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THE MEDIA CENTER: Authentic, Technology-Based Activities in the Era of NCLB

By Mary Alice Anderson - Posted Jan 1, 2009
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A fourth grade teacher described it best: "There’s so much in the curriculum pushing at us."

Media specialists everywhere have stories to tell about teachers who believe they no longer have time to teach their favorite units, collaborate, or use technology in educationally sound or creative ways. The combination of NCLB and other demands have created a situation where teachers have little time or interest in using technology beyond basic instructional management and easy-to-implement instructional tasks they are comfortable with. A study by the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) reported that teachers are more likely to use technology for instructional management tasks than they are for instruction.

According to the report, "When Con­gress passed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act in 2002, with its large mandate for testing and account­ability, it not only restructured the way school technology is funded but also shifted the focus of school technology spending toward improving school testing and data-analysis capabilities. The climate for experimental endeavors and instructional usage thus shifted toward practicing for test-measured skills." (National Education Association in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers "Access, Adequacy, and Equity in Education Technology," May 2008.)

But you can help by bringing your creative ideas to your teachers!

For example, I’m excited about two of my current favorite instructional activities. Both support and complement the demands of NCLB and a tight curriculum while providing authentic and engaging activities that students enjoy and their teachers consider worthwhile. The first, Eye Spy Math, challenges students to use geometric terms as they examine and analyze primary source photos presented in a PowerPoint pres­en-­­tation. The second, an Excel-based chart and graph activity, supports state math standards, state information, and technology literacies; it also creates connections between reading and technology.

Eye Spy Math


This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview (free), Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-per-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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