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Instructional Technology Paper - Essay Example

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Technology can be a boon or a bane. This is equally true in the field of education amidst warnings of the possible harmful effects of using technology in the classroom. The main concerns stem from the feeling that overdependence on technology will detract from traditional teaching methods leading to an overall drop in standards…
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Download file "Instructional Technology Paper" to see previous pages... Specialized programs have facilitated the conduct of test that give valuable feedback on which to base further teaching schedules. This aspect - technology as an aid to testing - is discussed by Neal Starkman in a feature entitled 'Special Consideration' in the November 2007 issue of the periodical 'The Journal'.
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The present system of testing followed by most schools across the country is to give a comprehensive, all-encompassing test at the end of the school year. Students get this 'one-shot' opportunity to prove their worth. This can be quite intimidating for students, leading to a pressure to perform that can be quite stressful. Most students cannot cope with this kind of pressure, which reflects in their overall scores as well as on the schools record. Year end tests, being of necessity standardized in nature, also fail to assess individual skills that a child may possess, as they have to be administered to the entire class. Although slight variations exist in the form of semester tests or quarter wise testing, the concept is essentially the same. Students are administered a standardized test and have to wait for the papers to be corrected before they can learn their scores. This is usually in the form of a report card in which the student is also ranked in relation to his peers. Individual strengths and weakness are overlooked in this from of testing. This advent of technology that enables frequent, individualized testing makes the old system irrelevant. Schools that have embraced technology have shown substantive improvements in their results.

One of the examples discussed by Starkman is of the Oklahoma City's 'Westwood Elementary School'. The school discovered that "one-size-fits-all tests"(Starkman) did not present an accurate view of students abilities. The school therefore introduced a variety of assessment programs such as Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests, Accelerated Math and Edusoft software in order to conduct frequent individual tests. The benefits of electronic testing are manifold. Not only do they determine a student's strengths and weaknesses but also suggest the direction future instruction should take, which can be a big help to a teacher. Moreover, since such tests are easy to conduct, they can be given as often as required so that students and teachers get feedback throughout the school year. The school's principal, Jan Borelli who introduced this technology in the school transformed the school from a low performing school to one in which, "students scored in the top 10 percent on the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests" (Starkman). Some critics say that the school is going overboard by having far too many tests, but the results speak for themselves.

Similarly, other schools that have introduced technology in their assessment methods are also reporting dramatic increases in student scores. Introduction of the A+nyWhere Learning System in one school resulted in a two-grade equivalent increase in reading standards. There are many factors behind this including accountability and the fact that students get immediate feedback. Moreover, a computer program merely gives the result. It does not judge or comment on the result and is thus not perceived by the students as a threat to their self esteem - the computer, "[is] not giving them attitude... [Students are] not worried about what their ...Download file "Instructional Technology Paper" to see next pagesRead More
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