Alice Armstrong of Springfield, Illinois, taught high school English for 18 years and currently works as a freelance writer and copy editor.
Technology use in the classroom is rapidly changing how we are teaching, how children are learning, and how school districts are spending their resources. But how effective is it? What are the costs? What are the benefits? And what are the consequences if we don’t prioritize or invest in education technology?
This article is by no means a comprehensive review of the subject. It may, however, help to start the conversation in districts where little is being done, or where technology investment has been postponed or may be feared.
How often are students using technology to do school work? According to a 2012 quantitative study commissioned by Verizon, more than one out of three middle school students report using their smartphones (39 percent) and tablets (31 percent) to do homework. Those numbers; however, are not matched in the classroom.
A lack of funding, bandwidth, technical support, mobile devices, software, teacher acceptance, and district policies are among the reasons that more students are not using this technology more often at school. Each and all of these reasons are competing with the time and expense needed to support traditional delivery systems, brick and mortar investments, and low-tech pedagogy. But the fact is that students are changing the game and most already own and know how to use these new tools.
Despite the impressive numbers of middle school students using laptops, smartphones and tablets for homework, the Verizon study found that very few are using these mobile devices in the classroom, particularly tablets and smartphones. A large gap exists between mobile technology use at home and in school: where 39 percent of middle school students use smartphones for homework, only 6 percent report that they can use the smartphone in classroom for school work. There is also a gap in tablet use. Although 31 percent of middle school students say they use a tablet for homework, only 18 percent report using it in the classroom.
Understandably, research on technology use supported by one of the nation’s leading broadband and telecommunications companies should be tempered by their obvious interest in the outcome. Nonetheless, it confirms what some educators believe but others are reluctant to acknowledge. The study also gives positive reasons for considering a change in that attitude: “Significantly more students who use mobile devices in the classroom express a strong interest in STEM subjects than students who do not use these devices in the classroom….Two out of three students (67 percent) who use laptops in class say that it helps them learn math and science better and more than half of all students who use tablets in class (55 percent) say it helps them learn math and science better.”
Lisa Nielsen, who runs a blog called “The Innovation Educator,” cited the study earlier this year and called for “more schools to stop fighting and start embracing student use of mobile devices for learning in school.” Technology, most would agree , is changing the way many students learn. The argument would come from those – parents, teachers and administrators alike – who may wonder whether it’s a change for the good.
According to a 2013 survey of Advanced Placement and National Writing Project teachers conducted by the Pew Research Center, there are notable generational differences in how teachers experience the impact of digital technologies in their professional lives. “As is the case among the full adult population, differences in technology use emerge between older and younger teachers.”
At times, the Pew study continued, teachers’ own use of digital tools can run counter to their concerns about and perceptions of student use. “In an earlier report on these data, we found that teachers expressed some concerns about what they saw as students’ overreliance on search engines to find information and complete research projects. In their words, their students increasingly ‘equate research with Googling,’ and use search engines in lieu of more traditional sources without sufficient ability to judge the quality of information they find online.”
Utilizing tablets, smartphones and whiteboards to encourage students to explore the Internet as a legitimate resource and to collaborate with their fellow students or those they cannot see, teachers can engage their students in ways that lectures and textbooks do not. Of course, a place still exists for traditional teaching tools and methods, but that place is much smaller than it was 10 or even five years ago.
Moreover, these tools do not magically solve all of the problems that classroom teachers face day to day. They come with their own set of challenges that educators must meet head on, not the least of which is learning to wield them effectively with students. For those in the profession who are not instinctive users of technology, this challenge can be significant. That’s why it is imperative that districts provide their faculty with effective training and technical support.
Laptops and iPads
For today’s “digital natives,” paper, pencils, and even textbooks are insufferably old school. Giving students a keyboard or touchpad is much more likely to elicit a positive attitude. In fact, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Education, teachers nearly “universally” agree that laptops and tablets actually have been shown to improve class participation, which is significant, given that student motivation is one of the biggest challenges for educators. Researchers credit technology as a primary method to empower students to take control of their own learning. Rather than merely listening to teachers disseminate information and dutifully taking notes, students are actively searching for information and making decisions about the product they are creating ( www.ed.gov/pubs/edreformstudies).
In essence, technology is transforming students into explorers and teachers into guides.
Before this transformation can occur, however, students must be taught the skills they will need to navigate the online world including, identifying credible sources, discerning the trivial from the consequential, and persevering until they find the information they want and need. These are no simple skills to teach. In fact, they may be more difficult to teach than are terms and concepts from a textbook. Teaching students to avoid the inherent sense of instant gratification that online search engines provide is like asking them to take counter-instinctive measures. Students have always disliked open-ended questions posed by teachers. But the seemingly infinite number of sources available online means learning how to wade through pages of search returns to determine the quality of sites and sources, rather than relying on tweets of 140 characters or less, written in popular texting slang. While technology may initially motivate students to embrace assignments, teachers still have to encourage their students to think deeply and analytically in order to do quality research and produce quality work.
Keeping students on task is another major responsibility for the teacher in a wired or “flipped” classroom. In classrooms with 30 or more students, just keeping everyone on task can be a struggle, let alone giving each student the individual attention he or she needs. Fortunately, wired classrooms lend themselves naturally to peer collaboration. Tech-savvy students generally enjoy sharing their knowledge with those who are baffled and intimidated; they gain a sense of importance and satisfaction by helping others and earn the appreciation of teachers who are busy or who may not know the commands themselves.
In many iPad classrooms, teachers are using applications that help them to control what the students see on their screens. One such product, Nearpod, allows teachers to create multimedia presentations with interactive features and control the activity with the company’s mobile app. Students receive content on their mobile devices and can submit responses, while the teacher monitors classroom activity, controls the tempo and pace of the lesson, and measures student results on an individual and aggregate basis.
Another example of classroom management and monitoring software comes from LanSchool. Available for most tablets and smartphones, this system is intended to help teachers curb abuse and distractions. Having the ability to black out distracting or offensive screens, limit what students can and cannot do on their machines, send messages to students, allow silent, individualized help sessions, and take quick polls, products like these are designed to give back the control that some fear mobile devices surrender.
Of course, technology like this comes with a price tag. One of the questions is, who provides the devices? Students or schools? One drawback to allowing this technology into the classroom is that not all students possess their own devices. Teachers may worry that the student who doesn’t have a smartphone or tablet will feel the sting of ridicule from their connected peers. Teachers can circumvent this problem by putting students in collaborative learning groups.
While some districts have the resources to dole out free tablets to students, others are implementing “rent-to-own” programs, so that the book rental fees students once had to pay for textbooks can become rent-to-own fees for tablets. Nonetheless, the digital divide does create a noticeable line between students and between districts.
The Pew study found that teachers do worry about the divide, though they are split about the impact of digital tools on their students.“These teachers see disparities in access to digital tools having at least some impact on their students. More than half (54%) say all or almost all of their students have sufficient access to digital tools at school, but only a fifth of these teachers (18%) say all or almost all of their students have access to the digital tools they need at home.”
The study also showed that teachers of the lowest income students were the least likely to say their students have sufficient access to the digital tools they need, both in school and at home. “In terms of community type, teachers in urban areas were the least likely to say their students have sufficient access to digital tools in school, while rural teachers are the least likely to say their students have sufficient access at home.”
Smartphones and BYOD
Of all the technological devices available for use in the classroom, the most controversial is the “smart” phone. The newest cell phones, which combine mobile operating systems, advanced computing capability, portable media players, high-resolution touchscreens, cameras, high-speed web browsers, and literally thousands of free or inexpensive applications, now comprise nearly 70 percent of the U.S. mobile phone market. When cell phones came into widespread use among students, most districts countered by banning or severely limiting their use for obvious reasons. Common discipline issues involved cheating (copying and transmitting tests), texting and “ sexting,” taking photos of inappropriate behavior and in inappropriate places, and even cyber-bullying. However, advances in smartphone technology, features and processing capacity are creating another potential tool that can increase student access to learning technology when district-owned resources may be limited.
For example, one software product growing sales among school districts called GoMLE turns the student smartphone into a computer. The hosted, web-based application is designed to enable teachers to synchronize lesson creation, management and delivery with students’ devices. The parent firm GoKnow also markets another application to district administrators enabling teacher observations and evaluations to be made on mobile devices.
Proponents of smartphone use in the classroom argue that teachers need to see beyond the social networking function of cell phones to their potential as learning tools. David Rapp, author of “Lift the Cell Phone Ban,” says, “…educators know that with students, cell phone use is inevitable, so why not use the devices for good?” That argument applies to all student-owned devices – not just smartphones.
The Illinois Association of School Boards addressed this shift in thinking in its March 2013 issue of Policy Reference Educational Subscription Service (PRESS): “The reality that technology is almost an appendage to most students and educators underscores the major reason fueling demand for a bring-your-own-technology or BYOT policy, or as it is sometimes referred to, bring-your-own-device, or BYOD policy.”
The Association’s legal counsel suggests, however, that before adopting a BYOD policy and implementing a BYOD program, school officials should consider how the policy and program fits into the district’s mission statement for instruction. “This type of policy purpose will be different for each board and its community, mainly because each community has different philosophies and needs,” said Melinda Selbee, IASB General Counsel.
That’s exactly what Coal City CUSD 1 did a year ago, when the board of education adopted a new BYOD policy before allowing high school students to bring smartphones, tablets, laptops and media players into classrooms. School officials in the district that borders suburban Grundy and Will County reviewed the policy and rules of “acceptable use” with the students. In fact, faculty members contributed to the development of an acceptable use policy, addressing concerns they may have about the use of such devices in class and collaborating on ways to implement the features of various devices into their lessons. Teachers reportedly expressed some initial concerns about maintaining control of the classroom. Administrators interviewed by the Coal City Courant in August 2012 said that teachers maintain control and have the ability to restrict how the devices are utilized in the classroom, i.e., what can be used and how often.
The recently published PRESS sample policy from IASB added mobile devices to the curriculum only, as another available instructional tool, and stressed the importance of focusing on responsible use and conduct. Selbee noted that the new sample policy incorporates already-existing policies and procedures into the program, and all other policies, rules and conduct for students and staff that apply to mobile device use during non-instructional time remain unchanged. (See the May 2013 issue of The Illinois School Board Newsbulletin for more information on these sample policies: https://www.iasb.com/bulletin/nb0513.cfm#a12.)
In addition to allowing more student personal devices, many classrooms are also moving toward built-in technology that is teacher-driven. The most common among these is the SMART Board@, a system that includes an interactive whiteboard, computer, projector, and whiteboarding software. According to SMART Technologies of Calgary, Canada, the leading manufacturer of interactive whiteboards, it has more than two million installations in K-12 classrooms nationwide, reaching as many as 40 million students. Embraced by many teachers who desire to employ more collaboration opportunities in the classroom, the technology is expensive (as much as $5,000 per classroom) but growing in acceptance. One recent study suggested there can be multiple benefits to using interactive whiteboards as a part of classroom instruction.
Robert J. Marzano, a researcher based in Englewood, Colo., studied teaching and student outcomes in some 200 classes where teachers conducted lessons with and without interactive whiteboards. He reportedly found significant benefits when teachers used the boards, particularly among those who had been using the devices for more than two years, were confident in their skill with the boards’ features, and used them for at least 75 percent of class time. The greatest benefits appeared to be in boosting student motivation and participation.
However, he noted that not all teachers are confident in their ability to engage students interactively. Technical training is essential before entering the classroom, which is why the manufacturer offers numerous tutorials and webinars, lesson resources and online communities comprised of other teachers. There are also critics of the innovation. Education Week in February 2010, which reported on the Marzano research, also acknowledged opposition. “There has been criticism that in too many classrooms, they are nothing more than fancy, expensive chalkboards, especially when their interactive features are ignored by teachers who don’t know how or refuse to use them,” noted the article’s author, Kathleen Kennedy Manzo.
Bandwidth capacity, access
The most advanced classroom technology, regardless of the platform or ownership, is worthless without adequate “bandwidth” to support it. Bandwidth is the total range of frequency required to pass a specific signal that has been modulated to carry data without distortion or loss of data. According to the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA), U.S. educational institutions will need networks that deliver broadband performance of 100Mbps for every 1,000 students and staff members in time for the 2014-15 school year. “Addressing teacher and student concerns regarding educational broadband reliability and speed is as critical as ensuring plumbing and electricity in schools,” said Douglas Levin, executive director for SETDA in its 2012 report, “The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K12 Educational Infrastructure Needs.”
But access to adequate bandwidth can be an insurmountable problem for some districts, particularly those located in rural areas. James Krohe Jr., writing for the March 28, 2013 issue of Illinois Times, identified aging infrastructure and industry monopolies as roadblocks to the task of integrating technology in Illinois schools.
In areas where adequate bandwidth exists, some districts may still not afford to buy it. In fact, 80 percent of school districts predict they will have flat or declining IT budgets for the next school year, according to Katrina Schwartz, in an April 11, 2013 posting on the Mind/Shift KQED blog.
This “digital divide” may soon change, however, for a sizeable block of school districts in central Illinois.
By August 2013, a consortium of communities in six counties throughout the Bloomington-Normal area will begin to access the Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network (CIRBN). The network, which is headquartered at Illinois State University, is designed to provide high-speed, low-cost Internet connectivity to 19 communities. Access to this fiber-optic network will not only link K-12 school districts, but also health care, public safety, government, not-for-profit, and commercial institutions.
The collaborative effort is being funded by a combination of federal and state grants as well as private contributions. According to the CIRBN website, the network will be based on a 10Gb/s ring that will provide 1Gb/s of interconnectivity to more than135 different facilities, with the potential to add more later on. This infrastructure will serve as the “backbone” for CIRBN. The broadband network has been in the planning stage since 2009 and construction began in February 2012. Drilling, conduit and fiber installation continues in the most remote areas of the network.
Although not every school district opting into the network will save substantially from what they are currently paying, they should see increased bandwidth capacity. “When I saw ours (rate), I was excited,” Jim Henehan, director of technology at Central Catholic High School in Bloomington told The Pantagraph in a Feb. 25, 2013 interview. “It matched what we pay to Comcast but increased the bandwidth,” he said.
There is no apparent shortage of opinions on technology in the classroom. Even the White House has expressed its vision on the subject. In 2010, President Obama’s National Education Technology Plan called for “revolutionary transformation rather than evolutionary tinkering.”
The model of learning described in this plan suggested that schools must develop and offer “engaging and empowering learning experiences for all learners.” Such a model would ask “that we focus what and how we teach to match what people need to know, how they learn, where and when they will learn, and who needs to learn. In contrast to traditional classroom instruction, this requires that we put students at the center and empower them to take control of their own learning by providing flexibility.”
That is a homework assignment that many educators and school boards are now wrestling with. It will take significant time, resources and support to develop a plan that is suited to each student, each school and each school district.
The Broadband Imperative: Recommendations to Address K-12 Educational Infrastructure Needs, May 2012, State Educational Technology Directors Association, http://www. setda.org/web/guest/broadbandimperative
Central Illinois Regional Broadband Network, http://www.cirbn.org/
Coal City Courant , Aug. 29, 2012
“Effects of Technology on Classrooms and Students: Change in Student and Teacher Roles.” www2 ed.gov
Ferriter , William M. “Cell Phones as Teaching Tools.” Educational Leadership Oct. 2010 vol. 68, no. 2
Fletcher, Ron. “ iPads in the classroom.” The Boston Globe Magazine, Oct. 7 2012
“How Teachers are Using Technology at Home and in Their Classrooms,” Feb. 28, 2013, Pew Research Center, http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Teachers-and-technology/Summary-of-Findings.aspx
Manzo , Kathleen Kennedy. “Whiteboards’ Impact on Teaching Seen as Uneven,” Education Week, Feb. 3, 2010
National Education Technology Plan 2010 “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology” http://www.ed.gov/sites/default/files/netp2010.pdf
Nielson, Lisa. “Finally! Research-based proof that students use cell phones for LEARNING”, Feb. 16, 2013, http://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.com/2013/02/finally-research-based-proof-that.html
Rapp, David. “Lift the Cell Phone Ban” http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3751073
“Technology in Education.” Education Week, Sept. 1 2011
“ Verizon Foundation Survey on Middle School Students’ Use of Mobile Technology,” 2012, prepared by TRU. http://www.thinkfinity.org/servlet/JiveServlet/previewBody/10549-102-2-18289/Research%20on%20Mobile %20Technology.pdf
How does Japan govern its schools?
The Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture represents the central educational authority in Japan. It gives assistance to all levels of education throughout the country. Japan is composed of 47 “prefectures” (prefectures are similar to U.S. counties). Each prefecture has a board of education that coordinates education in that geographic unit. Each school board is comprised of five members who are appointed by that prefecture’s governor, approved by the legislative assembly and serve a four-year term.
While some of the duties of the board are similar to school boards in the United States (such as overseeing the drafting of budgets), other duties far exceed those of school boards domestically. Such duties include issuing certificates to teachers, promoting events and activities related to physical education and managing the wide variety of educational units in the prefecture, including museums and public libraries.
Public education is also handled at the municipal level by a municipal board of education. Each board, consisting of five members selected by the mayor, holds office for four years. They have the responsibility of selecting a municipal superintendent of education from among their own membership, managing the educational institutions, and selecting textbooks.
NSBA technology site visit at District 214 opens eyes
By Keith Bockwoldt
Keith Bockwoldt is director of tech systems and support at THSD 214, Arlington Heights
Township High School District 214, located in Arlington Heights, hosted the NSBA Technology Site Visit March 13-15. The visit’s theme was “Mobile Devices for a New Age of Digital Learners.” The visit was designed for teachers, principals, technology specialists, and school board members to learn from the local school board and administration how technology and mobile computing are being supported in District 214.
The robust technology program includes a teacher-driven mobile devices pilot program that is in its fourth year of implementation. Visitors learned from teachers who are integrating mobile computing devices in their classroom instruction and finding many successes and a few challenges along the way. Documented results show that mobiles devices are bridging the technological divide, by: creating a collaborative, authentic listening, reading, and writing environment; developing teacher expertise; and helping students develop better organizational skills.
District 214 was chosen for the site visit last year during the NSBA Annual Conference in Boston because we are using technology solutions to enhance all students’ learning opportunities. Student achievement is reaching new heights in District 214 with evidence of increasing ACT scores, decreasing student failures and record numbers of students taking and passing AP courses. District 214 also hosted a one-day site visit during the NSBA Annual Conference in Chicago in 2010, when NSBA awarded the district the 2010 Technology Trailblazer Award. District 214 is only the fourth district in the NSBA Technology and Leadership Network history to receive this distinction.
While it was an honor to host a NSBA technology site visit, it was a year-long process to plan the event. There were many meetings with Ann Flynn, director of education technology and state association services. Regularly scheduled internal meetings took place throughout the course of the year along with many conference calls with the NSBA staff. The district developed the NSBA brochure that was presented on its website for registration and distributed it to school districts across the nation. Other brochures were created for the Illinois Computing Educators Conference and distributed during the February conference. Many email blasts were sent from the NSBA and District 214 to their constituency groups.
District 214 also sought sponsorship from vendors to support the activities associated with the site visit, which included a networking dinner cruise on the Spirit of Chicago. Attendees were engaged in valuable discussions while enjoying the spectacular Chicago skyline. During the networking cruise, Keith Bockwoldt, director of technology services, was honored with the 2013 NSBA “20 to Watch” Award. The “20 to Watch” program identifies emerging leaders within the education technology community who have the potential to impact the field for the next 20 years.
The technology site visit was a tremendous success and included the highest participation of the four NSBA site visits this year. Over 120 people attended from across the nation. Our school board and administration shared with attendees how technology and mobile computing are being supported in District 214. They engaged teachers during classroom visits and panel discussions about Google apps, iPads, cloud computing, Moodle and the technology used in classrooms. Attendees asked students how these devices have transformed learning into a 24/7 environment that extends well beyond the classroom walls. One important take away was how attendees can start a 1:1 mobile program without sacrificing budget along with proven methods for deployment.
During the visit, the Twitter hashtag #D214NSBA2013 was used.
Some informative tweets that were shared confirm what attendees learned:
• Thanks for the great site visits # d214nsba2013 ! I learned a lot over the 2 days
• #d214nsba2013 toured 1to1 classes at Buffalo Grove HS. iPads lead to engagement, collaboration, different paradigm for classroom teaching
• No dip in achievement in D214 iPad pilots; incremental improvement #d214nsba2013
• This has been a fantastic and extremely informative experience. Thank you so much, D214! #d214nsba2013
• Very impressive teacher panel, D214! Good representation of diversity of tools. #d214nsba2013
Many great comments were received from attendees through a survey they completed. These comments show the site visit’s value:
• I received so much information; I just don’t know where to start when I get back
• I have been on many technology site visits, and this one was by far the best
• You have the secret sauce and this is the way it should be. You should bottle it and sell it
• Your process is so different and the way it should work
• I can’t believe the enthusiasm from the teachers and the students
One technology director shared a comment that showed the purpose and power of the site visit program:
“I wanted to tell you about an unexpected result from this visit. One of our board members spoke to me last night about his visit to 214. I was concerned with what he was going to say as he referred to computers as “expensive toys” and has typically been the sole ‘No’ vote on some of the technology proposals in the past. I was very surprised when he informed me that his mind has been changed after seeing the iPads in action in the classroom. He now plans to be a positive supporter of technology and not an obstacle moving forward. His words were, ‘I get it now, there is value here and we need to be doing this.’ The visit was worth every penny and minute of everyone’s time for this result alone!”
Information about the District 214’s Technology Site Visit can be found at www.d214.org/nsba2013.
Television instruction in northeastern Illinois
By Henry F. Hoppe
This article is reprinted from the September-October 1961 issue of The Illinois School Board Journal. The author, Henry F. Hoppe, was assistant Cook County superintendent of schools in charge of radio and television. He also served as chairman of the Tri-County Education Television Council.
During the past several years, educational television has made significant forward strides. A few years ago, it might have been characterized as an infant. Today, however, it is maturing rapidly and is at least of school age. Many improvements have yet to be made and many refinements are in the offing.
With the advent of Midwest Project on Airborne Television Instruction (MPATI) it became possible to expand the operation in the Midwest states. Even more specifically it provided a ready-made possibility for introducing instructional television to northeastern Illinois on a mass basis.
The above was accomplished through the efforts of the Tri-County Educational Television Council referred to in the “Instructional Revolution” article by Herbert Mulford, in the last issue of this journal. Tri-County Educational Television Council, through WTTW, Channel 11, Chicago, cooperates with the Midwest Project by translating and relaying the signal (UHF) received from the airplane into the normal (VHF) signal used in the northeastern portion of the state.
Obviously, the costs to convert regular sets and install systems to receive the UHF signals in the large number of school buildings in the northeastern portion of Illinois would be gigantic. With the consent of the Midwest Project, the relay permits the installation of regular commercial or school television sets at normal costs. This gives the school districts time to budget the necessary larger amounts for distribution and conversion systems over a longer period of time, without denying to the children the advantages of quality instructional television.
True, the Tri-County Project can only offer one or the other of the airplane channels. The airplane telecasts channels 72 and 76 simultaneously. This does cut down on local districts’ choices to one or the other in any given time period. However, the Tri-County Project does have other advantages. Possibly, one of the greatest advantages is the fact that the fund created by district contributions makes it possible to use video tape during daylight savings time. Using video tapes from MPATI makes schedule adjustments unnecessary when the time changes from daylight savings to standard.
Another distinct advantage of the Tri-County Project is that the lesson telecasts may be seen by the parents at home. Parents need merely tune in and view what the children see in school. Outside the WTTW area, the sets in the homes usually have to be modified slightly to accomplish this purpose. Obviously, the advantage of parents seeing high quality instruction beamed to their children and being able to speak intelligently on the content should have an excellent public relations value to the local district using such TV lessons.
At present approximately 100 school districts are contributing money to the Project on the basis of their assessed valuations. This is being done through the statutory provisions contained in Section 6-60 of the School Code or Section 10-22.30 of the new recodification of the School Code. All money received is deposited in a special account with the Illinois Association of School Boards.
The following schedule has been selected for the fall term beginning September 11:
9:00 AM – Modern Advanced High School Algebra
9:35 AM – Elementary Science – 5 and 6
10:00 AM – High School American Government
10:35 AM – Beginning Spanish – 3 to 6
11:00 AM – Junior High General Science
11:35 AM – Arithmetic for Gifted – 5 and 6
12:00 Noon – High School World History
12:35 PM – Elementary Music – 1 to 3
For details of this schedule or costs of participation contact Tri-County ETV Council, c/o Ben A. Sylla, Room 632, 30 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago 2, Illinois; or c/o Henry F. Hoppe, Room 601, 69 W. Washington Street, Chicago 2, Illinois.
Since instructional educational television is not for viewing only, school board members, teachers and administrators should be aware that “guide books” are available for each of the courses. The guide books present skeleton information regarding each of the telecast lessons. They are useful in preparing the pupils to receive the program. They are also designed to help teachers with discussion and other activities following the telecast. They are available at very nominal costs from MPATI, Memorial Center, Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana.
A final comment concerns another value of television instruction. Since the TV teacher works with a battery of technical and content specialists, the quality of lessons is obviously assured. Because of the built-in high quality and the use of various technicians, the teacher in the receiving classroom benefits with the children. The greatest benefit to the teacher lies in the viewing of well-prepared materials, using new techniques, visuals, etc. Thus the teacher indirectly is encouraged to upgrade her own patterns of instruction. Many of the research studies point out that this is a common by-product in the classrooms of teachers using TV lessons.
In essence then, we see educational television as a step in (1) improving the quality of teaching received by the children; and (2) an immediate help in upgrading the teachers’ presentations. Taken together, these are the basic ingredients for immediate step-ups in the quality of education.