I was surprised by the conclusion that although state initiative requirements were met, “student gains on high-stakes test were inconclusive” (p. 212). Or, as I read it: students who were doing the minimum required higher-level tasks with technology were not necessarily scoring better on standardized tests than students who did not use the technology.
The possible reasons offered by experts are all plausible:
• Students used the computers for lower-level tasks;
• professional development may not have matched the support needed;
• teacher motivation may have been low due to the expectations placed on them, not intrinsic motivations;
• the tests themselves measure lower-level tasks, not higher ones.
The authors question how large the ‘gap’ is between where we are and where we need to be in preparing students with technology (p 213). I would question whether standardized tests measure anything other than test-taking ability. Here’s a Washington Post opinion piece by Valerie Strauss stating it better than I can. Yes, we need a measuring stick, but project–based learning requires a more qualitative measure of success, and that means time, and that means money, and that isn’t likely to be supported.
If a student is succeeding at project-based work including creation, synthesis and analysis with other students and under the supervision of a teacher, wouldn't that be a better predictor of life success? Remembering facts and figures, or strategizing test-taking for a fill-in-the-bubble exercise once a year is not analogous to real-life, but it is easy to measure.
I found the NTeQ (iNtegrating Technology for inQuiry) model more immediately affirming than the ASSURE one.
While I struggle to imagine how this model gets implemented in the real world, I appreciate that NTeQ attempts to use actual challenges as the basis for projects. The computer is a tool to accomplish a task and learning about technology happens along the way as you use it to solve problems. Because teachers are “encouraged” in this model to go through the steps needed to create the student assignment, I think there is the potential for greater appreciation of how the student would get the work done.
As a student I always liked seeing what the end product could look like, so the suggestion about showing a prototype appeals to me. Having taught based on previous instructor's assignments, I know the impulse can be to skip this step of actually doing the assignment, and just adapt a previous teaching model or plan, and wing it as you go. It takes time, and usually, the teacher isn’t challenged intellectually if they go through these motions. It feels rote. Unfortunately, teachers are not compensated well enough to provide for ample planning and prep time, so it’s easy to see where this prototype might not get demonstrated.
I wonder if a decade from now, the idea of integrating technology will be less of a subject of study, or a “project”, and just the way things are. Maybe we'll just integrate technology into a classroom successfully and seamlessly and it won't get boiled down into an acronym.