Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Ken Decroo
Ken Decroo is a middle school science teacher and a professor in the Department
of Education, Science, Technology and Math, at California State University,
San Barnardino. Ken became a member of TAPPED IN in 1999 when he was introduced
to it while participating in the Teach the Teachers Collaborative (TTTC).
My name is Ken Decroo (KenD). I was introduced to TAPPED IN while participating
in the Teach the Teachers Collaborative (TTTC) in 1999 and have been a member
ever since. I teach SEI science at Harry S. Truman Middle School and graduate
level courses in the Department of Education, Science, Technology and Math, at
California State University, San Barnardino.
I am a life long learner. I hold two masters degrees, Anthropology from the
University of California, Riverside and Instructional Technology, California
State University, San Bernardino. I am finishing up a third MA in Administration
at CSUSB. I am a bilingual teacher and work with students whose primary language
is Spanish. I love what I do. There is nothing I would rather do than teach.
I especially like the balance I get from teaching both middle school students
I have pursued both these areas within the landscape of curriculum and instruction.
I believe we cannot address any issue in education, anymore, without assessing how
it supports standards based curriculum. I have attempted, in my practice, to reflect
on how what I do furthers our curricular goals as a district. On the site level,
I have actively supported a model that analyzes school performance, based on State
and District assessments, with the goal of isolating content clusters that can be
targeted with specialized techniques in Bilingual Education and Technology. The
goal is support and improve student performance.
I have implemented this model at Truman, in my regular classes in my technology
learning lab and in my technology/ELL consulting period, as a classroom teacher
and as an Administrative Designee.
Since the onset of the Internet and its hybrid, the World Wide Web (WWW), educators
have recognized its potential to engage students in constructive learning. When
students go online, they enter a world of learning where they can find information
about seemingly any subject. Interconnected around the world, there are literally
millions of web pages representing the entire array of human endeavors. It is a
vast resource of information that doubles every year. The shear volume of the
Internet often makes the process of understanding, evaluating and using it seem
overwhelming. Not all sources in this vast and diverse media are equal in
reliability and quality.
Millions of web sites are created in both academic and commercial environments
every year. In this expanding environment, it is the challenge for every educator
to hone this vast resource to support existing curriculum. Few studies have examined
the effectiveness of using web sites in teaching. The design of web sites has
developed, in the last ten years, from simple linear presentations to interactive
multi/hypermedia sources of information.
We are faced with the challenge of teaching our students the strategy of making
sense of it and finding their way around it. But very often, it is just the
opposite of this that plays out in the classroom. Our students, having grown
up digitally, are comfortable in this media and find themselves in the reversed
role of teaching their teachers how to use the Internet. This is less than an
Within this landscape it has been my charge to infuse technology into the
district curriculum. It is my belief that the concept of technology infusion
needs more attention in order to harness its power to meet the target of
improving student learning. Its essence is in using technology to support
standards based curriculum. But confusion has arisen, among educators, as to
what that actually looks like and how it works. A technology plan must be clear
on what infusion is and how it works if it is to promote student achievement and
Technology can only be successfully infused when curricular needs are defined.
Several items need to be taken into account. 1) Identification of curricular needs
must be data driven. 2) Each school has unique and site-specific needs dependent
on a variety of factors. 3) In most cases, we already have the data to determine
and address those needs.
The results of the standardized and district assessments give us an excellent
starting point for determining the curricular target for a school site. We are
able to evaluate student performance by content clusters that align to the strands
of the California Standards. By identifying sub-group movement and sub-standard
performance, we can implement technological methods and applications that can
facilitate better learning. By determining the needs of a particular site based
on this data, we can design a unique program to infuse technology into the
curriculum, a technology plan. This allows a school site to better channel
its technological resources to get more "bang for the buck."
The plan must take into account the mission of the school, the curricular needs
of the school, the actual and future technological assets of the school site,
and the level of technological competence of the staff. Hence, methods and
applications can be incorporated into a technology plan based on these needs
taking into account the unique constituency of the school site.
I use TAPPED IN extensively in my University classes to develop an online
professional community of learners. It allows me to hold virtual office
hours and online classes in my TAPPED IN office. Further, my students are
learning about technology by using it. TAPPED IN is an integral part of my
practice as a university lecturer. My goal is to introduce and support my
students in learning how to incorporate this powerful tool to help further
their professional growth.