Saturday, August 30, 2014

Is Technology Helping or Hurting in the Classroom

There is no doubt we live in a Wired world and are raising a Wired generation. As marketers peddle iPad attachments to baby cribs and teenagers can barely look up from their smartphones to actually speak with the person they are text ten feet away, the role of technology in our lives cannot be ignored and downplayed. But the question of how the use of tech - from smartphones and SmartBoards to iPhones and tablets - impacts learning is still at the forefront discussions on pedagogy and school structure.

The most significant manner in which technology is driving changes to education is in the area of standardized testing. And that is a problem. Teachers and administrators have long worried about the use of "bells and whistles" in the classroom as technology for technology's sake. The primary reason for any pedagogical change should be improved learning. However, in the era of online standardized testing via the PARCC and SmarterBalanced assessments, schools feel they must increase the use of technology simply for students to feel comfortable taking the tests on a laptop or tablet.

In Colorado the impact is being felt as the state prepares for the first round of online testing with its CMAS measures in the fall for seniors in science and social studies and the PARCC test for grades 3 - 11 in the spring. Thus, Colorado schools are finding ways to bring digital devices to the classroom in a meaningful way.

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