Laura Harlow Reflections on Standard. IV - LauraHarlow

Reflections on Standard IV
With the creation of technology standards comes the question of technology
assessment. How can we determine if the students have learned the technology component
that should be met? Even in ideal situation where teachers are exposing and expecting
students to use technology, there seems to be difficulty in obtaining quantitative results.
“Although current technology literacy assessment practices remain relatively weak, this is
not completely indicative of a lack of commitment” (Williamson & Redish, 2009). The
development of assessment tools has lagged behind the integration of the topic matter. In
order to demand the level of technology understanding to be raised, there must be proof
that the current level is low. Without a quality measurment tool for assessment, there is no
way to prove the disconnect and things will remain as they are (Williamson & Redish,
I agree with Williamson and Redish that computer-based testing allows for
assessment results to be reports at a much faster create than the traditional months and
that districts need to prepare student for this type of assessment by providing ”formative
classroom assessment and district-level benchmark testing.” However, I have issue with a
technology-based implementation of these high-stakes tests in mathematics. In math
courses, it is not enough to “figure out” the answer; you must understand how to get the
correct answer. In fact, the AP Calculus exam grades the work of the student. If a mistake is
made in the first part of a problem that results in a wrong answer, the reader allows for
that answer and grades the remaining parts with that data. This takes much more time
than grading a multiple-choice test; however, the student’s understanding of concepts is
being graded not his answers. If this is the method that results in college credit, what
makes grade level assessments think that a true assessment can be determined with
multiple-choice test alone? In addition, there is the inherent problem of quickly clicking
from page to page that students have developed. This does not allow the student time to
process the question much less calculate an answer before they feel the need to move to
the next page. The obvious fix would be to expose student to the computer-based testing
before the high-stakes exam but this is a not widely used method (TF-IV.A.1 and TF-IV.B.1)
(Williamson & Redish, 2009).
Some content areas lend themselves well to computer-based assessment;
English/Language Arts, Social Studies and Foreign Language would all be easily tested on
the computer. Science would be much harder. So much of science is based on computation
of data that it would be difficult without guidance. Mathematics is all computation driven. If
the trend continues and computer-based testing is here to stay, the focus of curriculum
needs to shift to support this type of assessment (TF-IV.B.1). The logistic question puzzles
me: how does a campus get enough computers, as well as space, to test all students using
technology? This testing must be done often enough that students become comfortable
taking online test in anticipation of the high-stakes assessment they are required to take.
Teachers have voiced concerned with the amount of time it will take to create this
type of assessment entails. The question arises, not what to do but who will do it. How do
you let teachers know that the power of technology is with putting it into the students’
hands? Using the test generator provided with the book adoption is not enough. The
technology assists the teacher in the creation of the material and is therefore not
addressing the technology needs of the students. I need to discuss with my campus
supervisor which teachers would be most open to trying the technology.
In Leadership for Accountability, EDLD 5333, we addressed the idea of using
technology in as a part of a larger accountability model (TF-IV.A.1). The state reported data
was evaluated and strengths and weaknesses were identified. A professional development
was created to involve teachers with the discovery of needs to address and brainstorm
ideas to use technology as one of the medium of instruction (TF-IV.A.2, TF-IV.B.1 and TFIV.C.1). With the technology based student information system, data can be accessed and
used to better understand the students. I am thankful that our SIS has the students’ history
as related to academics. Past report cards, TAKS data and Stanford scores are readily
available to consider when determining the needs of current students. (TF-IV.A.2)
In Teaching with Technology, EDLD 5364, the focus was to incorporate technology
into all facets of the learning cycle, including formative and summative assessments (TFIV.A.2, TF-IV.B.1 and TF-IV.C.1). During Instructions Design, EDLD 5368, I formulated a
plan in which computer-based learning was present and included the assessment of
learning (TF-IV.B.1).
As I took Teaching with Technology as well as creating my site-based experiences, I
found that one of the exciting things about Google Apps and Moodle is the ease of creating
and distributing online assessment. In the past teachers were required to create an
interaction. With today’s Web 2.0 capabilities, it takes very little time to create the
assessment and then make it available to students. In the Moodle support I am creating, the
idea is to make this accessible to all teachers. (TF-IV.B.1, TF-IV.A.2)
During my attendance at the Texas Computer Educators Association 2010
conference, I was exposed to many Web 2.0 tools that could easily be used in assessment
(TF-IV.C.1, TF-IV.A) I think one of the more important methods is the ease of formative
assessment. Item such as response systems that take a set up have been around but are not
utilized to their full potential. Google Apps has many uses but I felt the most interesting one
was the Web 2.0 Wall site where students could log in and write on the wall the teacher
was using for instruction. This was an innovative use of a handheld devise. As long as the
district is okay with phone/texting use during the class period. Questions and comments
could quickly be asked about certain items. (TF-IV.C.1). Another example of a novelty
becoming so common place that and it is used as a tool with a purpose. However, teachers
are uncomfortable when students use a new technology, not without concern. How are they
using it? But once students get used to technology advancement, it becomes something we
can use without distraction. Once teachers integrate the technology into the curriculum in a
way that the focus is not longer the newness of the technology, this is when the true
capabilities will emerge (TF-IV.A.2)
As we move into the age of technology, districts are beginning to use technology for
administrative needs. The problem remains with the actually education of the students.
Even in schools where technology is available, technology “remains underused” and
“teaching practices remain largely unchanged” (Williamson & Redish, 2009). There seems
to be a small amount of research to warrant making sweeping adjustments but this should
change as more teachers use the technology available to them to further their curriculum
and assist students in their understanding.
Williamson, J., & Redish, T. (2009). ISTE’s technology facilitation and leadership standards:
What every K-12 leader should know and be able to do. Eugene, OR: International
Society for Technology in Education.