Seven high schools in the Washington, Iron and Millard school districts along with the Southwest Educational Development Center (SEDC) and other state agencies, as well as Learning Point Associates (previously known as NCREL) united in a collaborative effort to provide professional development and classroom technology access for students focused on enhancing mathematical instruction for at-risk and low performing students through the use of research-based Innovative Technology Engaged Activities for Mathematics (iTEAM).
In Utah, students in the 10th grade must pass the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test (UBSCT), which includes Reading, Writing and Mathematics sections in order to receive a diploma and graduate from high school. The combined student bodies of the participating schools have a 45% average of students who do not pass the math section of the UBSCT on the first attempt. There is an urgent need in these schools to help students gain expertise and comprehension to help them graduate and gain the important skills that will allow them to be successful in life. The iTEAM project directly addresses this need.
Mathematics teachers in the participating schools received high quality sustained professional development that will empower them to select and successfully implement instructional strategies through the integration of technology. Students will improve their mathematics knowledge, pass the math portion of the UBSCT, improve their performance on the Utah State mandated Math end-of-level Criterion Reference Test (CRT) and will gain valuable skills to help them successfully prepare for the 21st Century. The iTEAM project emphasizes the research-based Engaged Learning model, developed by NCREL. This model represents a dynamic shift from traditional models to one where students take primary responsibility for their own learning. In this environment, technology supports the learning rather than becoming the learning. Teachers become facilitators, curriculum designers, guides and co-learners who take advantage of diverse grouping strategies and who uses a variety of measurements of student learning. In this learning environment, students are able to manage their own learning, becoming explorers and producers of relevant and challenging real-world knowledge.