I Just Don't Know

Monday, November 17, 2008 | 3 comments »

I've been generally pleased with the willingness of the teachers at my school to learn more about technology and to take advantage of the computer lab we have. Now, is our staff leading the way with technology integration? No, they're not, but they are also not dragging way behind. While just about every second through fifth grade class comes into the computer lab once a week, in addition to their scheduled time with me, I really think we could be doing even more.

For the most part, I see students working on websites to reinforce ideas taught in the classroom. Many of these sites are "drill and kill" type websites. I have to admit, that in many cases, I'm doing the same. These are the types of activities chosen for a variety of reasons, including limited availability of the one coomputer lab in our building of almost 400 students. Our district has purchased math software to go along with our math series and some of our teachers take their students in the lab to work with this software, which I don't think is a bad thing. However, this is usually the only thing the students do during their time in the lab. In other cases, students are word processing some type of assignment or working on keyboarding skills. Our school is going to have a difficult time meeting the NCLB benchmarks this year, which is putting a lot of pressure on our school and district to meet AYP. I believe this is one of the reasons teachers are using the lab to reinforce skills our students need for the tests. We have a lot of low performing students and they simply need the basics.

On one hand, I don't really think there is anything wrong with this. On the other hand, I know there is so much more we can be doing with our students. I see the possibilities that many of our teachers do not. I see the creativity our students could show. I also see the pressure NCLB is putting on our staff and students and wonder if that is contributing to our technology use (or lack of).

3 comments

  1. bengrey // November 17, 2008 at 11:20 PM  

    Chad,

    I've been struggling with a very common issue. Sorry for a self-aggrandizing link to my own blog here, but my post from today encapsulates my thoughts on the issue much more precisely, and for the sake of brevity in my comment, I'll just throw down the link. http://bengrey.com/blog/?p=46

    I think one of the biggest things we're struggling with is the fact that everything is framed in an antiquated construct. NCLB is a perfect example. We test kids, but what is it that we really want them to know? What is the goal that we are trying to accomplish?

    I'd love for us all to be able to stop for a moment and consider just exactly what it is that we're doing in our modern educational system. I'm afraid if we really examined this issue, we'd be terribly dissatisfied with what we'd find.

    By the way, I really like your LAN idea. I'm going to kick that around a bit and consider using it in my own district. If you have any ideas or thoughts on how you'd change anything, I'd love to hear them.

    Ben

  2. Mister Teacher // November 30, 2008 at 8:20 PM  

    "I know there is so much more we can be doing with our students."

    I think that's a common lament from any teacher worth their salt...

    Hey dude, I see you got Hansborough back. (mumble, grumble)

    I hope you will submit something to this week's Carnival of Education!

  3. umoo.com // December 1, 2008 at 3:11 PM  

    It is nearly impossible to keep students away from technology. While it does take away some focus from the the old saying "practice makes perfect", incorporating technology into the educational system is the only way to go.

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