Case Study: Katy Independent School District
“All the teachers love PBworks because it is straightforward and easy to use. The students are excited and love using PBworks in their classes.”
Brenda White, Technology Integration Coordinator, Katy Independent School District
1. What background information should people know about you and your organization?
Katy ISD is a flourishing suburban school district that encompasses 181 square miles in east Texas. Its eastern boundaries stretch to Houston's energy corridor approximately 16 miles west of downtown Houston and extend along Interstate 10 to a few miles west of the city of Katy.
In the 2009-10 school year, student enrollment has grown to more than 58,000 served by 52 schools - including six four-year high schools.
Rated as recognized by the Texas Education Agency, Katy ISD offers an outstanding instructional program with facilities, equipment and materials that are among the best in the state.
2. Why did you start to use PBworks?
In the 2009-2010 school year Katy reorganized our Instructional Technology department. Our task was to focus on the digital learner. With the digital learner in mind, we began to look for tools that would allow teachers to integrate their curriculum with 21st century learning skills. PBworks was one of the web tools we began to focus on.
3. How are you using PBworks?
We are using PBworks throughout the district in a variety of ways.
We are a fast growth district employing 3,916 teachers. Curriculum specialist find it harder and harder to meet face to face with their content specific teachers. Curriculum specialists have developed workspaces to keep their teachers informed of the latest updates, provide instructional resources, and provide a place for teachers to collaborate. Teachers access the workspace to collaborate on ideas, lesson plans, and different instructional strategies that are effective within the content they teach.
User groups across the district have also adopted PBworks as a collaborative space. We have been introducing interactive whiteboards in classrooms and have a workspace space dedicated to these users.
Teachers use their workspace site to provide content and a place for students to collaborate. Students work together with their teachers and other students on various projects. Students post book reviews, write letters about their reading, and use a variety of web tools as products of their learning. One particular campus used the workspace site almost daily. Students were reading and writing much more than those in a traditional classroom were. Teachers have reported student engagement, participation and enthusiasm for learning has increased.
4. What were you using before?
Prior to using PBworks, workspaces were not widely used throughout the district. Teachers posted class assignments and homework on teacher web pages, but there was no interaction between the teacher and students. The information was posted on a web site for students and parents to view.
5. How did you train your users on how to use PBworks?
Katy ISD adopted several new web tools this year and created a Knowledge Base that provided users information on how to set up accounts, links to training guides/video and some examples. The information on the Knowledge Base was provided for our early adopters. These are teachers that could pick up PBworks and other web tools and get started on their own without much help or training.
Integration Specialists also meet with teachers throughout the district. They work with them initially to begin planning and then modeled best practices for integrating PBworks into their curriculum. They continued to mentor that teacher and her students for several weeks to insure best practices are adopted.
6. How has PBworks benefited you and your organization?
Because we are becoming such a large district PBworks has allowed us to collaborate on projects and have discussions without having to be in the same location. For instance, we have a Technology Showcase planned for May. Throughout the year four planning committees have been working through the workspace site, reducing the number of face to face meetings to a few. This reduces travel time and cost to committee members.
7. What are folks saying about PBworks?
All the teachers love PBworks because it is straightforward and easy to use. It is very simple to upload a document and link it in a page. Students can embed other web projects into workspace pages to demonstrate their learning. The students are excited and love using PBworks in their classes.
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