I continue to be fascinated by the impact technology has on education. In 2005, Critical Issues: Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement, The Center for Children and Technology pointed out in an article that from 1995 – 2005, the United States invested more than $66 billion in school technology. State and federal funding has been made available to build a technology infrastructure within districts. This brought about higher expectations of the legislators and public. The school district is held accountable for the technology investments, and most of it seems to be tied to student achievement and tie in with standardized testing. Having technology is one thing, effectively using it, is another. Districts must invest in the hardware and software, and then an additional investment in faculty and staff training. Finding what’s right for the district and the students within the district is critical and difficult. One has to think not of what the needs are today, but what the projected needs are 3 to 5 years down the road because technology changes so quickly.
I think back to my days in high school. The first Apple computer used in our school came in my senior year. I remember being enthralled by this ugly little box (let’s face it, Apple/Mac had become a whole lot prettier in almost 30 years). I took a computer programming class – we created a video animation, the equivalence of Atari Space Invaders, 70’s style. During the latter time frame mentioned above, our school district was undergoing a building and renovation project. Updating technology was a piece of that renovation. Today, in our school, there is at least 1 computer in every classroom, K – 12. In addition to that, we have computer labs and laptop carts, which have 30 laptops per cart. At our recent Board of Education meeting, we had presentations on the use of SmartBoards and NovaNet, a credit recovery software program tied to state standards. These pieces of technology fit together as pieces to an educational puzzle.
NovaNet is a program through educational media guru, Pearson’s created an educational system that assists students who need credit recovery. Green Island’s School District began using the program this year. Students who would like to re-take a NYS Regents exam for a higher grade, are able to take a refresher during their study hall. This programming offers individualized instruction on a web-based platform. The sell to school districts? The curriculum is designed to tie into individual state standards. Students who can take advantage of the program include credit accrual, credit recovery, summer school (though not offered through our district) and dropout prevention.
NovaNet is a wonderful example of how the investment in technology can increase student achievement.
Critical Issues: Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement. North Central Regional Educational Laboratory
Green Island Union Free School District. http://www.greenisland.org/news/2010-11/NovaNET_12_22_10.html