The topic of the “bring your own technology” movement seems to be an affordable and flexible solution to the issue of bringing expensive technology into our districts. Funds are tight. Boards don’t always see the connection between technology and test scores. So administrators across the country are trying to find real ways to meet their students’ 21st-century needs. According to the latest trend, schools are adopting BYOT policies and allowing students to bring in smartphones, iPod Touches, tablet computers and laptops to school. While there are many mobile and Web-integrated technologies that can support this kind of initiative, the real issue lies in the socioeconomic status of the students. This simple act of bringing your own technology to school may also widen the achievement gap, and more importantly impose a new type of technology segregation. There is much more at stake with a BYOT policy than meets the eye.
The three most-pressing socioeconomic issues are: 1) integrating devices in an appropriate manner, 2) the availability of equitable devices and services, and 3) the social impact of technology segregation in the classroom. (read more…)
I am a gadget geek. And I love my iPad. However, there are plenty of other choices on the market today, and I have come to realize that a mix of devices may be a better choice in the educational setting.
The Apple App Store is full of well-vetted and useful software. When you hear “there is an app for that,” it seems to be true! From content-based applications that can be used for everything from remediation to enrichment, and apps that let students create videos, audios, simulations, infographics and more, the use of the iPad to support teaching and learning is truly remarkable!
However, the iPad really shines as a one-to-one device. Personalization, choice of apps and work that lives locally on the device makes you feel connected with your iPad. A shared cart of iPads, although something that is affordable for schools, is probably not the best choice. Taking care of the installation of apps and maintenance of the devices, as well as providing a positive experience for each shared user, is not easy. (read more…)
Place an image in your mind of this: Standardized testing. Depending on where you stand your blood might boil with rage or a sense of accountability may rise up like a patriotic anthem, in either case you most likely picture students in rows, staring at pages of multiple-choice bubbles, attempting to avoid “distractors.” The two groups developing the assessments that align with the Common Core State Standards, SMARTER Balanced and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, aim to dramatically overhaul that vision of testing.
Like all things common core, there are loads of questions swirling around the development of these tests. My aim in this post is specifically to make sure you are aware of what is ahead, and more importantly, to suggest that you help your school keep an eye on what matters most — your students’ learning. It is a time ripe for jumping headlong into every widget, gadget, and clicker on the market and spending hours upon hours in computer labs, but that would be missing the whole point. (read more…)
As Moore’s Law would have predicted, the pace of technology has been accelerating at an incredible rate in the past couple of years, which has made it a challenge for educators to select and decide on which technology to bring into the classroom. While general education is now wrestling with how to handle the purchase of tablets (iPads) for classroom use, the decisions that have to be made with regards to using these technologies with students in special education has become even a bigger issue.
One of the mandates in the federal special education guidelines is that school districts consider the need for assistive technology for all students with an individualized education plan. Assistive technology is generally defined as “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability.”
The definition to this day remains rather open-ended and gives educators the freedom and leeway to make the most appropriate decisions with regards to purchasing and requisitioning assistive technology for students with special education needs. (read more…)