"Technology has a crucial role to play in our schools. Unfortunately, it has little to do with the integrated learning systems, Internet access and technology courses that are usually provided to our children. In fact, most independent studies of the effects of those additions during the last 10 years can't find any. The best role of technology in our schools is to help our children's teachers and administrators do their jobs better. Teachers need measurement tools so that they know who needs to learn what. They need databases that track progress from the assessments in real time, not just at the end of the year. When students work on skill development applications instead of workbooks, their teachers receive reports that highlight problem areas and track progress. The databases generate reports that highlight skill acquisition at the level that teachers teach, rather than in terms of grade level."
With the creation of Proposition 13 and other programs that limited funding to after school programs, schools have had to work overtime to serve the same population. Using computers and technology is one way to fight back against the shortages we face.
II. Nothing to fear, but fear itself: Elements both good and bad of the History and Reading Program
One of the things that my colleagues find frustrating is the lack of a tool that can provide an assessment capable of effectively monitoring what level the students could achieve. Lessons must be designed to allow students the flexibility to be in charge or their own learning. The "ownership" of the lesson can stimulate the student to continue down the path of knowledge. The READ 180 program that is used at Leadership Public Schools is a way to help strengthen the reading comprehension of our students. Moving History Curriculum is the next step of the virtual classroom, where students can come and learn at a moments notice. Key elements for successful online instruction include:
Insuring that all students assume good intentions.
One of the biggest issues that students have to overcome in a face to face class is the fear of doing well. Steinberg notes, "Contemporary American society pulls teenagers away from school toward social and recreational pursuits. There is widespread peer pressure not to succeed academically. One of five students say that their friends make fun of people who try to do well in school. More than one-half of all students say they never discuss their schoolwork with friends." With the amount of peer pressure that students face, allowing online education is one way to fight out against this. Making learning "cool" Or "important" is a constant battle that we face. Any portion of online education has to overcome this hurdle. Students should be taught in the first on line sitting that we had to assume good intentions and that is where criticism comes from. Without the ability to see facial expressions or hear tone and pitch, things that are printed on the screen can be interpreted in a context that the author never meant. We want our students to think that reading is the key to unlock the doors of success. We are able to use the technology to help dispel the myth that reading is only for "nerds" or that being cool means that you are not supposed to do school work. One misstep can undo a long period of hard work. This can be ruined...