Friday, August 29, 2014

Ed Tech Equity: Let All Students Learn in the 21st Century

Ye Olde Computer Room--an archeological dig for computers in a storage space down the hall from the classrooms. And the kids are happy to visit it for CoolMath once a week.

Why is ed tech equity so hard to resolve? Is it only the lack of ed tech in disadvantaged districts? No, not really.

All teachers need to become master teachers right now to successfully develop classroom effectiveness in using ed tech if the demographic includes serious stressors such as poverty, diversity, and instability. Every quality of sound teaching is in play to create and maintain a positive, secure learning environment for kids in difficult situations. To briefly research what it is to be an effective teacher, you can check out my Mzteachuh's 'Teaching Is...' Collection of posts,
Have I always been the perfect teacher? Heavens, no, but I do always give it my best shot. What else can we expect of ourselves?

Why would students not bring devices to school?  

Teachers can expect a higher level of disruption in some demographics. Property damage and theft discourages students from exposing expensive tech at school. Admin and effective classroom management can create a safe place for students to use ed tech equipment. That means in every area of the school: the gym, lunchroom and classes in which the tech isn't used. Making a safe facility for personal property involves security, including all school staff as well as teachers and admin. Everyone needs to be at their best every day.

Why are teachers relunctant to use personal devices in class?

Many teachers really love direct instruction because it requires less classroom management. The students sit. They don't talk to each other, and there is no required teacher interaction. That doesn't work now. (Never did very well.) A teacher must be active to facilitate the students using devices in class, make the rules clear and implement the rules through interaction with the students. Get up out of that computer chair and participate in what's going on in class.

How to minimize digital classroom distractions 

• No smartphones are allowed when the teacher is conducting a lecture.
• Devices should be put on silent/airplane mode before the start of the class.
• Tablets should only be used during group exercises and note-taking sessions. 

Teachers mostly come from homes that encourage learning even if those homes were not affluent or privileged. Many students who are left out of the Tech Equity Circle do not have such advantages. Teachers need to work hard at developing personal relationships with each student and his/her family  to provide the positive stability in class and home for effective learning. 

How to Get the Most Out of Student-Owned Devices in Any Classroom 

“The kids who ‘have’ are going to keep having and the kids who ‘have-not’ are going to keep being over there,” Mills said. He suggests the best way to build equitable classroom technology use is to create a culture of trust. That takes time, but Mills said teachers need to give students a chance to prove themselves before displaying mistrust. “Instead of automatically saying, ‘I don’t trust you,’ why not create opportunities where you can trust them,” he said.

Can teachers cross the cultural divide in their own classrooms?

The United States will increase in cultural diversity. That includes economic diversity. The social and emotional learning task for teachers will be whether we can see the student instead of the demographic. 

How can we prepare teachers to work with culturally diverse students and their families?  

Diversity capital is intended to name the type of teaching enhancement that embraces emotion and drives teachers to seek new opportunities and ideas for building positive relationships with students and families from culturally diverse backgrounds. Diversity capital can in turn afford teachers the knowledge, skills, and dispositions needed for a sustainable commitment to, validation of, and exchange with culturally diverse students and families. 

Communicating Cross-Culturally: What Teachers Should Know 

In the United States, with so much cultural mixing, teachers no longer have a choice as to whether they want to interact with diversity or not. 

Classroom management requires a teacher to daily analyze how things are going, how things went, and how will we do better tomorrow. Classroom management involves the whole team of teachers the students see each day--so communicate! Classroom management involves admin to discipline fairly and consistently. Quite a task for all.

Top Ten Strategies for Classroom Management and Discipline: Proximity and Mobility 

Goofing off in the classroom is inevitable in every classroom regardless of how much experience a teacher has.  However, there are specific strategies that teachers use to maintain off-task behavior and that is the use of Proximity and Mobility. 

Just goofing off would be a relief for some classrooms, but the basics are the same. Clarify the rules, enforce the rules, and present effective activities.

The following is an article from one educator who addressed the lack of tech for her students. We all really need to keep working on this: access for all students to appropriate ed tech and internet service at home and school. Let all students learn in the 21st century. I believe it is a student's civil right to enjoy a free and appropriate education which now includes fluency in educational technology as a part of becoming literate.

Innovative Strategies for Ensuring Device Equity 

School officials wondering what to do for students who lack their own notebook computers, smartphones or tablets can acquire extra devices with a little bit of ingenuity.



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