Every other day, I get an email from someone with a great app, computer program or web-based service that will improve student achievement.
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The method is simple:
- Spend countless thousands on the program
- Provide minimal training for teachers because the program is just that awesome!
- Place children in front of a technology and let it do all the hard work.
- Wait for the student achievement points to go up.
- Watch the equipment, software gather real and/or virtual dust when the next tech-based instructional intervention catches the eye of top-down administrators seeking a quick boost.
True Story: $80K per campus spent on an integrated learning system that manufacture success (hint). At the end of it, nothing to show. I was simply delighted, tickled pink to hear the people who launched this money-eating monstrosity on an urban school district’s unsuspecting campuses–and that resulted in the death of their technology applications programs, their campus instructional technologist program, BTW–admit at the end, “It didn’t work.” If they’d bothered to listen, read the research, they would have known that these programs only have short-term gains and leave long-term bad taste in students’ mouths.
Those who cannot claim computers as their own tool for exploring the world never grasp the power of technology… They are controlled by technology as adults–just [they were]…controlled [by] them as students.Source: Toward Digital Equity: Bridging the Divide in Education; Editors: Gwen Solomon, Nancy J. Allen, and Paul Resta
- Independent studies of integrated learning system technologies have subsequently confirmed that learning discrete skills in isolation does little to support students in transferring knowledge to other domains of experience. This lack of transferability of skills from integrated learning system performance to other tasks is well-documented in the research literature.
- Although teachers generally like tutorial programs as a system for enhancing basic skills, in most cases this was due to a general feeling about its positive or potential benefits rather than direct evidence.
- Costs of these systems are too great given its record of effectiveness.
- Most teachers never get the level of training necessary to use key features.
- Teachers who had far and away the most successful effect size [substantial increase in test scores] knew the most about the system, knew the most about what the kids were doing in the lab, and went back to the classroom and made
decisions about what to do based on that information.
- When pairs of students work cooperatively to complete exercises in an ILS, they OUTPERFORM their counterparts who use the system on an individual basis.
- Effort must be made to facilitate students’ transfer of knowledge to other domains of experience. “Students may learn isolated skills and tools but they will still lack an understanding of how those various skills fit together to solve problems and complete tasks.”
First, there is empowering education, which leads to powerful literacy, the kind of literacy that leads to positions of power and authority. Second, there is domesticating education, which leads to functional literacy, literacy that makes a person productive and dependable, not troublesome.
Ask not what computers can do with students, but rather, what students can do with computers.andHardware without software is just junk, but software without teaching is just noise.
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