• Computer mediated communities of practice: the state of teacher collaboration in one rural Alaskan school district

      Montague Winebarger, Caitlin (2010-05)
      "The Yukon-Koyukuk School District spans an area the size of Washington State, while serving just over 300 students. Administratively based in Fairbanks, Alaska, the district is comprised of nine rural schools along the Yukon, Koyukuk, and Tanana Rivers which are geographically isolated, and in some cases only accessible by plane or boat. This mixed-methods inquiry, which contains both survey and focus group components, investigates the current use of internet- and technology-based methods and practices for collaborative use by district teachers. Concepts about teacher isolation, and communities of practice provide the framework for this situated study. Both the self-reported skill-set elucidated by the survey and the actual picture of the technological situation at the various sites gathered from the focus group participants suggest that teachers would value an increase in collaboration, but need more training before that can effectively take place. The data help to inform a list of six specific recommendations to the district to address these needs"--Leaf iii
    • The impact of parent and student access of student information management systems on student achievement

      Kershner, Catherine Marie; Jacobsen, Gary; Gatto, Mario; Roehl, Roy (2010-12)
      "The introduction of online student information systems (SISs) has provided parents and students the opportunity to more closely monitor student academic performance. Two years after the implementation of an SIS, PowerSchool, in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District, data indicates no significant increase in grade point average (GPA) despite significant increases in SIS utilization. System contacts increased during academic years 2008/'09 and 2009/' 10 among populations of middle school and high school students while average GPAs remained essentially unchanged. However, comparisons between SIS contacts and GPAs revealed statistically significant correlations between the two variables, indicating some degree of connection between student/parent monitoring and academic performance. In addition, analysis of student records indicates a positive correlation between average GPAs and contacts recorded during an academic year: records with low GPAs reported fewer contacts with the SIS, with contacts increasing with GPA values. Thus, while families of higher-achieving students are more likely to utilize PowerSchool than lower-achieving students' families, the introduction of PowerSchool has had essentially no impact on promoting academic achievement"--Leaf iii.