August 27, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Articles | No comment
Growing up, my educational experiences have been below average. The schools I have attended were overcrowded. Schools were short of teachers, which led to some classes having substitutes who were actually school aides. I noticed that teachers would be overwhelmed with the classes they have to teach because they would teach three to four periods on a daily basis as well as different grade levels. Now imagine how many students that one teacher must keep track of, how many assignments and tests that teacher must grade by hand, and how many lesson plan books he or she must carry around.
My basic point here is that this workload for teachers could easily be reduced with technology. Through my experience in college, I have come across several different education systems that allow teachers to decrease their workload as well as reduce the stress of keeping track of lesson plans and students.
The advancement of education systems have allowed teachers the opportunity to focus more of their time on their students instead of worrying about keeping up with roll call and grading assignments. Teachers can organize their lesson plans by classes and not worry if they forget their stack of lesson plan books. In addition, they are able to take roll with just a click away. However, one of the systems I am very familiar with is Novachi. Teachers can allow the Novachi system to grade multiple choice and true or false assignments and tests automatically. Moreover, grades will automatically be posted onto the student’s profile. Think about how much time teachers spend on these specific tasks and with an educational system, so much time can be used for more productive purposes.
Article written by Jessica D. Flores of Novachi Inc. www.novachi.com
August 27, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Articles | No comment
As a former private school principal, educator, and father, I know the value of learning objectives. When you give children a goal, they rise to the level of expectation to meet that goal. I am a product of learning objectives, as is my son. My son has become quite a learner in public and private school settings because of his goals and goal driven teachers. However, there is one area of learning where I believe educational leaders need more learning objectives, and that area is technology. Granted, many schools do have technology plans and some may even have expected student-learning outcomes, but I have yet to see the demonstrated outcomes.
You see, we live in a world dominated by technology. People use technology at work and for personal use. However, children use technology more for personal use. My son for instance, like most teenagers, games and texts more than I care to admit. And frankly, I would like to see his media time be more dominated by meaningful learning than video games.
I believe that students like my son should be using technology as a tool to complete homework, interact with teachers, and, at times, complete in-class assignments through various media applications. To realize the benefits of technology, public and private schools must develop a plan for integrating technology into the curriculum. That’s right; it must be a part of every class and not only the technology class.
One resource on this topic is a draft of the National Educational Technology Plan 2010, released on March 5, 2010. This plan is an insightful guide that public and private school administrators should read. I was impressed by several learning goals in the assessment and teaching sections of this technology plan and here they are.
“Our education system at all levels will leverage the power of technology to measure what matters and use assessment data for continuous improvement.
To meet this goal, we recommend the following actions:
2.1 Design, develop, and adopt assessments that give students, educators, and other stakeholders timely and actionable feedback about student learning to improve achievement and instructional practices.
3.4 Use technology to provide access to the most effective teaching and learning resources, especially where they are not otherwise available, and to provide more options for all learners at all levels.
3.5 Develop a teaching force skilled in online instruction.”
In other words, technology can be used to give timely feedback to students, access to learning resources, and online instruction. If schools were able to meet these standards, I know that children would be more engaged while doing homework. Children all over the United States would go on their computers to learn and not just game and chat with friends. The practice of reading online alerts about assignments and activities would become a regular part of online tasks. Parents could more easily communicate with teachers on a host of issues including a child’s academic progress, class behavior, and learning issues. Instead of watching TV, struggling students could stream video review lessons.
An effective technology plan must be based on the shared vision of educators, parents, community members, and business leaders who have technological expertise. It seems clear that plans are in place, the technology exists, but the will to move forward is lacking.
Case in point — when my son first started middle school, I was very much excited that the school had a website, an online grading system, and a homework message system. I thought my son would greatly benefit from the school system. What has happened is that many of his teachers do not use the system to send messages, post assignments, or collaborate with their students. When teachers do use the system, my son benefits; but when he needs information or clarification about an assignment, we have found he has to wait or we guess. That is reason why a technology plan must be based on the shared vision of educators, parents, community members, and business leaders who have technological expertise. When stakeholders are behind a new goal, they are more apt to contribute in some small way to meeting that goal. We rise to the level of expectation.
Article written by Rick Crawford of Novachi Inc. www.novachi.com
Rick Crawford was an educator for over 10 years working in both public and private school settings. He holds a B.A. in Social Science and a M.A. in Administration and Supervision from San Jose State University. Currently he works for Noavachi Inc. in the marketing department. Rick enjoys spending time with family, fishing, and writing children’s books during his free time.
August 27, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Articles | No comment
Today in America a teacher stood in front of her elementary class pleased that, she had a job and had children to teach. She was glad to be around kids again, but there were so many little ones. As she directed them to line up for lunch, she saw that she had thirty-six students. How was she ever going to prepare them all for the future?
Later in the staff lunchroom, while talking with colleagues, she discovered that everyone was overwhelmed. Budget cuts had caused the school to fire several teachers and that meant more children per class. The principal reluctantly acknowledged that teachers in certain grade levels may get even more children than they currently had.
Schools all over the United States are facing tough fiscal times. We are told we are in a fiscal recovery and not a recession, but the economic climate does not look promising. For educators the full weight of last year’s recession is about to bring more painful budget cuts. Policy experts say the budget crisis from last year will be felt acutely this year and to expect more cuts in education in the future.
According to a study administered by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) earlier this year, 82 percent of districts will cut or eliminate 27,516 education jobs in 2010-11 and 53 percent will freeze hiring. Projection of National Education Job Cuts for the 2010-11 School Year.
Stated differently, “Although the economy has begun to rebound, K-12 education leaders say they are still facing serious budget shortfalls for the coming school year that threaten their ability to implement new technologies, raise the quality of instruction in their classrooms, and close achievement gaps among students, a new survey reveals.” This according to eSchool News April 9, 2010.
How can we provide help for the teacher with 36 plus students? Many school districts are looking to technology. Providing online class management software and support is crucial for teachers now more than ever. Online grading, scheduling, lesson planning, and attendance taking tools will help teachers spend less time on administration and more time teaching in the classroom. It is imperative that administrators give teachers the tools to manage ever-increasing class sizes.
How does technology help? Teachers spend a significant amount of time on planning, developing and organizing instruction along with housekeeping and record-keeping tasks. Online school management systems help reduce time spent on repetitive or complex tasks such as grading, administration of quizzes and tests, taking attendance and student/parent communications.
Novachi will help teachers spend less time on administration and more time teaching in the classroom and providing more one-on-one interactions with students.
Article written by Rick Crawford of Novachi Inc. www.novachi.com