Discover more from Technology Should Be Simple
I’m going to share three experiences with educational technology that have the biggest impact on the thinking and philosophy presented in this book. Each story is from a different perspective; personal, professional, and outsider. Each story has a common theme that reinforced the conclusions presented. It pushed me to develop a Choose Your Own Device (CYOD) 1:1 program and write this book.
This post is part of an ongoing series of chapters from the book CHOICE. Please view this post for an introduction and table of contents.
Standardized testing is ever present in education. Regardless if you think it’s good or bad for students, it just is.
Students across the country and around the world in almost all grade levels take some form of standardized test.
Sometimes, this is done with pen and paper or a scantron sheet, but more often it’s being done on a computer (depending when you are reading this, it may all be done on computers). That computer is often the same for everyone. If you are doing testing on a Chromebook, every student in the school is using a Chromebook. If it’s Windows, every student is using Windows. Every student is on the same platform, taking the same test, with the same resources. Sound fair and equal, right?
I was put in the position of starting a new job a few short months before standardized testing on computers was about the start. The K12 school district had made the choice that all students would use Chromebooks (standard 11.6” non touch screens with a keyboard). The problem? There wasn’t enough Chromebooks for testing. More Chromebooks needed to be ordered.
The Chromebooks that were already in the district were older and not worth buying more of. I chose a new model that had a touchscreen and was capable of being used as a tablet (the 4 in 1 laptop style).
My thought process being, the Chromebooks could be used the same as the existing Chromebooks for testing, and after testing we could experiment with the touch and tablet aspects of the device. There were very few touch screen devices currently in the district. It was getting what we needed in the moment and planning for the future.
As testing got started, I made the rounds to classrooms. Checking that testing was running smoothly and troubleshooting when necessary. As I walked around I saw how students were using the new Chromebooks compared to what they used all year.
Students with the new Chromebooks chose to use the devices in a way that was most comfortable to them. Some used them as regular laptops. Some had an external mouse attached. Some preferred to use the keyboard and touch screen to navigate. Some skipped the physical keyboard all together and preferred to use the touch screen keyboard.
The devices capable of the 4 in 1 layout option were used in a variety of ways. The students choose what was most comfortable for them to take the test.
They are taking the same test, and answering the same questions, but were able to use the technology in a way that was more comfortable to them. It was an eye opening moment for removing the technology barrier many of the students face with standardized testing.
This post is part of an ongoing series of chapters from the book CHOICE. To receive new chapters when they are published, please subscribe below.