How far can we go with technology to stay within the comfort zone of our students? We determined this year to have our students from second through fourth grade take their standardized tests on computers. No more bubbling in, no more tracking from the test to a paper, no more losing your place in the test. We found the students adapted immediately to the new format. The tests were, in some cases, even interactive. The most incredible result was that the scores were available immediately!
As we make decisions about textbooks for the twenty-first century, we would be unrealistic to assume the status quo. Almost all textbooks come with an online version or at the very least, a component that is online. Wow! This allows us to differentiate for the students as in the math online program that we use at Shlenker. Students go online at their home, take a short quiz about what they learned in class that day, and depending on their score, a homework page pops up. Of course, they receive feedback immediately too.
What do we know? We know that typically between the ages of six and seventeen, “the amount of time kids spend reading books for fun declines, while the time they spend going online for fun and using smart phones to text or talk increases", according to the 2010 Kids & Family Reading Report. Additional findings from this report express concern from parents that the use of cell phones, texting, emailing, and gaming take time away from important activities such as the ones indicated below:
Doing physical activities (40%)
Engaging with family (33%)
However, the study revealed that kids are motivated by using technology, and many said they would read more if they had the opportunity to read e-books on an electronic device. It looks like technology is here to stay!