Making the Cut with Audacity 2.1.2

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Overview

Description

Audacity 2.1.2 is an updated version of the Audacity audio recording freeware program. It allows users to record, edit and create audio files in a variety of formats (e.g., MP3, .WAV, .MID) This tool enables anyone, anywhere, the capability to create high quality, audio tracks for playlists, podcasts and even video projects.  Whether you are a teacher, musician, beatboxer or audio recording hobbyist, this tool is for you.

Key educational benefits of this tool:

  • Use this tool to record student presentations, and musical or dramatic performances
  • Create and send short audio clips to students for immediate feedback
  • Use Audacity to easily create Podcasts of lessons, or teach students how to create their own podcasts
  • Students can record and edit musical performances to publish in portfolios or for reflective exercises
  • Audacity provides the potential for teaching students how to sample, create loops and create backing tracks for beatboxing or rapping
  • Use to support ESL students in practicing and reviewing their new language

Access Details and Cost

Audacity 2.1.2 is a free download! No cost is required for the full version of the program. Donations to the creators of the program are suggested but not required.

Audacity is a multi-platform program available for both Apple AND Microsoft.

 

Getting Started

Teaching Ideas

Idea 1 – Speech Preparation and Feedback (Grade 7, Language Arts)

Learning to speak clearly and effectively in front of an audience can be challenging and quite threatening. Audacity provides a way to rehearse, listen to, polish and re-record an oral presentation. In addition, if you have a particularly shy student, you can provide recording their speech as an alternative.

Want to create some instant feedback for the students? Record your comments on your phone or mobile device, then save and send it to your computer. Audacity can open the file and allow you to copy, cut or paste any segment of your recording to be used to help your students in their journey of learning. Just sent them the file.

Idea 2 – Readers/ Radio Theatre (Grade 6, Reading/ Oral Communication)

Want to provide your students with a realistic way to present their drama or script reading? Why not have them record it in Audacity to create a radio play? They can listen to the file, edit or re-record and even add sound effects, and background music.

Idea 3 – Instrumental Music Recording Projects (Grade 7 – 12)

One of the best ways for students to improve at playing their instrument is to be able to listen to their own performance and reflect on it. Using Audacity, students can record their performances, both individually and in groups. They can even create multi-track recordings one track at and time and combine them for a truly complex sounding piece of music.

Are your students needing to create an audition recording for college or university? Audacity makes it easy and free to create quality sound recordings to use for their application portfolio.

Idea 4 – Sound Editing, Mixing and Sampling (Grade 10/11 Music, Open)

Are your students interested in pursuing a career in sound engineering or computer technology? Programs like Audacity allow for easy entry into these complex areas. With many great informational websites and “how to” videos available, students can get right into recording, editing, and sampling with just a computer with a microphone.

Idea 5 – Podcast Interviews with Historical/ Cultural Figures (Grade 12, Canadian History)

Are you tired of having your students complete the same old presentations in front of the class yet again? With Audacity, they can create professional sounding podcasts to present their knowledge about anything from geographical regions to Canadian history the 1940’s. Why not have them record an interview with a member of the community and make it into a podcast to share with the class? It’s easy with Audacity.

Helpful Resources

Resource 1 – Complete Tutorial for Beginners

A full explanation of the various aspects of using Audacity 2.1.2 for beginners. Functions and terminology are clearly explained.

Resource 2 – Complete Operations Manual

The complete text based resource to answer all your questions about Audacity 2.1.2

Resource 3 – How to Create a Podcast in Audacity

Interested in creating your own podcasts? This brief tutorial will show you the basics of creating one.

Resource 4 – Recording a Song with Audacity

This is a VERY detailed video of how to create a music recording with melody and background track. It also explores some editing options and effects.

Resource 5 – How to Create a Rap with Audacity

Ever want to try your hand at rap? Thought your students might enjoy some rhythm with your poetry unit? This is how we do it. (Caution: contains some explicit lyrics)

Author

Submitted by Mark McPhail

Email: mark.mcphail@uoit.ca

Twitter: @treblebasschal1

Bio: Mr. McPhail is a musician, teacher, and student of technology.  He has taught in a variety of grades and subjects over the last 18 years. Currently, Mr. McPhail teaches high school music for the Peel District School Board.  His passion is to see students, not only survive, but thrive in their teenage years.

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Get your Students Coding with CodeCombat

Learn programming through live coding in an immersive multiplayer strategy game.

Written by: Josh Charpentier

Overview

Description

CodeCombat is a gaming platform that allows users to learn computer sciences. Users explore this web-based sword-and-sorcery game by programming characters with Python or Javascript coding languages. These programming platforms allow players to command their on-screen warrior, ranger, or wizard into action, navigating the character through the level, engage in battle, and destroying foes. Gamers are rewarded for devising clean programming solutions. However, if the user writes a buggy code or fails to find an appropriate solution, their character will wander through the level or could be destroyed by an enemy. This results in the player investing in trial and error strategies, experimentation, and collaboration with peers to find solutions. The player can also access in-game video tutorials to learn new coding strategies.

Key educational benefits of this tool:

  • Students learn and develop skills in computer science and web development.
  • CodeCombat motivates children to learn programming languages through a fun and engaging platform.
  • The important principles of coding and the step-by-step introduction of the syntax of various programming languages aids in students becoming proficient in computer science and web development.

Access Details and Cost

Free Version

  • Clicking on the Play Now button allows the user to create a character and start coding without creating an account. User progress will NOT be recoverable if the user leaves the game.
  • An individual can create a free account, by clicking here. This will allow the user to maintain in-game progression when re-entering the game.

Paid Version (Teacher and Classroom Users)

  • A teacher can create a classroom account. Each student is assigned a license and classroom code for logging into the system. The student would click on the I’m a Student button and then enter the classroom code to gain access to the game.
  • The first course (20 levels) offered to classrooms is free. However, additional courses can cost $25-$50 CAD per student per year depending on which course licenses the teacher wishes to purchase.
  • The pay for access site offers extra levels and in-game video tutorials.
  • The teacher will have access to resources and course guides to help students with programming.

Paid Version (Individual User)

  • For $9.99 US/month individual users can create an account, access premium levels, receive weekly challenges, and have email support from professional programmers.

Getting Started

Teaching Ideas

The following teaching activities can be applied to any class ranging from grades 2-12.

Idea 1 – Coding Competitions (Game Development, Computer Sciences and Mathematics)

Use CodeCombat to create coding competitions. Students will be divided into equal teams. Within their teams, students will write code for a level entitled Wakka Maul. Students will use mathematical concepts to develop code, observe how the code fares against their classmates, and then students will make improvements and resubmit.

Idea 2 – Engineering Challenge (Computer Sciences and Mathematics)

Engineering is all about tackling problems, but the first rule of engineering is that you might not get it right the first time through. Use CodeCombat to teach students about the Engineering Cycle of thought. First, students will DESIGN a solution to a problem that is presented by the teacher on the level Power Peak. Students will identify the issues and break it down into smaller parts. This includes problem-solving and finding mathematical patterns in code. Then students IMPLEMENT their design, which is putting their ideas into action. Third, they TEST their solution. Does it work? Is the problem resolved? If the test fails, students have to decide if it was because of the design or the implementation of their program. Students can discuss issues openly and collaborate on finding solutions.

Idea 3 – Reflective Writing (English and Computer Sciences)

Students can write reflections about their progression through the CodeCombat levels. The teacher can also encourage students to use coding vocabulary that has been gained through different levels of the game. The teacher could have students contemplate questions, like:

  • Do you know more code now than in the beginning? What skills do you have now that you didn’t have before?
  • What advice would you give someone just starting out in CodeCombat?
  • What kind of strategies do you use when you encounter an obstacle?

Idea 4 – Headlines and Headers (Web Development and English)

CodeCombat offers courses in web development. Students can apply their skills to writing in HTML, CSS, and Javascript. Students can write a paragraph regarding any topic, and then they can apply the elements like <p>, <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, <h6> to the left margin of their writing. Students can then apply additional elements of basic syntax, headers, images, and organization to design a webpage. Once students have placed the desired elements into their work, webpages are automatically published to a custom URL so that students can easily share their finished work with others.

Idea 5 – Boss Level (Computer Sciences, Mathematics and English)

Students will work collaboratively to find a creative way of defeating this boss. Students also have to apply skills in mathematics and computer sciences to develop solutions for collecting coins, hiring mercenaries, and to heal their hero (character). Students can work in pairs and they can share their strategies and tips with other teams. Students can make observations about the level on grid paper before tackling this level, and then teams can plan out their solutions.

Helpful Resources


About the Author

Josh Charpentier has been an elementary school teacher for 10 years. He has taught in the Bronx, New York, and is currently working for the P.V.N.C.C.D.S.B. in Peterborough, Ontario. He started the graduate program at UOIT in 2013 and has been completing his Master of Education degree as a part-time student for 4 years. From his experience in elementary school, he definitely sees the potential benefits of introducing computer sciences and web development teachings to students in elementary classrooms and is a proponent of technology integration in education.

email: joshua.charpentier@uoit.net   Twitter: jjncharpentier

Transformational Leadership: A key to Integrating Technology in Education

Leadership can make or break a technology initiative in your school. Strong leadership is key to any initiative through communication, collaboration, planning, creativity, trust, and experimentation.

A barrier to the adoption of technology in education is a lack of vision and weak leadership. For educational professionals to take full advantage of technology, strong leadership to create and guide all members of a school community in a shared vision to ensure effective integration and to transform instructional practices around educational technologies is required. This instructional concern requires an educational leader to use transformational leadership principles to create a working environment that will build confidence in the followers while facilitating the implementation of technology in the classroom.

What are transformational leaders?

Marks & Printy (2003) explain that “Transformational leaders motivate followers by raising their consciousness about the importance of organizational goals and by inspiring them to transcend their own self-interest for the sake of the organization” (p. 375). These leaders will create a working environment where trust and respect are promoted, and the knowledge and expertise of its members are treated as valuable parts of a whole program. These leaders will also analyze previous mistakes, challenge the way programs have been implemented in the past and will look to the team to find solutions to overcome these previous shortcomings.

4 Steps to Plan a Technology Initiative

Ahn, Bivona, and DiScala (2011) explain that there are multiple avenues to establishing educational technology policies and initiatives. Some more successful than others. Different school boards will approach integration differently, and its adoption will vary depending on the level of attention that these initiatives receive. Experts in educational technology integration suggest:

1. Plan with a Goal in Mind

As an educational community, develop a common vision and a goal for technology integration through collaboration and teamwork. Beginning your project with surveys to gather information from staff and students will ensure that the voices from all interested parties will be heard. This initial data can show the growth of your initiative and will help set the tone for the project. Technology initiatives should never funnel from “top-down” decisions, and policy initiatives should be reevaluated on a yearly basis.

2. Use Gathered Data

As previously mentioned, data from surveys can be used to assess educational needs, create instructional models, and determine technological devices that have been requested for your initiative. Project stakeholders should evaluate the status of school infrastructure to ensure that it can handle the influx of devices. Ultimately, project leaders should select devices that students and staff feel the most comfortable with, and that can be supported by the school network.

3.  Personalize Student Learning

Initiative leaders can ensure that policies and resources equip teachers with the right tools and ongoing support to differentiate instruction and personalize learning in their classrooms. Collaboration between teachers and students will create opportunities to examine observations and reflections, student work, formative and summative assessments, and data that is embedded within the software of different learning apps. In these classrooms, the teacher can design learning opportunities or guide learners to generate their own personalized learning experiences.

4. Personalize Professional Learning

Schools must commit to ensuring that technology training is available, ongoing, and relevant to professional learning. Leaders can collaborate with teachers to develop clear goals for professional development that align with the vision for student learning. Also, to create and promote the integration of technology in education, leaders and staff can use combinations of face-to-face, online, and blended professional learning communities. This will create opportunities for staff to see technology being used authentically to create learning networks between initiative leads and staff participants.

In the comments section below, please post examples of how educational leaders in your school or school board integrated technology into teaching practices.

References

Ahn, J., Bivona, L. K., & DiScala, J. (2011). Social Media Access in K-12 Schools: Intractable Policy Controversies in an Evolving WorldASIST 2011. Retrieved from http://ahnjune.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/ASIST2011_AUP.pdf

Marks, H. M., & Printy, S. M. (2003). Principal leadership and school performance: An integration of transformational and instructional leadership. Educational Administration Quarterly, 39 (3), 370-397. doi: 10.1177/0013161X03253412

3 Tips for Combatting Cyberbullying Through Empathy

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The cyberbully is one who can attack anywhere, anytime and with complete anonymity. These bullies are not restricted to school playgrounds or back allies. One can be attacked anywhere they access their technology, even in the safety of their own home. Because the perpetrators of cyberbullying can hide behind the mask of technology, it can be difficult to provide justice and even reconciliation. How can we, as educators in our society, deal with this problem? Some suggest to teach empathy.

Empathy Is Tough to Teach But is One of The Most Important Life Lessons

Empathy is the process of identifying with another person, attempting to understand their perspective and relate to it. As part helping to eliminate hate, and working toward a more inclusive society, empathy is a must.  Is it possible to use the same technology used for hurt to also heal? With cyberbullying being such a big problem, can we teach empathy effectively to help diffuse and limit this destructive behavior? Though it is hard to teach how can we foster empathy online?

Studies have been undertaken to discover and test ways to lower the impact of cyberbullying and to encourage positive relationships through teaching empathy. The following sections sugges a beginning: 3 ways that educators can affect positive changes in cyber-relationships.

1. Intervention Over the Long Haul

Not surprisingly, the most important step in combatting cyberbullying is for bystanders (teachers, family members or friends) to intervene. In a study by Machackova and Pfetch (2016), it was discovered that providing empathy to the victims of cyberbullying had a positive result.  As educators, we can encourage our students to build healthy relationships and to support each other.

Teachers can find use lessons and units of study that help to foster positive online relationships and limit cyberbullying on sites like mediasmarts.ca.

Schultze-Krumbholz & Scheithauer (2009) found that short term intervention through lessons in class tend not to last. The results of their study showed that longer term intervention was the only intervention condition showing significant positive outcomes regarding cyberbullying perpetration. (p.153) Thus, teachers may find better outcomes through longer term planning of units that address cyberbullying and building empathy.

2. Modelling

It is not enough to teach students what empathy looks like, or how to provide it, teachers must demonstrate it and engage in it themselves. In an article about teaching in online environments, Fuller (2012) states that having an empathetic environment for learners requires instructors to practice it themselves. This will look different, depending on the level of education. An example in online environments might be to make frequent contact with students through selective discussion board postings or regular email contact. The key is to connect regularly and frequently, especially early on to build trust. (p. 43)

3. Exploring Empathy Through Gaming

Role playing and the use of drama have been explored to foster understanding through multiple perspectives. Online gaming can be used to provide students with fun ways to engage in real world issues of poverty, globalization, and conflict through playing different roles within the environments such as Serious Games. Other online games like thomaswasalone  can help students explore feelings of isolation and problem solve to find solutions for it in a virtual setting. Other games presented on sites like commonsensemedia.org provide games and videos that are geared to various age groups, presenting issues related to bullying and cyberbullying that encourage greater thought about others and attempting to understand differing views.

As can be seen, there are strategies and tools that educators can use to help their students combat this issue. Being prepared and acting pre-emptively is important. Readers are welcome to share other resources and ideas as well. Let’s do something about it together.

Another video to ponder…

The Importance of Empathy in Everyday Life

References

Fuller, R. G. (2012). Building empathy in online courses: Effective practical approaches. International Journal of Information and Communication Technology Education (IJICTE), 8(4), 38-48. doi:10.4018/jicte.2012100104

Gentès, A., & Cambone, M. (2013). Designing empathy: The role of a “control room” in an e‐learning environment. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 10(1), 31–48. doi:10.1108/17415651311326437

Machackova, H., & Pfetsch, J. (2016). Bystanders’ responses to offline bullying and cyberbullying: The role of empathy and normative beliefs about aggression. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 57(2), 169-176. doi:10.1111/sjop.12277

Mindshift. (2017, February 8). Empathy is tough to teach but is one of life’s most important lessons [web log post]. Retrieved from https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/02/08/empathy-is-tough-to-teach-but-is-one-of-the-most-important-life-lessons/

Schultze‐Krumbholz, A., Schultze, M., Zagorscak, P., Wölfer, R., & Scheithauer, H. (2016). Feeling cybervictims’ pain—The effect of empathy training on cyberbullying. Aggressive Behavior, 42(2), 147-156. doi:10.1002/ab.21613

Thinking of Flipping? Try These Out!

Top List of Resources for Flipping your Classroom

By: Farheen Zaidi, Marcia  Anderson and Shirley Merith

Thinking of Flipping Your Classroom?  Don’t know where to start?  Need the right list to get you going?  Look no further.  Here is a list of the top resources that you can use.  Let your creative journey begin.

  • Ted Ed Talk from Salman Khan – The creator of Khan Academy, Salman Khan,  speaks about how his entire collection of educational videos is based on the concept of the flipped classroom model.  Furthermore, he provides methods of how to meaningfully use technology to effectively integrate a flipped classroom model into your own classroom.
  • Flipped Learning – Online website that has links to various resources, webinars, videos and examples to promote the usage of flipped classroom into pedagogy.
  • Youtube – A video clearly explaining the need and method of how a flipped classroom is integrated into learning.  Furthermore, Youtube can be used to upload videos for students to be able to remotely access.  
  • Moodle – Technological platform that can be used to promote student collaboration within a flipped classroom.  
  • Edmodo – Technological platform that can be used to promote student collaboration within a flipped classroom.
  • Screencasting tools– These tools can be used to create videos for students to watch. Some are free and others you pay.
  • Wikispaces encourages collaboration amongst students. Through content presented by a teacher, students can participate in discussions, review and make comments in and outside of  class. Teachers can track how engaged students are with the content of the work.
  • Zaption – Allows you to create engaging videos.
  • How TED-ED Site Turns YouTube Videos To ‘Flipped’ Lessons – This article with how-to videos demonstrates how videos can be turned into flipped lessons.

How Technology is Changing Play

As play becomes more digitized, our youngest learners are missing out on crucial sensory and motor development experiences. Can we find a balance?

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By Melissa Bishop

Once upon a time, young children and preschoolers were found engaging in rough and tumble play, exploring in nature and engaging in face-to-face interactions.  These activities have a major role in a child’s sensory and motor development.  With access to technology growing exponentially in the past 15 years, play in the early years is becoming more reliant on digital technology.  This reliance limits children’s abilities to be creative and imaginative as well as limits opportunities for sensory and motor development (Rowan, 2013).     

The statistics are shocking:

  1. 6% of 2 to 5-year-olds have their own smartphone
  2. 72% of the top 100 top-selling education apps in Apple’s iTunes App Store were aimed at preschoolers and elementary aged children
  3. Products designed at putting an iPhone into a baby’s hands are rapid sellers (Laugh and Learn with Fisher Price)
  4. More than 25% of 2-5-year-olds use the internet (Erickson, 2012).

So What Do the Stats Mean?

Our children are engaging in digital technology use at a much younger age.  The use of smartphones, tablets, and laptops are engrained in their everyday activities.  With small children spending hours using devices, their sensory and motor development is impacted.  Young children are not meant to be sedentary in their play.  They are biologically programmed to engage in physical activity to develop effective gross and fine motor skills (Rowan, 2013).  Low muscle tone, obesity, poor gross and fine motor skills, difficulty with empathy, low social skills, and challenges with self-regulation are growing concerns in preschool and school-aged children (Rowan, n.d.).

Video Games and the Preschooler

At such a young age, tactile and attachment systems are under stimulated where the visual and auditory sensory systems are in overload.  When young children and preschoolers are exposed to violence in video games and television, their body enters flight mode.  Preschoolers bodies have not yet developed enough to know that what they are watching is not real.  Exposure to violence in games and television puts strain physical on their body because it is in a constant state of adrenaline and stress.  Their heart rate and breathing increases, and their bodies are on alert.  Placing children in a chronic stress of this sort can weaken immune systems and lead to much more severe diseases and disorders (Rowan, 2013).

What do our Preschoolers Need?

They need movement, touch, human connection, and exposure to nature (Rowan, 2013).  These basic needs support the development of healthy active children, development of self-regulation skills, and coordination.  Preschoolers need tactile stimulation.  They need to run, touch, hug, and play with materials not devices.  Young children are developing empathy skills and at this critical time in development, they need human connection to develop empathy in addition to tactile stimulation (Turkle, 2015).

Teachers are Noticing

Rowan (2013), notes what many of my colleagues and I have noticed in the early years, children are entering Kindergarten developmentally unprepared.  In fact, 30% of our earliest learners are developmentally vulnerable (Rowan, n.d.).  They do not have the basic skills to thrive in the classroom.  Fine motor skills are becoming increasingly more difficult for young children entering Kindergarten.  Often, children have not yet been exposed to experiences requiring fine motor skills.  Teachers are noting that early learners have a great ability to ‘swipe’ on devices, but if you ask them to pick up a pencil or scissors, they lack the strength to hold these objects.  Ontario has put an emphasis in the Full Day Kindergarten Program on outdoor play.  Being in the outdoors not only offers young children the rough and tumble play required to develop gross motor skills, but nature has a calming influence and allows students an opportunity to restore attention for better learning in the classroom.

What Can We Do

Technology is here to stay, educators and parents need to work with it.  We need to put boundaries and time limits on devices and provide opportunities for play outside of technology to support healthy development and encourage a balance between technology and active play.  Providing preschoolers with age-appropriate material is crucial, so their bodies and minds are not in a chronic state of stress.  Parents and teachers can also ensure that children are given plenty of opportunities to play outdoors and engage in games that encourage hands-on play such as tag, red-rover, and hide-and-seek.

Parent and Teacher Resources

Young children entering Preschool and Kindergarten are struggling with motor development and self-regulation.  These skills are required for successful learning and development.  Most important in the early years are human touch, opportunities for play, and exposure to nature.  This chart can help parents and educators identify age appropriate gross motor developmental milestones.  Below are some resources to support the development of fine and gross motor skills, self-regulation, and exposure to nature.

  1. Get Outdoors: Playing outdoors helps to develop gross and fine motor skills. When they are developmentally ready, children will then be able to grasp and hold pencils for emergent writing because they have had exposure to outdoor gross and fine motor experiences.
  2. Provide Tactile Opportunities: In addition to human touch, providing opportunities to explore with materials stimulates child motor development.
  3. Fine Motor Activities: to develop dexterity skills.
  4. Self-Regulation: MindUp Curriculum and Zones of Regulation are often used to support teaching self-regulation skills in the classroom and can be used at home as well.
  5. Rough and Tumble Play is beneficial on many levels. It provides gross motor development opportunities, contact through touch, social skills, self-regulation, and coping skills.
  6. Go to the Playground: Not only is it beneficial to gross motor development, but many social relationships can be built here too.

References

Erickson, T. (2012). How mobile technologies are shaping a new generation. https://hbr.org/2012/04/the-mobile-re-generation

Rowan, C. (n.d.). A research review regarding the impact of technology on child development, behavior, and academic performance. http://www.sd23.bc.ca/ProgramsServices/earlylearning/parentinformation/Documents/Impact%20of%20Technology%20on%20Young%20Children’s%20Development.pdf

Rowan, C. (2013). The impact of technology on the developing child. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cris-rowan/technology-children-negative-impact_b_3343245.html

Turkle, S. (2015). Talk to each other, not your phone. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/01/opinion/talk-to-each-other-not-your-phone.html?_r=0

 

 

 

Students Are Falling Behind

Standardized tests lead to test skills being taught ahead of the 21st century skills our students really need

by: Mike Wade

Problems with standardized tests

Whether it’s EQOA in Ontario or the SAT’s in the USA, almost all education systems have some sort of standardized tests. These tests can be the basis for school funding and are used as the measuring stick upon which schools and teachers are evaluated and ranked. This puts an enormous amount of pressure on the school and the teachers to score high on these standardized tests. Teachers will invariably teach to the test. There are reasons school boards have gravitated toward standardized tests. They’re (relatively) cheap, easily administered, and they carry the promise of some kind of “objective” measure.

21st Century skills

As there are only so many hours in a teaching day other areas like 21st-century skills get less attention especially when a school is in test mode. Since 21st-century skills can be difficult to measure and may not be included on standardized tests, they are not emphasized in schools.  This creates a conflict for students’ futures, especially in regards to their capacity as workers in a rapidly changing economy (Cowan, 2008). Skills that students will need to succeed in 2016 and beyond include problem-solving, creativity, analytic thinking and communication skills.  These types of skills have a long history of being ignored in schools because they are not measurable or are difficult to measure and are then marginalized or discarded from the curriculum (Eisner, 1994).

Possible Solutions

To be successful on a standardized test teachers need to cover a vast scope of material within a limited amount of time.  As a result, many teachers feel they can cover more material when they are in front of the class lecturing to every student, rather than using technology (Butzin, 2004). One possible technological solution is an adaptive learning program that would adjust to each child taking a test, selecting easier or more difficult items for the child based on the responses given. Such a system would capture data to demonstrate how schools are delivering core functional skills including reading comprehension, writing and numeracy, while also producing individual data about how students are learning.

Another possible solution is performance assessments which can include project-based learning and portfolios. These approaches allow students to follow their own interests and cater into their strengths. Performance assessment focuses on demonstrations of learning, they are usually graded with a rubric, not a percentile. They address skills like presentation, communication, and teamwork that are common in the workplace but not part of most traditional schooling—or state-mandated testing.

Other resources

The myths of standardized testing

What schools could use instead of standardized testing

Alternatives to standardized tests

References

Butzin, S. (2002). Project CHILD (Changing How Instruction for Learning is Delivered): The perfect fit for multimedia elementary schools. Multimedia Schools, 9(6), 14.

Cowan, J. (2008). Strategies for planning technology-enhanced learning experiences. Clearing House, 82(2), 55-59.

Eisner, E. 1994. Cognition and curriculum reconsidered. New York: Teachers College Press.