Education pilot program allows teachers to design new apps

Pilot program develops effective classroom software.

Technology has been making quite a few waves in classrooms worldwide. As with any big trend, it can be difficult for many to sort out actual value from the hype, but it’s certain that quality computer programs are being used productively in classrooms around the world.

The only problem with designing effective classroom software is not every teacher knows how to program – and they’re the ones who know how best to engage students in learning. That’s why New Visions school district recently launched “Edesign Lab,” a pilot program to bring together educators and IT. According to a GothamSchools article, the program took five teachers and partnered them with tech mentors, such as software engineers. The teachers gained the benefit of better understanding software, while the IT professionals were able to better understand education-related needs.

“It was valuable to work on education with teachers and technologists; I think that combination is not usually talked about,” said English as a second language teacher Dara Ross, who was quoted in the article.

The program produced some valuable learning tools. One team created an application called “Reading Robot,” a tool designed to enhance guided reading. The program features integrated prompts to gauge and guide reading, as well as the ability to track readers’ progress. Reading Robot uses prompts to analyze reader understanding and can personalize the learning experience by adjusting the number of questions it asks. For example, if the program identifies a struggling reader, it will deliver tiered prompts to help build understanding of the material.

What do you think about IT professionals and teachers collaborating? Would you like to see more educational applications similar to Reading Robot?

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.