Janis Friesler's 8th Grade at Frank Lloyd Wright Middle School
West Allis, WI
School Type: Public
School Setting: Suburban
School Design: Traditional
Content Presented By:
The Education Alliance at Brown University
Language arts teacher Janis Friesler, from Frank
Lloyd Wright Middle School in West Allis, Wisconsin, offers the
following tips on effective technology integration in a project-based
- Arrange the classroom to facilitate the use of technology;
this might mean that you have to teach from the back of the room
sometimes so you can see all of your students.
- Be flexible and always have a “Plan B” when using technology. Machines do break down, so be prepared to troubleshoot problems or to keep things moving if you can't solve the problems immediately.
- Form academic teams of teachers so that you can design projects that articulate across content areas and meet state and national standards. These teams of teachers must have open lines of communication in order to develop projects and collaborate.
- Use rubrics to guide and evaluate your students' work.
- Make students comfortable with cooperative learning and facilitate training on the dependence of team members.
- Balance the curriculum so that academic learning is
integrated with the learning of new software tools.
- Don’t forget the objectives of the project when using technology; they should be the focus of student learning.
Costs and Funding
West Allis, Wisconsin language arts teacher Janis
Friesler had her classroom at Frank Lloyd Wright Middle School
transformed into a computer lab that she uses to support project-based learning. She estimates that the current cost of creating a computer lab from scratch would range from $30,000 to $35,000. This estimate includes wiring, furniture, cables, and the following
hardware and software:
- 28 computers and monitors with Internet access
- 2 laser printers
- 1 electronic projector
- 1 scanner
- Groupwise, for e-mail and file sharing
- Microsoft Word, for word processing
- PowerPoint & HyperStudio, for presentations'li>
- Excel, for creating spreadsheets
- Inspiration, for creating graphic organizers
- Supplemental software included with language arts and science textbooks
- A+ tutorials for reading, language arts, math, and social studies
Investments in the hardware and software for a computer lab should
be accompanied by investments in professional development so that
teachers can use these resources effectively. Luckily for Wright Middle
School, Friesler's master's degree in Computer Science Education
equipped her to provide most of the staff development in technology for
her colleagues interested in using one of the school's new computer labs. Her school also benefited from its partnership with Co-nect Schools, a comprehensive school reform model that provided staff development in project-based learning and technology.