Do public schools really need to burn increasing amounts of instruction days to take state-mandated tests? How much quantitative data must lawmakers see to separate “dumb” and “smart” districts. If it takes 10 graphs to get the point across, perhaps it’s the leaders who are at fault.
Anyone who walks in a failing K-12 school can see why the students aren’t high-achieving. The parents are disengaged, the faculty are just as much discipline officers as they are teachers, the students mosey from room to room without inspiration, and local police are present to break up fights and curb truancy. You don’t need days of TAKS tests to demonstrate the gap between the aforementioned schools and successful schools. Can you imagine if they had similar benchmarking for athletics? “Ok, boys, we’re running the 40-meter dash today. We got your times last spring, and now this test is for our athletics funding. If you don’t improve, we won’t be able to afford shoulder pads next year!”
In the same way that testing isn’t the magic bullet, neither is technology. The tools are only as powerful and imaginative as their users. It will require the same creativity, adaptability, and drive to marry the curriculum to these educational apps and software as was required to invent the platforms themselves. Like all things in life, the permeation of mobile technology into classrooms will continue to require balance… between the time-tested, enthusiastic story-teller teaching, and the new technology enabling the instructor to tell the story more effectively.