Online resources, testing drives education technology needs

Online resources, testing drives education technology needs

The way students learn material in school has significantly changed in the last couple years. Instead of lugging 1,000-page textbooks to class or being forced to put their laptops away, students are now leveraging mobile devices to access online resources. These new technological assets require classroom monitoring in order to ensure their successful and productive use.

Ditching the textbook
Previously, there have been numerous issues connected with the use of textbooks in the classroom. Besides students drawing on the pages, and not protecting the exterior, these resources are also used year after year and can quickly become outdated. In fact, Ted Fransen, superintendent at the Pembina Trails School Division, was a former teacher and the history textbook he utilized in class during the 1990's was published when Rev. Martin Luther King was still alive. This means the book was terribly outdated, even for use during that time period.

Now, however, the game is changing when it comes to classroom materials. Instead of using outdated, heavy textbooks, schools are increasingly turning to online resources. These days, "textbooks" can come in a range of different forms – including as the traditional print version, on a disc or as an access code where students connect with the resource exclusively through an online platform.

This shift changes the way schools allocate their budgets, as they spend more on technology to support the use of online resources and less on physical textbooks. Educational institutions must have the classroom computers and monitoring software in place to allow the use of Web-based materials of this kind, and ensure that these assets are utilized effectively.

Scantrons to computer-based testing
Textbooks aren't the only materials being set aside for more advanced technology. Where students used to use a No. 2 pencil and a Scantron form for tests in the past, they now simply scoot their chairs up to a computer.

"We're moving away from paper and pencil tests to a completely different format and developing more skills in terms of college and career readiness," said Diane Hernandez, California Department of Education director of assessment development. "Everything is moving in the direction of more technology, and everyone is doing the best they can to prepare for that."

This is causing rising demand for classroom computers and other technological assets in the education sector, that, in some cases, levels the playing field for students. While some schools couldn't afford computers and advanced systems in the past, as districts seek to keep up with Common Core standards, they must find room in the budget for these items. In this way, previously underprivileged schools could now have just as many computers as their affluent counterparts.

However, when schools utilize the funding in their often tight budgets to purchase computers, they must ensure that they will be monitored and used effectively. Faronics' classroom monitoring software can help teachers keep an eye on their pupils and technological assets. This way, educators can be assured that their classroom computers are being used appropriately during class time.

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Abhishek Sood

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