meeting (will upload asap)

Each of our 7 high schools could choose two participants and the middle schools could choose one participant for the program. (Four of our "high schools include the middle grades.) Factors we considered when setting the number of participants: how many each facilitator could reasonably mentor, size of our available computer lab, overall cost of substitutes.

Each principal received seven packets of the following information to share with interested faculty members before making their selection:
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21st Century Learner Application.doc
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Nine Excellent Reasons for Technology in Education.doc
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Web 2.0 Teaching tcboe.doc
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Basic Blogs.doc
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Basic Wiki.doc
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tcboe 21st century flyer.ppt

Participant Materials

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21st Century Learners Agenda.doc
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Technology Survey of Students.doc
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Eager Teacher Handout.doc