Congratulations on moving the student participation needle significantly upward on the weekly Fast Fact Surveys. Over a thousand students (1047) participated this past week from the following schools and in the following percentages.
Given only 36% of students reported having access to tablet computers in their pre-project survey, it’s gratifying to see that over 90% reported using their tablets in school the day before they took the survey and that they did so heavily in the basic subjects: math, science, English Arts, and social studies.
We’ve looked at what they say they about the use of their tablets twice: first the week of March 16 and then again this week of April 27. While there’s no huge change or “ah ha’s” that we can derive from this data, we can see that students are reporting purposeful, serious use of their devices: over 60% use the tablets to look up information and over 55% use them to write and/or create presentations for classes. It is also interesting to note that there is a large increase in the past month in the number of students checking up on their own grades: from 38% in early March to about 55% now. Is this an indicator that students are more engaged, more motivated to do better in class? Or perhaps are they aware that the end of the year and final report cards are coming? Other research has shown that rapid feedback to students is a significant factor in their improved engagement and achievement.
While the Fast Fact numbers continue to be interesting and suggestive, this week’s Educator Fast Fact Survey invited open-ended reports from you and your colleagues about classroom victories, lessons, and issues in recent weeks. On the plus side, there were many instances of enhanced student engagement and completion of significant projects. Samples:
Along side many of these successes were also reports of issues. There was frequent mention of broken equipment and situations in which students were not taking responsibility to bring their tablets to class or to make sure they kept their tablets fully charged. In one setting, these issues were so serious that the teacher estimated less than 50% of his/her students were capable of completing classroom activities when the technology was required, a fact that certainly runs contrary to the larger picture presented in the Fast Fact data. A frequently cited “lesson learned” was preparing paper and pencil counterparts for activities in case technology did not work or was not available. Classroom management issues—avoiding distractions, inappropriate use of the technology, texting among students—were also noted as issues.
One report from one teacher seemed to best capture the need to persist, however, to provide a reminder about why we are all in education and working toward transformations in our classrooms. His/her story is a reflection, the kind you see looking back at you when you peer into your students’ eyes—a life changing, a life changed.
A female special-ed student who struggles with behavior and academics asks for permission to start on a project of her own design—a video to help her fellow students learn how to access Wi-fi in their school. She giggles at the sound of her own voice recorded as part of her project as she proudly shows her teacher her first video.
Her teacher wrote: “Ultimately, it was the pride in her voice that I took away from her video. She had taken initiative to create something on her own to help others—what a great victory!”