Why Technology in Classrooms Doesn’t Always Boost Education Results

Technology Research and News

A recent Wall Street Journal Article is attracting attention. It found (gasp) using computers doesn’t give you better test scores. Technology in classrooms means little. Here’s why:

OECD report about technology

“The report suggested that “we have not yet become good enough at the kind of pedagogues that make the most of technology; that adding 21st century technologies to 20th century teaching practices will just dilute the effectiveness of teaching.”

Report results are based on an assessment in 2012 that tracked students in more than 40 countries and surveyed them on computer habits and conducted both written and digital tests.

On average, seven out of 10 students in countries surveyed use computers at school and students average at least 25 minutes a day online. In some countries, like Turkey and Mexico, about half of the students don’t have access to a computer at home.

The survey found that students with more exposure to computers do better, on average, than those with little exposure to computers, but the OECD cautioned against drawing conclusions based on that result. The data could simply reflect that school systems that invest in technology also invest in better teachers and draw on students from a higher socio-economic class, who tend to do better in school.”

The Wall Street Journal, “Technology in Classrooms Doesn’t Always Boost Education Results, OECD Says”


How do you teach with tech? WHAT DO YOU DO WITH IT

You can’t get smarter just rubbing Einstein’s head. If he were still alive, you’d have to talk to him. You’d want to interact to improve.

Technology in the Closet

Before I became a high school teacher, I taught teachers how to use technology. I’ll never forget my discovery about edtech.

I was lost in the building. I opened the door to the closet instead of the conference room. The closet was full from bottom to top with computers in boxes.

I had just been working in a poor school with few computers. But this closet was full. When I asked if the teachers could have them, I was told they stockpiled them at the end of the fiscal year. They would figure it out. Over a year later when I went back and peeked, the closet was still half full. Nobody figured it out.

I discovered that HAVING technology means nothing. You have to:

  1. Have technology in the classroom,
  2. Students must have access, and
  3. Teachers must know how to teach with tech.

Using Technology in Ways that Improve Classroom Learning

It is not about what you HAVE but what you DO with what you HAVE.

Unless you HAVE NOTHING — and then you don’t even HAVE a chance. And that is unfair.

Technology is here. It can make a massive difference if you HAVE the know-how to teach with it effectively.

Edtech Professional Development Must Amp Up

I went to a recent professional development about differentiated instruction. It was one day of lecture. I couldn’t believe it.

We need PD! But teacher training must model what we’re teaching. 
  • When I teach collaborative writing, we write collaboratively.
  • When I do a workshop on global collaboration, we collaborate globally.
  • When I do a workshop on differentiation, I differentiate.

To do otherwise is not only hypocrisy, but it is also a royal waste of money.

And that is where we are.

A gulf yawns between the haves and HAVE NOTS.

I would argue this.

Good Technology Access + Good Technology Pedagogy = Improvement 


Good Technology Access + Bad Technology Pedagogy = No Improvement


No Technology Access = No Improvement

And the latter two in this list aren’t much different. It is more than technology access. It is how we teach with what we have.

It would be like giving new customer care reps an awesome new system and not training them. But it happens each and every day in our schools. This report is no surprise. It just validates what many in education technology have been saying all along.

If you’ve got the technology, let’s talk about good teaching with it.

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from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/technology-in-classrooms/


MATH FREEBIE ALERT: Awesome Foldables and Downloads from Sarah Hagan [Link]

Link Post MATH FREEBIE ALERT: Awesome Foldables and Downloads from Sarah Hagan
Math = Love Blog

sarah-haganSarah Hagan is one busy math teacher from Oklahoma. Her site has:

  • Foldables
  • Templates
  • Bulletin Boards
  • Graphic Organizers

If you know any math teachers, this is one of those sites that is a MUST SHARE! Just scanning her site, I see Frayer models, integer operations work mat, downloadable mathematical research projects, college algebra real number line project, order of operations graphic organizer. All ages here.

Here’s where to follow her:

Tell every math teacher you know! Awesome! (What are your favorite places for freebies?)

Free Math resources from Sarah Hagan

Free math resources from Sarah Hagan

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from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/links/math-freebie-alert-awesome-foldables-and-downloads-from-sarah-hagan/

If You Don’t Know these 22 Things About Computer Security, You’re Headed for Trouble

Friendly Technology for Beginners

We bank online. We buy things on our computers. Everything from our wills to our accounting software is on our home computers. But one drive around a neighborhood with my phone looking for hotspots, and I can see dozens of homes ready for a hacker to steal their information.

Copy of Edit Yoursef (1)

We live in a high-tech world. Too bad more people don’t educate themselves about how to keep their home computers safe. We put in alarm systems. Do we purchase firewalls? Do we password protect our wifi and home computers? Do parents and kids share the same login ids? These are just a few of the 22.

Here’s a quick video with the 22 most common mistakes I’ve seen since beginning my work with computers in 1993. This is a beginning video that I also share with my students and their parents.

What did I miss? I’ve already updated the video once. Is there anything else that needs to go in there?

I know this is a very simple explanation, but my audience is beginners. I’d appreciate feedback before I share this with my students next week.

The post If You Don’t Know these 22 Things About Computer Security, You’re Headed for Trouble appeared first on Cool Cat Teacher Blog.

from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/if-you-dont-know-these-22-things-about-computer-security-youre-headed-for-trouble/

Celebrate Awesome Girls with Kid President! #kpawesomegirls

Trends to Help You Teach

Kp Awesome Girls

Kid President is cool. He is now looking for awesome girls to celebrate. His video is endearing (and funny) but rings true. Girls often don’t think they’re awesome.

I felt invisible and unwanted by my peers until I lost weight and started winning beauty pageants — at least in my small town. Being smart was not a good thing. Being pretty was. I remember feeling very un-awesome.

We MUST  tell girls they are awesome just like they are!

We can complain about “the media.” But now we have a cute kid (and his brother) who want to celebrate awesome girls. We should be all over this one! Pile on! So, if you want to help girls or are working with girls, why not join Kid President in celebrating these awesome girls!

This fun activity is perfect if you’re working with girls and self-esteem. Watch the video (and laugh) – come on people, the video is hilarious. But then,

  • Why not take pics of your classroom of girls and tweet to #kpawesomegirls?
  • Why not celebrate some awesome girls in your life?
  • Why not share some awesome inspiring girls of history?
  • Who knows some awesome girls??? Let’s have fun with this!

So, Kid President is doing this, he’s cool. Much cooler than you and me saying it. (Sorry teacher friends, that is how it is.) Girls (and boys) need to know they are awesome. Each child is a masterpiece. Every child matters. With all the messages girls get in magazines and media, we need to help them see their own beauty. This is a trend we can join.

So, I’m going to start by tweeting out that my friend Angela Maiers is a #kpawesomegirls (that is with an “s”) because of her #choose2matter movement.


Kids matter. I’ll use any means necessary to help them know that. How about you? Who are the awesome girls in your life?

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from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/kpawesomegirls/

Stop Struggling! Teach English Language Learners with Karaoke!

An Every Classroom Matters Episode

Jon Schwartz is the California teacher who created Rockademix.  He found that Karaoke is an incredible way to teach reading and English as a Second Language (ESL) students. You’ll find so many ideas that you can use to teach reading (and any subject). This method can produce great results! The California state Senate named Jon “Tech Hero of 2011.” If you write music, maybe you should write some for your classroom. If not, start looking for some!

Important Takeaways

  • How a blues song unlocked a child struggling to learn English and how it led to the creation of a company.
  • How Karaoke can boost reading.
  • Free ways that every child can create music in any classroom.
  • How Jon’s classroom transformed when he started using music to teach kids.
  • How to engage kids who are struggling readers by using music.

Educator Resources

A Peek into Jon’s Classroom

Jon shares the music that started it all and how you can download a free copy of the Constitution song and video with dance moves.

Interview Links

Other ECM Shows on Music

We’ve had quite a few other award winning educators who are demonstrating to all of us how well music works in the classroom! There’s a reason many of us remember the Saturday Morning “Schoolhouse Rock” songs we sang about the US government. “I’m Just a Bill” or “Conjunction Junction, What’s Your Function?”

If you’re struggling to teach something. Find a song! Teachers are writing music everywhere now!

Listen to Jon Schwartz

Using the visual and performing arts to engage students

Every Classroom Matters is a bi-weekly Radio Show by Vicki Davis on BAM Radio network with best practices for busy teachers. Subscribe.
Show notes prepared by Lisa Durff, Production Coordinator for Every Classroom Matters.

If you need help, use this tutorial.

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from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/teach-english-language-learners/

OER: How to Find, Use and Share Free Teaching Tools and Resources

An Every Classroom Matters Episode

Susan Jones

Want to save time? Want free resources? Open education resources (OERs) can help busy teachers everywhere! Do you know how to find them? Use them? License them? Make your own? Today’s guest, Sue Jones, has created a helpful guide to OERs and is using them in her highered classroom. You can do this! Listen to today’s show to get started.

Important Takeaways

  • How OER resources can save teachers lots of time.
  • Finding videos, PowerPoints, and more that you can actually use.
  • A fast tip for figuring out which free videos are accurate.
  • A cool network where educators share tons of free resources.
  • How to share while preventing “stealing.” (I share how I license my work.)
  • Why teachers are so excited about OER resources.

Educator Resources

Interview Links


  • Lesley University has an impressive line-up of online programs specifically designed for busy teachers. If you’re interested in strengthening your professional training, your resume or your career options, you’ll want to take a look at what Lesley has to offer.Lesley’s programs include: •creative learning environments •experienced faculty •small classes, and •the kind of supportive online community that we all value and want.
Take a moment to check out Lesley’s programs for teachers by going toOnline.Lesley.edu/BamRadio

Check Out Lesley University’s Online Programs

What Teachers Say

Listener info

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or elsewhere, get the RSS feed, or listen via the media player above.button-itunes
how to find use and share OER Resources

Join the Every Classroom Matters Awesome Educators Network on Facebook

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from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/oer-how-to-find-use-and-share-free-teaching-tools-and-resources/

How to Organize Files and Find Them on a PC [Video]

Video Post
In this 7 minute video, you’ll learn some tips and tricks for organizing files and finding them on a PC. While I’m using Windows 8.1, the system I teach for organizing files is adapted from one Gina Trapani shared in her Lifehacker guide and can be used on any device.

How to Organize Files and Find Them on a PC: Essential Questions

  • How does the computer letter the drives?
  • What does a network drive look like?
  • How can students organize files on a computer so they can find them?
  • How do you copy and move files from one place to another?

I teach this very early in Computer Fundamentals. Many educators and students do not know how to copy, move, organize, and don’t have a system for keeping their files organized!

This is from my basics series over on my YouTube channel. Contact me if you have special requests for tutorials. 

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from Cool Cat Teacher Blog http://www.coolcatteacher.com/videos/how-to-organize-files-and-find-them-on-a-pc/