Monday, May 4, 2015

MD 5 New Technologies

 New Technologies
     Three years ago, my school system changed over to a new student grading and management system known as PowerSchools. PowerSchool is web-based student information system that offers a variety of features to assist administrators at the district and school level with managing student information. PowerSchool has a portal for teachers to enter classroom-specific data and portals to foster communication between the school and parents. There are also portals for parents and students to monitor student progress in all subject areas.  PowerSchool enables today's educators to make timely decisions that impact student performance while creating a collaborative environment for parents, teachers, and students to work together in preparing 21st century learners for the future. Some features of PowerSchool consist of attendance management, tracking, and notification; PowerTeacher 2.8 Gradebook; integrated push-button state reporting; robust reporting tools; parent portal to keep track of their child’s grades and attendance;  discipline management and reporting; and many more features that assist in the overall management and reporting of student activities (Pearson Education Inc., 2015).
       I attended a professional development training on PowerSchools as a representative from my school. I, along with other educators from my county, received robust training on PowerSchool and was assigned the lead trainers and resource personnel for the staff at our schools. Like with any change in the normal way of doing things, there was resistance from some of the staff that imparted this new system as a replacement for a system that was not broken and worked well for them. Some were reluctant to change to this new system because they were fearful of the complex context of the program. With others, just the idea of navigating through the application to enter grades and attendance accurately, and perform certain actions required by the administration was a nerve reckoning experience. Signs of low self-efficacy among some of the staff were evident at certain points throughout the presentation.   I assured them that I would be the resources person for our school and would assist them in any way possible. This seemed to alleviate some of the tension and overwhelming anxiety that was expressed by many during the training.
            Keller’s (1983) ARCS model of motivation, performance, and instructional influence assumes that students’ motives, together with their expectancies, will influence the degree of attention and effort they will supply to learning a task (Driscoll, 2005). A strategy I used to stimulate the teachers motivation to learn the new tool was to first engage them in an ice-breaking activity to loosen them up. Another strategy I used to sustain their attention was to provide prizes throughout the session to those who answered questions about materials learned in the training. Also, showing the staff the relevance of PowerSchool and how it will make their job easier, and how it would allow them to create necessary reports to show student progress on test motivated them to achieve their personal goals.

Additional References

Self-Efficacy and Success: Is There Any Relationship

Technology's Role in Motivation - Blogs - Education Week


Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Pearson Education, Inc.  (2015). Retrieved from /products/powerschool/  


  1. Hi Jannotta
    Your PowerSchool sounds exactly like our BCPS One. Your system offers similar programs to ours. We too had some rumblings going on from teachers about switching over-not only is it a new program to learn but more time involved on the system. You had great ideas to motive the teachers in learning the new system. We were thrown right in...I like your idea of prizes being offered during the session. Everybody likes prizes! I would like to use your motivational keys and pass it on to our tech liaison for future trainings. With these techniques-did your staff accept the new program and how are they doing with it know? Thanks for posting.

  2. Hi Jannotta!
    So I am scared. We are loosing PowerTeacher this year and gaining something else. I told my husband to go to the training since he is always the go to guy for gradebook assistance. I have been attempting PowerTeacher with no training for the past four years and just got the hang of setting up classes and now it will be gone. I may be calling you for help. Do you have Sharepoint? My one district utilized it will and the other has not a clue. The assistant principal at this school has made it very dysfunctional. Stay tuned from an email...need help :-) that is pretty awesome you attended the training.

  3. Hi Jannotta,

    Great Blog! Power School sounds like the similar program out district uses in Educate, and in which is currently going to launch a new learning management system called Empower this Fall. I am interested in knowing when your organization decided to adopt power schools, did they assess you or any of the staff with the change readiness assessment? This is a new strategy many organizations are using to see how comfortable staff feel in adopting a new change, as well as to get an insight look at attitudes and behaviors? The following link gives more detail about what the assessment is.


  4. Jannotta,

    When was this training you did for your staff? Have they had any success with it since the training? It sounds like you did a wonderful job reassuring your colleagues that you were available to support them. Good job for you!