Posts Tagged ‘test scores’

Throughout history, we learned that for instructional technology to succeed, on-going collaboration is required among national, state, and local educational organizations. Many technological advancements have been created, such as, CAI applications, audiovisual libraries, microcomputer drill and practice programs, etc., to hopefully benefit our educational techniques and student progress. These were dismissed or fizzled out faster than they could be properly implemented. Most failed due to lack of teacher enthusiasm and proven educational need. This history is unacceptable for our students.

The US military’s proven success of using technology for a teaching medium is a model for successful technology integration on state and national levels. According to Reiser, (2001) military trainers expressed satisfaction with training films utilized during World War 1. The military defined the immediate crisis, and after the proper collaboration, used the appropriate technology to solve the problem.

I propose that our educational system should take this same approach. Our National Educational Technology Standards(Nets) focuses on infusion of technology in order to create, problem solve, and collaborate. Our state standards focus upon this same need. Our local administrators’ goal is to raise student test scores in order to comply with state accountability. Further collaboration is beneficial to define the exact goal of the state and require implementation by local districts of appropriate technology encouraging that specific goal. For example, integrating technology for global communication, real world problem solving, and creation and expression will naturally allow students to think and express themselves and enhance their performance on standardized testing. It would be far better to define our goals as educators and work together toward its achievement, such as the military demonstrated to us in my previous example. Change is needed; however, unity in our goal is the determining factor for success.

Reiser, R.A. (2001). A History of Instructional Design and Technology: Part I: A History of Instructional Media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49 (1), 53-64.

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“Listen up class! Open your textbook to Chapter 5. Outline the chapter and be sure to pay attention to all important dates. We will be having a on quiz this chapter on Wednesday”. All I could hear from my classmates were groans of torture. This is my memory of history classes during my early education. Fortunately for today’s students, history does not just consist of memorizing rote facts and mindless reading of boring textbooks. Technology and the Internet created the ability to make history “come alive” for our students by creating thought-provoking, reflective and exciting experiences to uncover and investigate. The NCSS (1994) stated, “the primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world”. This vision cannot be accomplished simply through memorization of facts and lecture style teaching. Technology provides students with access to our ever-changing world and gives them the opportunity to discuss world issues globally or use critical thinking skills through world simulations and primary source documents.

This week I have been asked to prepare a history lesson for my students using primary source documents. These can consist of diaries, letters, poems, and newspapers. Other sources can be artifacts, paintings, audio/video, and music. (Heritage Community Foundation, 2002) While sifting through the many recommended websites, I was astounded by all of the interesting pieces of history I stumbled upon that I did not even realize existed. I found it difficult to concentrate on my needed research since I could not stop exploring the fascinating information on my screen. Eye Witness to History gives history accounts directly from the person who lived it. I read the newspaper article printed in 1812 about the sinking of the Titanic, viewed photographs from the great depression and listened to a reporter discuss the news of D-day 1944. This is all from one website.

Colonial Williamsburg had a very informative website depicting colonial times. There, I found information needed for my weather unit. I never knew how the weather was predicted long ago, and this site provided me with an accurate analysis of what people relied upon before the National Weather Service was created. I realize I take certain things for granted after visiting this site. I was able to find maps of the colonies from early America and compare them to America today, all on one computer screen.

My favorite history moment using technology was stumbling upon world simulations. Children are now able to assume the role as a character from history, and make decisions using historical information. They are then able to see first hand what their decisions will do to the outcome of today. PBS.org’s Colonial House allows students to be Governor of a New World Colony of Mayne. Using this site, students journey safely across the sea with their selected colonists. They are scored on their decision making skills. I highly suggest giving this a try.

With state testing demands and pressure about student test scores, many districts tend to put social studies/history classes on hold. Students are asked to concentrate on math, science and language arts in preparation for these exams. I believe this does our children a huge disservice. They are our country’s future leaders! Engaging and thought provoking history lessons enable our children to understand society, empathize with others, think globally, make good decisions using problem solving skills, analyze past events to prepare for the future, and most importantly, encourage good citizenship. If our students learn with these engaging technologies and global communication problem based learning methods, I believe our students will be more prepared for the required thinking for desired test scores, but more importantly, they will be capable and confident to succeed as leaders in this ever-changing global society. Technology and history not only make lessons fascinating, they prepare our children for the demands of tomorrow.

Heritage Community Foundation. (2002). Primary Source Overview. Retrieved April 12, 2010, from Heritage Community Foundation Presents Alberta Online Encyclopedia:
http://www.youthsource.ab.ca/teacher_resources/ps_overview.html

NCSS. (1994). Curriculum Standards for Social Studies: I. Introduction. Retrieved April 10, 2010, from National Council for the Social Studies:
http://www.socialstudies.org/standards/introduction

How should technology be used?

This question seems to be the topic of constant conversation in my district today. Many teachers are overwhelmed and are too timid to delve head first into new technology. Others are just as motivated for additional access to more advanced technology as the children. The ISTE lists specific standards for achievement by teachers and students. In order for these standards to be met, administrators must provide technical support in the form of proper continuing education, professional development, district operations, and networking.

When all district technology needs are met, teachers must use the technology for every aspect of teaching, the result of which will be enhanced motivation and engagement of the students. Children today are already using computers, mp3p players, cell phones, digital cameras, Internet, etc. Teachers have the ability to extend a student’s personal use of technology for lessons and research. Students should have a safe environment for applying this new knowledge in digital journals and blogs. Students should communicate with other cultures in order to collaborate and interact with a diverse community of student peers. They should have access to a variety of ways to create multimedia presentations, either individually or collaboratively. Students should have access to programs that will guide them to organize and analyze data for all areas of their curriculum. Computer time is necessary to provide students with the time necessary to research in order to plan and compose their projects. Programs must be available for learners to perform drill and practice exercises to succeed with individual goals. Technology specialists should be available for both students and teachers to in order to troubleshoot hardware or software problems. The specialist will guide students and faculty through the technology learning process and teach safe and responsible technology practices when using the Internet.

Learning is greatly enhanced when technology is responsibly placed in the hands of the students and teachers. The Technology Integrating Matrix provides teachers with wonderful ready-to-use examples on methods for successfully using technology.(Technology, 2009) Fear of the unknown, should not keep us from exploring technology. Teachers today are becoming just as energized and engaged as students about the possibilities that lie ahead in the use of technology. Take the risk of embracing technology. The results are endless and will be surprisingly rewarding for all.

What principles should guide your approach for integrating technology into instruction?

After watching a video on the latest addition to the Apple family, The Apple I Pad, my first instinct was to find out how to get my hands on one and allow my students to use it in my classroom. As tempting as it may be, to incorporate all the “cool” new gadgets on the market, research suggests that I incorporate a direct plan of action before introducing any new technology into my curriculum. Effective technology integration is well planned and works collaboratively with today’s educational curriculum and state standards. Technology is not simply adding gadgets, websites, printouts and spreadsheets into a lesson for your students. Successful technology integration goes beyond the concept of being a “tool “when certain principles and guidelines are practiced before instruction takes place. When developing a unit plan using technology, a teacher must map out a Technology Integration Planning (TIP) Model. This model consists of four phases: (Roblyer, 2007)

• Why should I use a technology based method?
• How will I know students have learned?
• What teaching strategies and actions will work best?
• Are essential conditions in place to support technology integration?

It is important for teacher to insure that a technology lesson meets the criteria for all students in order to succeed. According to the Universal Design for Learning (UDL), every classroom consists of learners with different needs and learning barriers. UDL provides teachers with specific guidelines on methods to use in order to reach all learners. Teachers should provide students with various methods of acquiring information and research. Teachers must keep learners motivated and challenged by keeping lessons interesting and attention-grabbing. Teachers should provide diverse models of ways students can demonstrate what they learned. (CAST,2008) The proper instruction provides all students with a successful opportunity to reach curriculum goals and objectives.

Administration support and training, access to technology tools, and proper technology integration steps, provides every student with a motivating, rewarding and successful opportunity for learning. When all these conditions are met appropriately, our students will be adequately equipped with the 21st century skills required for a successful future.

CAST. (2008). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines Version 1.0. Retrieved February 5, 2010, from Universal Design for Learning Center:

Roblyer, M. D. (2010). Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching (5th Edition). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc. pp. 52-63

Technology, F. C. (2009). The Technology Integration Matrix . Retrieved February 2, 2010, from Florida Center for Instructional Technology:

Technology plays a vital role in today’s educational curriculum. The effective use of technology provides the ability to inspire, prepare, and improve learning of students of all ages. Some of the most basic daily lesson plans can become much more powerful and inspirational to a learner simply by changing the direction of how the lesson is delivered. Technology integration changes a student’s perception and increases student motivation. Although there are many local funding and teacher training hurdles to overcome, research confirms the overall conclusion that technology used in education produces positive and meaningful results.

Test Scores Improve

Students with access to computers are able to utilize programs and technology resources to make a difference in their personal goals and test scores. Teachers can pinpoint, through the use of testing software, areas of strengths and weaknesses for each student. Teachers can also obtain data and feedback on specific lessons and activities needed to improve individual learning. Research shows that schools who do not reach the AYP requirements are behind in technological advances and usage within their district. Those who have access to technology are motivated and engaged in daily lesson performance, thus decreasing student dropout and failure. A study done in Missouri showed that fourth graders improved consistently on their the MAP results when their classrooms were equipped with technology, basic productivity software, and high speed internet connections.(Bickford, 2005)

Technology Prepares Students for Real Word Life Skills

In the 21st century, students require lifelong learning skills and preparation for the future where they will be expected to put these skills to work. The use of technology by students and teachers provides more collaborative working time and team problem solving, something that will benefit them in all aspects of life. Students trained to use distance learning and web communications to dialog with schools and community groups all over the world gain a wide variety of perspectives. Students retain and understand lessons when information presented is relevant and meaningful to their life’s experiences. A hands-on method of working together provides students with a more significant and real world application to their curriculum. (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2003)

Technology Prepares Students for the Workforce

In today’s global economy students must have access to the most relevant computer resources available in order to be a competitive member of the world’s workforce. Technology based curriculum prepares students to enter colleges and universities and to be productive members of the workforce environment. Career Pathway districts integrated technology with learning and career exploration. High school students reported a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work and felt they possessed the appropriate tools and methods needed to enter today’s careers. Teachers and administrators felt they were a positive element of this process and were motivated to continue improving their instructional practices. Student’s grade point averages were higher and graduation statistics rose, with technology trained students expressing more confidence in their future. (Career Pathways in Michigan Schools, 2002)

In order for our future generation to be educated and prepared for today’s workforce environment, it is imperative to incorporate technology into all facets of our curriculum. Today’s society places high demands on the use of computers, multimedia and appropriate technological problem solving in order to be successful in the 21st Century. It is imperative that teachers and students be technologically literate in this generation. To accomplish this, technology must be a part of a student’s everyday learning. This enables all types of knowledge including, visual, auditory, kinesthetic and critical thinking. Student learning and achievement has a more direct positive result when technology is used on a regular basis. The ISTE mandates many standards for both students and teachers to ensure the proper learning environment for our students. Their focus is not only on the use of technology, but rather on the endless possibilities of the learning journey when technology is used correctly. “Taking the journey is critical in preparing students to live, learn, and work in a technology-rich world. “ (ISTE,2010) Let’s prepare our students today for this lifelong journey ahead.

Bickford, Adam. “Analysis of 2004 MAP Results for eMINTS Students.” Evaluation Team Policy Brief, eMINTS National Center, January 10, 2005. Retrieved from
http://www.emints.org/evaluation/reports/map2004.pdf

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2003, June). Learning for the 21st Century: A Report and MILE Guide for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved from
http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/downloads/P21_Report.pdf

“Career Pathways in Michigan Schools: A Success Story.” Michigan Department of Career Development. December 2002. Retrieved from
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/A_Success_Stor_Black_white_60632_7.pdf

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Resources for Educational Technology Professionals, 2010 Retrieved from
http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Educator_Resources