The Hanau Model Schools Partnership was a three-year collaborative effort to integrate technology in four schools serving children of military personnel at the U.S. Army Base in Hanau, Germany. The Hanau schools collaborated with TERC, an educational research and development organization that provided support for implementation and professional development, and the National Science Foundation, which provided funding for the project. The purposes of the project were twofold: to infuse technology into the curriculum as a tool used in learning rather than an end product of learning, and to promote exemplary teaching practices with technology in all classrooms through ongoing professional development.
McNamara, Grant, and Wasser (1998) note that the project was based on implementation and research activities in four critical areas:
The four Hanau schools, which are part of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school system, are Argonner Elementary, Sportfield Elementary, Hanau Middle School, and Hanau High School. These schools serve approximately 1,390 students; the students are diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, and are mobile as a result of their parents' military rotations. Even though the schools are located in Germany, they are "similar to schools in the United States, both in structure and in the shared emphasis on national standards and curriculum," note McNamara and Grant (1998, p. 4).
The partnership was initiated in September 1995, when the National Science Foundation selected and provided funding for TERC to spearhead a three-year action research project aimed at developing technology-enriched K-12 schools. DoDEA selected the Hanau schools to be the host schools. The project began with a year of planning during the 1995-96 school year and continued with two years of implementation during the 1996-97 and 1997-98 school years.
Wasser (1998) describes the goals of the project:
Before the partnership was initiated, the Hanau schools made little use of technology. Only a few classrooms had computers; those computers received little use and were not networked. Only one computer in each school was designated for e-mail. Students in the middle and high schools could take special computer courses, but there was no integration of technology into the curriculum.
In the fall of 1995, TERC researchers met with administrators from the Hanau schools. They formed a districtwide planning team--called the Hanau Implementation Team--composed of the four school principals, teacher and parent representatives from each school, plus representatives from the school district and military community. "This team," notes Wasser (1998), "was the backbone of the community-based planning process that distinguished the Model School Process" (p. 12). TERC researchers conducted an initial technology assessment of the schools and provided the team with research on critical areas pertinent to the project. With assistance from TERC, the team designed a way to bring technology into every classroom and ensure equitable access for students and teachers.
A communitywide meeting of faculty, parents, students, district staff, and DoDEA representatives was held in December 1995 to determine a vision for the project. Using the input from this meeting, TERC staff and the Hanau Implementation Team developed "a two-year implementation plan to guide the purchases of equipment, professional development activities, and support for community-building activities," notes Wasser (1998).
In August 1996, school staff (classroom teachers as well as area specialists such as special education and art teachers) attended two two-week workshops that provided instruction in various software tools for telecommunications, spreadsheets, graphing, presentations, multimedia, and supporting peripherals. They also worked on individual and collaborative lesson plans for technology integration into the curriculum. In these plans, the teachers emphasized the content first and the technology connection second so that the technology supported the teaching.
During the first implementation year (1996-97), an educational technologist was hired to assist the technology specialist for the Hanau Schools. The technologist was instrumental in helping teachers implement their curriculum plans with technology. Equipment installation, maintenance, and professional development were emphasized during this year. The Hanau Implementation Team met on a monthly basis to ensure the smooth flow of the implementation. Faculty and administrators met as a group in the fall and spring to share ideas. By the end of the school year, nearly 100 percent of the faculty had incorporated technology into their classes.
The second implementation year (1997-98) also began with professional development for teachers in a summer workshop. Teachers could learn new tools or focus on new strategies for using technology in the classroom. An administrative technologist and a communications specialist were hired to complete the technology team. TERC became more involved by developing a co-teaching model to strengthen the impact of technology on curriculum (McNamara & Grant, 1998). Curriculum specialists and leaders of special initiatives worked with teachers to develop technology integration through hands-on projects. Teachers were trained at more advanced levels on specific classroom technologies. More than 100 parents received training in the technology tools available at the Hanau schools.
During the implementation period, TERC researchers conducted evaluations of the project using qualitative data. They interviewed teachers, principals, the educational technologist, and the communications specialist. They collected daily logs from the educational technologist and the communications specialist. They conducted surveys of the parents and students at all four schools. In their Quarterly Status Report of May 20, 1998, researchers Feldman and McNamara (1998) noted that the technology integration at the Hanau schools had an impact on student achievement:
"Although this project was designed as a professional development implementation and research program, we have seen direct impact on student performance in this short period of implementation. Specifically, we have seen a wealth of student portfolios that include materials created through using the toolkit software. In addition, the wealth of picture information documents that teachers are more likely to place students in collaborative groups, that students are working on more extended projects, that research including Internet resources has exploded and is included as part of student reports, and the amount and richness of writing has increased. Some specific indicators:
McNamara, Grant, and Wasser (1998) conclude that the technology integration at the Hanau schools has led to improved teaching and learning:
"The partnership has actively shown that educational reform and technology changes can support each other on an ongoing basis. For example, we found that classroom practice changed toward more inquiry-based and project-based activities as teachers learned how to use two computers with differing groups within the class.... In addition, we found a new focus on understanding the curriculum guidelines and national standards themselves, as teachers questioned not only their own classroom management techniques but also the learning styles of their students, with closer analysis of student work both off and on the computer. In both cases, content knowledge has deepened as teachers expand the use of the technology beyond games or word processing." (p. 10)
For additional information on the Hanau Model Schools Partnership, refer to the following sources: