28 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2012 12:04 PM by dawncox

    How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

    jorozcopbs@yahoo.com

      I’ve had many conversations with educators regarding how testing has helped, or hinder technology integration. What are your thoughts on the subject?

        • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
          vkajones

          In my experience, it is a catch 22 item. Sometimes money to purchase technology is tied to testing scores. Or if testing scores are not adequate, many administrators feel there is no time to allow for techology integration.  Although it is not technology integration, more testings is taking place on computers. I think this detail will allow for more integration in the future.

           

          What are the thoughts of others? What can be done to enhance technology integration at campuses and or districts that have little or no technology integration happening?

           

          Vanessa

          • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

            At the elementary level, testing has probably hurt technology integration. Taking on the task of integrating technology can be daunting to many teachers. It is easier and "safer" to stick with what you are used to and what you know works for you regarding testing achievement. Until the tests themselves require students to use technology, integration of technology will take a back seat. An example of this is science: as much as I did not look forward to standardized testing in science, it did make science important (yes, to many administrators and teachers, science was unimportant until it joined the standardized testing team). I think tech integration is on a par of perceived importance as social studies.

             

            I know there is technology test in fifth grade, but it seems far removed from fourth grade on down. I don't think there should be separate technology test anyway; I think technology should be integrated into the tests the students are already taking.

            • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

              Hmm, well I tend to think testing has helped.  We have had technology provided to help students with special needs and circumstances with reading and writing standardized tests. So, in this instance it has enabled some technology integration.

              • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                glen_w

                I have noticed many teachers think they can ONLY do activities that directly relate to upcoming standardized testing. These teachers do not seem to comprehend how deeper thinking and using technology allows students to comprehend material as well as the typical "drill and kill" methods. There also seems to be a push to reduce the funding for technology - in favor of systems that seem to "guarantee student testing success."

                  • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

                    I just finished reading Darth Paper Strikes Back (an Origami Yoda book by Tom Angleberger) with my son and the author makes some jabs about the emphasis on standardized testing. "...I need you to put Yoda away. Put your petition away. And concentrate on the real reason you're here: To learn. To ace the Standards test." (p. 131)

                      • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                        jorozcopbs@yahoo.com

                        After reading some of your responses I have some more questions:
                        Do projects like Lego Robotics, Geochacing, or Media Projects help with testing?
                        If so what skills are they developing as a result?
                        How do we make a case for projects like the ones above being used in some classroom?

                          • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                            glen_w

                            Juan,

                             

                            I do not have any "reference sources" I can cite to back up my claim. In my classroom, I see these projects as a stepping stone to help students think more critically and solve problems. I find my students generally look more closely at their state test questions when we have done similar projects. If we do not do these projects, students often "rush" through their testing without considering that they can solve unknown problems. Therefore, I conclude that such projects are a benefit for learning - and assist in standardized testing success. The good news - my principal has observed my students doing these kinds of activities and he supports them as methods to help students learn the core more deeply .

                             

                            I hope someone is able to provide a "data reference" source that verifies my thinking!

                            • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

                              My guess is that these projects do help, as they require the students to use a variety of higher order thinking skills as well as fundamental math and language skills. I can say this: every year I have students who can ace standardized tests but have difficulty with the types of activities you mention. So, while such projects may or may not help improve test scores, they fill a very important need in our students' education.

                          • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

                            I agree.  Unfortunately, I have seen too many teachers give up on utilizing technology and deeper thinking skills in favor of the more immediately evident results of drill and kill practices to produce test results.  We as teachers must continue to pursue what is best for student learning!

                          • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                            Bonnie Feather

                            I have seen schools purchase technology ("clickers") in order to use them for testing.  In my opinion, this is the least effective use of clickers, but then at least they are available for use in other ways.  However, teachers need training in how to use them for formative assessment, then planning.

                             

                            Testing has also led to so much direct teaching, that many school leaders feel technology use, especially in PBL activities takes to much time away from direct teaching.  In this way, testing has hindered tech integration.

                             

                            ~Bonnie

                              • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                                glen_w

                                The Individual Response Device (clicker) has been extremely valuable in my classroom. I use it mainly as a formative assessment tool. Students are much less concerned about getting a question wrong if they feel the answer is anonymous. While I can get the student's answer associated with their name, my bigger use of these devices is working to ensure comprehension. It is so easy to write formative questions to check for understanding. My goal is to make sure I get above 80% of my students answering a question correctly during these formative assessments. The result generally is about 80% of my class shows proficiency on Unit tests. Students who consistenly answer incorrectly are individually invited to come get help. These students often are excited to learn something they did not "get" the first time.

                                 

                                My mantra continues to be "technology is NOT the answer ... it is another tool for teachers to use."

                              • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

                                As others, I think itechnology can help and hinder, and like most lessons, sometimes it's not the technology that makes a difference. I remember a quote from the Comments4Kids blog: Student engagement- If you want better student engagement, design better lessons, and the same applies to testing (although I will refrain from jumping on my soap box about standardized testing and mention yet another quote from Garner: "The greatest obstacle to learning is coverage"). I have seen teachers in our district incoporate various uses of technology, from the standard "drill and kill," to apps on the iPad that seem to "wake up" reluctant readers and students with learning disabilities, to project-based learning lessons such as digital storytelling and website creation. And yet I still hear teachers say something along the lines of, "I'll have to wait until after MAP testing to do my technology project." Even though we try to stress that we don't "do" technology projects-- technology can be incorporated within any curriculum area-- it seems we have more work to do!

                                • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                                  holmesg

                                  The adoption of new standards in North Carolina will force the integration of technology at the classroom level.  Teachers will have to move away from so many test and more artifact to demonstrate student master of lessons.  The new standards align with Revised Blooms and the new Professional Standards.  We are spending the summer traveling across the state providing professional development to teachers to demonstrate how moving to artifacts and problem based learning will help create better test scores as well as more rounded students.

                                    • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                                      glen_w

                                      I had a surprise this week. I met a teacher who is new in the profession (less than 5 years experience.) This individual and I were discussing technology and possible uses with students. The new teacher indicated a feeling that students should not use technology except for doing Internet research and writing papers for classes. The basic concept shared was that technology causes students to be off-task and not do the assignments they are given. (Later in the day as I walked past this classroom, I saw students sitting quietly at their desks writing information on a paper as they looked at the textbook that was on their desk.) Suddenly I understood why the feelings ran so deep.

                                       

                                      Guess I've got another one to win over in the technology battle .

                                    • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?
                                      dgoodman_1958

                                      I think we have gotten too "test driven" and lost site of how pbl lessons that are relavent to students' lives are more engaging and leads to deeper understanding of a topic and much more content can be delivered through this method.  However, I understand the need for testing to keep schools and educators accountable.  To answer your question....it's a double edge sword, I think it has helped as far as accountability but has certainly hindered technology integration.  I think that will change for many of us as we move to Common Core standards where problem based learning and connection to Blooms Taxonomy is woven throughout the standards.         

                                      • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

                                        Another point, made in the Time Magazine article Why It's Time to Replace No Child Left Behind, is that innovative, creative, award-winning schools can be considered failing schools (subject to intervention and closure) because the standards set by No Child Left Behind haven't been met. The school highlighted in the article (Rachel Carson M.S. in Virginia) did note that one positive outcome was that they were forced to address the populations in their school whose needs were not being met. They admitted that is was too easy to ignore the shortcomings given all their successes.

                                         

                                        On the other hand, the article points out how some of the standards set are virtually unreachable, that funding has been dismal, and that many schools have had to stifle creativity and innovation to focus on how to get the proper percentages of students to pass the test.

                                        • Re: How has testing helped, or hinder technology integration?

                                          I would agree with many of the posts.  Testing has hinder some technology integration.  I feel that we are so focused on our test scores that we often look over integrating technology instead of looking to technology to enhance our lessons.  Our students today are so technology driven that many of them will become more activily engaged the minute you give them the chance with technology.  I have had students that never participate suddenly raising their hands to participate in discussions when we are using technology.