Essential question 11 – part 2, management and technology + tools for final project #diffimooc

Regarding the classroom management issue for this week, I had an interesting interaction with a retired teacher this week:  She taught early elementary for years here in Sitka and was helping with the SBA test administration at the high school, as was I.  She brought up the topic of making the tests computerized in coming years and how difficult it would be to monitor students and prevent cheating.  As an example, she spoke of a student that she had worked with who, with access to a computer, could toggle between screens so quickly that she couldn’t keep up.  My thoughts were that technology is advanced enough that adequate security could be built into the test to prevent accessing outside resources.  Also, kids would benefit from using computers in these types of tests because it would prevent “pencil fatigue” connected with the writing and bubble-filling, hence the quality of writing would be more reflective of ability because it would be easier for students to reread what they have written and make editing changes using word processing tools. If the point is to measure student ability, shouldn’t the tests be more reflective of society?

In researching classroom management I came upon this article about technology in the schools.  It’s a couple years old and may have already made the circuit of tech savvy educators. But, the points made by the author merit repeating.  Technology shouldn’t be viewed as “special” or restricted by schools.  It is the wrong perspective to make teachers the “police” or “regulators” of technology access.  Instead, something that has crossed my radar multiple times throughout this semester is the idea of schools teaching the proper use of technology – in social networking, resource citing, copyright issues, and digital imaging.  Kids today need to learn how to integrate technology in safe, responsible ways. Part of that learning process are the natural consequences that occur when kids over share online, miss meaningful social interactions because they are distracted by phones, or spend too much time engaging in video games instead of completing assignments.  My philosophy is that these are things kids need to learn through trial and error and some kids need more time in learning than others.

Of course, there are those students who are incredibly fast learners and to insist that those students stay in “lock step” with the rest of the class defeats the individualization made possible with technology. 

So, my perspective with regards to classroom management and technology is to take a more preventative, teaching approach by focusing on good digital citizenship versus trying to ferret out those who would use technology to cheat or avoid work.

In researching tools for the final project, I have been exploring the Scribd site, seeing how it could be utilized in a classroom for a reading/writing assignment. I’m thinking of using it and a blogging format to drive this assignment.  My thoughts are that Scribd would allow for students to differentiate the content of their reading by selecting a topic of interest to them.  In differentiating the product, a blog allows for sharing through writing, images, or recordings or incorporating these elements in a creative way.

I know part of this assignment is adding classroom management views with regard to technology to Pearltrees. I will continue to try to add my resources about digital citizenship that I have wrote about in this post. I’ve been having some technical difficulties with it to date…

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