Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What Do Students Want?

By now you know about all the money that the Obama administration has earmarked for public schools. A survey completed by students indicate what they want in their schools is more mobile technology. Take a look at this story which reports on the results of the student survey, and weigh in on what we as educators are learning from our students. Do you really think teachers are on the same page as their students? Are we missing the boat? How do you think the money from the Obama stimulus package should be spent.

Photo from the story page found in eSchool New, Wed, Mar 25, 2009 .

This additional story from District Administration, April 2009 will tell you about how funding can be used to enhance teacher professional development activities focused on classroom technology integration. Basically, the author claims, "learning is not just technology -- it's the teacher know-how to integrate technology and 21st century skills into students' learning. Take a peek, and feel free to comment on this article, as well.


travis said...

Well, I feel like broken record, but it is my favorite record. I think we should find a way to fix what is broken, not beat the parts that are working hard. Students are working hard, teachers are working hard but in my opinion it is the community that is broken. I do not think teachers need more money, or more training, and students definitely do not need more testing. Rather, I think more attention should be given to connecting communities to schools. In places where the families and communities are behind the students there is wide spread success. That is what I think we should spend all of our time and resources on.

Michelle said...

I think it is great that students want more technology in school as there are many schools out there that do seem behind in using it in the classroom. However, I don't think that stimulus money should be spent on what students want. I have to agree with Travis in the fact that administration needs to look at what is broken and how it can be fixed. If technological resources are needed to enhance student achievement then that's a good way to go. Very often I think resource money is wasted on things that aren't necessary...I have even seen this in my own district. What will it take for money such as this to be spent wisely?

Diane said...

Every student and school district is going to differ on what "they want" versus want is truly needed to offer the best possible education to students. While I agree that technology offers wonderful opportunities for learning that once did not exist, I am not for using cell phones, smart phones and MP3's in a school setting. I feel that this is just asking for trouble and distraction throughout a school day. Rather, would it be beneficial to take some of the stimulus money and provide in-depth education to teachers on effectively using computers in the classroom. I think that school districts were once gung-ho on computers, bought them for their schools and then said to teachers "here you go , use them in your classrooms". A program such as Blackboard is a great tool for students and teachers to communicate (as we know from our class and as Travis uses it for his classes). Why not start with this program as far as expanding communication and technology for teachers and students? Also, I like the thought of schools having class blogs for every course a student takes. I think we need to start slow and look at what can benefit most rather than just some.

Kathy V. said...

(My blog was just erases so here goes again be it a shorter version possibly!!)In the first article, I am not surprised how many students want more technology and movable technology in school. The students suggested cell phones and texting which could possibly be useful in some situations but how does one regulate them. 46% of middle schoolers wanting to take online classes was astounding! The middle schoolers said they could study their notes more often and ask questions without being afraid. Wow, I always try to encourage students to ask whatever is on their mind but I am sure many questions don't get asked. Commenting on the second article where Preident Obama wants more technology training for teachers--I am all for it!! Like they said, there has been training at times but then what is learned can't be implemented so what was taught to teachers gets lost without using. Technology must be part of children's education as well as the teachers. The positive effects of learning through technology show up just by seeing how the interest sparks amongst students when we go to the computer lab, watch other power points or use an overhead projector for BrainPOP or any other internet information that is being discussed. Technology in the classroom will take all of us to higher levels of learning and thinking for all levels of learners!! Let's do it!!

gretchen said...

This is such a difficult issue.
I agree with Travis that teachers, students, administrators are all working hard. And I also think that for the most part- so are communities.
Testing, although proven to be ineffective continues to be our way of accessing. I causes anxiety in both teachers and students-- and in some schools literally stops the learning for months.
Technology, as we are all learning, is the wave of the future and the hear and now, children have to know how to use it to compete and we would be doing great harm to students futures by leaving it out of their daily lives. I have seen both the poorest schools and those with the best resources in NYC and the kids that are succeeding from the best schools use technology all day- and do not have standardized testing to prove their merit. Plus there is a certain autonomy that the teachers in the higher performing schools command and in turn they strive to be better. I am not sure what the answer is- but I believe we are on a better path!

carla said...

I have to agree with both Travis and Gretchen that teachers, students, and administration are working hard. These are the people that are in the schools on a daily basis and truly are beginning to understand what is necessary for success. Test results are what the outside-of-the-school community use to assess what is going on in our schools. This isn't accurate but very often it is the only picture they are receiving of the schools. Therefore, I agree with Travis that time and money needs to be spent on fixing this gap of knowledge. As for incorporating technology into schools, it is essential but it needs to be done in a useful and meaningful way. There is no point in using technology just for the sake of technology. The curriculum must be enhanced by the implimentation of the technology. I think further training of teachers would be a great way to achieve this, more specifically the training needs to be grade level and subject specific. Even though there are technology programs that lend themselves to interdisciplinary areas, for the most part a math teacher is not in need of the same technology programs as an English or social studies teacher. Technology must be specific in order to be effective.

michele s said...

Technology in the classroom is a great asset but much research must be conducted before deciding which programs and equipment are needed by which children. There are so many options to consider. Having lap tops available for all children beginning in upper elementary grades would be a good investment for the future of technology in the classroom.

Sacha K. said...

First, this was a good follow-up blog to read after the Speak Up article, since the feature program called Project Tomorrow utilizes the data from Speak Up.

Second, as with the Speak Up blog, I am impressed by the insights of the students suggestion to incorporate more mobile technology in schools. Even at the college level schools we are starting to use mobile technology. At Saint Joseph College, we can opt for receiving text messages of emergency announcements and closings. I suspect that this is just the beginning of uses for mobile technology on our campus, and that mobile devices will be growing in utility at other institutions. These students already have access to mobile devices and are already using them in innovative ways academically, such as researching online and recording lectures. The students’ creativity and comfort with these mobile devices should be tapped to make academics more engaging and technologically rich. I also like the potential to encourage STEM careers by having podcasts and communications between students and professionals currently in those fields.

Third, the only concern I have is about using stimulus dollars, rather than outside grants for example, for these academic innovations. Districts and schools should be careful to weigh their individual needs and wants to decide if this mobile suggestion is best for their student body.

Caitlin said...

I think that it is great that this article really focuses on what students want. Too often decisions are made on what administrators want, what teachers want, what parents want...and then we wonder why kids are disengaged at school. Listening to what students want gives us valuable insight into what we can do as teahcers to enhance learning and make our curriculum meaningful. I think increasing technology is not only a great idea, but necessary as we move forward in the 21st century. I also think that the fact that technology is a main "want" of students shows just how in tune they are with our advancing world and are looking for opportunities to bring the outside world in