I’m at the final stages of an article on technology for an education website. In the process of doing that article, I picked up a dozen new ideas for articles. When you’re writing about ed-tech, you first have to sort out of the wheat from the chaff. There’s a whole lot of ed-tech ideas that are simply gadgetry or empty ed-school jargon. But there are some good quality ideas out there, too, that solve real problems in schools.
One of the best uses of technology in schools is helping untraditional learners – kids who are either accelerated or have learning differences or are both at the same time. Those kids are typically shoved in the attic of a school, where the teacher makes some lame-assed effort to teach all those kids at the same time using the same book. The best schools are now solving that problem with technology.
Because the textbooks are online, the teacher can click one button and tailor the book to whatever reading level is needed. One kid can learn about biology at a fifth grade level, another at the seventh grade level, at the same time, in the same classroom. That way the teacher can have them read independently for twenty minutes, and then do a group project as a class for the last twenty minutes of class.
For reading lessons, the programs can find patterns in errors and then hone in persistent types of errors, so the teacher can target particular problems.