I Am Falling a Little Behind…

I have not been reading the news and blogs in my aggregator as avidly as I usually do, and I am falling behind on my own blog postings. I have some ideas about some future posts, but I just can’t seem to get motivated to post anything substantial. I think I may have caught “senioritis” from some of the students. πŸ™‚

With that being said, I feel the need to discuss a recent news article that has been a hot topic on some of the blogs I read.

After reading the AP article, my initial response was… I just don’t get it.

“The study found achievement scores were no higher in classrooms using reading and math software products than in classrooms without the new products… The teachers that participated used more than a dozen software products to help deliver their lessons.” Maybe I am not being “fair” to the survey, but based on this article, I am envisioning students sitting in a computer lab all doing the same thing – testing “drill and kill” on a computer instead of paper. The teachers in my vision are using this software to “deliver” the multiple-choice questions instead of actually interacting with students, and, well… teaching.

The article made me tired. Tired of saying the same thing. Technology is not a “magic button” that will automatically raise your students’ IQ and make them better test takers; technology will not miraculously make you a better teacher and solve all your school’s problems; and it will not by itself make you more popular and fun to be around. It is just not that easy. Raising reading and math scores requires good teaching and hard work(with or without the introduction of technology).

I felt a little better after reading Wesley Fryer’s somewhat sarcastic response to the article (and I must admit that the sarcastic parts were my favorite), “NEWS FLASH! SHARPER PENCILS DON’T IMPROVE STUDENT TEST SCORES! HOT OFF THE PRESSES! BRIGHTER OVERHEAD PROJECTOR BULBS FAIL TO BOOST SAT RESULTS! AMAZING DISCOVERY! COLORED CHALK DOES NOT INCREASE STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT IN 132 SCHOOLS!” <grin>

And I felt even better after reading eSchool News’ more in-depth coverage of the survey. “It is important to remember that educational software, like textbooks, is only one tool in the learning process. Neither can be a substitute for well-trained teachers, leadership, and parental involvement,’ said Keith Krueger, chief executive officer of the Consortium for School Networking, in a statement. “

So, I feel a little better, but I am still disheartened that everything in education seems like it must be justified by test scores. If a study comes out that “proves” technology integration is detrimental to math and reading test scores, are educators going to be encouraged to ignore technology in order to prepare students for these tests?

By the way, if you want to read the actual study referenced, you can find it here.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Edtech News, Education, News, Technology

4 Comments on “I Am Falling a Little Behind…”

  1. S. Seifipour Says:

    But at least you didn’t catch “copulitis” from the Seniors! πŸ™‚

  2. Scott Laleman Says:

    I, too, was disheartened by the study. I knew from the word go what it was about, and, unfortunately, I think it’s going to be used to justify cutting technology funding. I wrote to my folks in congress today to ask them to continue supporting technology in education, specifically referencing the flaws in that study. Maybe if enough of us write and point out the flaws, they’ll take a hard look at their “easy” study and try something a bit more in depth.

  3. jwitter Says:

    My mission is to use technology to educate my students enough about the real world, not focusing on the tests, so that they will become senators and representatives and get rid of the test…

    (History teachers always take the long view…)

  4. John K. Brown Says:

    I would worry more about a study that showed that technology did improve test scores. That might lead to progressive teachers buying into the notion that test scores actually measure important learning objectives!

    I like John Witter’s comment above.


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