ASSESSING THE USE OF TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM

Key Word: Curriculum Materials, General Inforamtion, K-12

Submitted by: Brandie Butler

Using technology in the classroom is becoming increasingly popular in our hi-tech society. It has been used as a reinforcemnet as well as a tool for learning. There are virtually no limits to what technology can do for today's classroom. The limits are held by finances and teacher knowledge of how to use the technology properly. Many teachers do not associate the computer with learning. Some often view the computer as a play thing that their students can spend fifteen minutes on if they have all of their schoolwork finished.

For those educators who do see the computer as a teaching tool, but are somewhat confused about how to assess the work their students do, there is hope. Although using the computer and other technology may be an alternative to the common worksheet and basic paper and pencil assessment, the idea is still the same. For every project a teacher assigns, there are certain criteria set that the students are expected to live up to in order to receive a passing grade for the project. Using technology is no different. The question to ask yourself before assigning and grading any project is this, "What are the goals that I want my students to reach by completing this project?" (Shepherd -Hayes 136). If this asked before each grading, then there is not question why someone earned the grade they received.

One way to do this is to use rubric. A rubric is a set of criteria that can be used to score student's work. Each criterion is awarded a certain number of minimun and maximum points. According to how efficiently the student completed or met each criterion determines his or her grade. When finished, the points are totaled and the final grade is given based on those points. This also allows students to see where their strengths and weaknesses lay (Shepherd-Hayes 136).

For those types of technologies that do not lend themselves well to a rubric-type assessment, graphing can be used. This type of assessment can be done in different ways. One way is to actually keep track of the student's score every time a cycle of a program is completed. For example, there is a program called Thinkin' Things that works on a number of different concepts. One concept is reading comprehension. The student is given a few guide sentences and is asked to place different colored, shaped, and patterned "animals," called Fripples, into certain spots according to the guide sentences given. Assimilation and comprehension of the sentences are required in order to be completely correct. When a student thinks that all the Fripples are home, they can click on the "check it" button to see if they are correct. The computer then tells the student which Fripples are in the wrong place. To assess a student's progress with a graph using this program, the teacher and/or the student can keep a graph of how many times it took the student to get all the Fripples in the right place. Over a few weeks, the graph will show the pace at which the students are moving. Another way graphing can be used is if the program itself will save all the scores for each student, compile them and then print them. A comparison of improvement may be made this way also.

Technology can simply be a way to make school a little more exciting. Instead of having students write what happened first, second, and third in a story when working on sequence, have them look at pictures that you have previously scanned and have the students place them in correct order and write a story to go along with the pictures if you would want to assess their writing. You will also be working on story structure when doing this. This can be assessed just as any other paper would be (e- mail). Many reports can be done creatively using Hyperstudio, Microsoft Works, Clarisworks, and other programs. These can also be assessed by using a rubric or a regular grading method. Using the word processor allows the students to check their spelling, increase their vocabulary by using the thesaurus, and get a feel for what it is like to write something with a professional look to it.

There are many other programs that are being used in the classroom that help language and reading skills. There are also many other ways to assess the student's work when using the technology, but these few suggestions may clear up some concerns as to how assessment can be done.

Other Programs Being Used
KidDesk
Living Books
Storybook Weaver
Creative writer
SuperMucher
Inspiration
WWW
KidsWorks
writing to Write
Imagination Express
LinkWay
LinkWay Live
e-mail
Stories & more I & II

References
Brooks, S. 1996

E-mail: Brandt, C., Ezzell, K., Nancy

Shepherd-Hayes, D. Managing Technology in the Classroom. Teacher Created Materials, Inc., 1995.

Stricklin, D., 1995

Uploaded by: Emily Black/ Kent State University/Deaf Education