Thursday, September 11, 2014

Article #1: A Wave of Technology

Chandler, M.A. & Tsukayama, H.(2014). Tablets take a swipe at status quo in schools. Washington Post, The.

Summary
In the article Tablets Take a Swipe at Status Quo in Schools, Chandler and Tsukayama (2014) describe how tablet computers are changing the classroom environment. They explain how many school districts have easily adopted using tablets or iPads in the classroom by using online textbooks. They write, “U.S. schools are expected to purchase 3.5 million tablets by the end of the year, according to industry analysts,” and ”Worldwide, K-12 spending on tablets has increased 60 percent over last year.” The rush for tablets, and computers in general, stem from the Common Core standards and the PARCC test that will be taken by students next year. Chandler and Tsukayama 
(2014) imply that, although there have been bumps and bruises along the way, educational technology is a booming industry, such that “some nontraditional companies have created arms devoted entirely to education technology.” They also explain how many traditional education publishers are scrambling to keep up with the market.

Chandler and Tsukayama 
(2014) list some of the problems that can cause bumps and bruises when adopting new technology such as tablets. Bandwidth is a big concern. Schools will need a lot of it in order to keep everyone online. Professional development is also important. Teachers need help implementing the technology. Web filters and network control are crucial to keep the online distractions at bay. The authors expressed the concerns of parents with the overuse of technology at home and at school, and the concerns of teachers over online access at home. Some students still don’t have access.

The end of the article is reserved for teachers and students. Chandler and Tsukyama 
(2014) explain how tablets are helping students learn. Not only are students more excited, they are more able to direct their own learning and at their own pace. Tablets can even the playing field for some students. The authors tell how one teacher found that students who were more reserved in class tended to use the technology to contact teachers through email giving them the voice they cannot find in class. Chandler and Tsukyama (2014) finally describe how some teachers are creating their own video content of their lessons for students to watch at home or at school, so that class time can be used more wisely for group or project work.

Reflection
Though the article was about the implementation of tablets in schools, it seemed more about educational technology in general. Whether school districts choose tablets, laptops, or Chromebooks, they have to choose something. Technology is a part of our lives now. Students need to learn how to use technology to enhance their lives and help them to be more efficient. Districts will have to have well-researched plans to avoid some of the pitfalls of the past, and they will need to be more open about how students and teachers need to work in the 21st Century classroom. The wave of educational technology is more like a tsunami - unstoppable.