Question Detail

How will schools handle the emphasis on technology when current equipment is old and unreliable?

Sep 2, 2013 12:33pm

With the emphasis on technology with the Common Core, schools are expected to teach and test using technology, yet many schools are unprepared to handle the demand. How we will ensure technology is equitable from district to district, or will the technology become a variable making scores meaningless?

  • Technology
  • Pre K-12
  • Common Core


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    • May 5, 2014 3:57pm

      Our district purchased the Odyssey Compass Learning program. Since we use the NWEA to handle benchmark testing each quarter. Since both are done on the computer, students get a chance to practice using the computer to generate their answers. I did see the advantage when the Field Test was given for Smarter Balance. There are several similar programs to choose from.

      Another advantage to using Compass is that it has a direct link with the student NWEA test results. After their first test, the program automatically assigns lessons and activities to meet the individual needs of each student. It helps fill in any gaps in learning as well as allows for advancement for more proficient students. Both are now correlated to the Common Core standards. I can assign additional activities when warranted and make up folders to match skills being targeted in any one teacher's class. The classroom teacher can also make assignments. Regular reports keep us apprised of how students are progressing and are useful when addressing concerns in parent teacher conferences, SST meetings, IEP's, and 504 plans.

      Many of our computers were initially obtained through the state correctional facilities as well as donations from local businesses. Several grants are also available. Even the older operating systems work pretty well since everything is accessed online. Even though Windows XP is no longer updated, the few computers we have still using it are able to go online.

      Practice with the technology is important to validate the test results. Ideally, we should be teaching our children keyboarding and general computer skills in the primary grades so they are not at a disadvantage when faced with using it in a testing situation. If schools lack funding for computer labs, purchasing Chromebooks is a decent alternative. They are internet based but can most initial technology needs.

      Bandwidth is probably one of the toughest things to overcome since it requires outside resources to be updated in many areas. Updates are in progress. We must be vigilant in advocating for our children who do not have access to technology at home. Using part time teachers to run after school computer labs, encouraging libraries and community centers to make technology available, and working with community resource organizations are among some of the alternatives available.

      We have spent at least 14 years teaching children how not to think, to fill in multiple choice answers, and to avoid challenge. It is going to take time to bring up their critical thinking skills and adjust to something different. Hopefully, education is making a positive step toward preparing America to meet the needs of world we can only imagine. No worry-Teaching is our super power!