Technology Integration in the Home?

Technology Integration in the Home?

Amanda Gordon (School Teacher, USA)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 3
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-492-5.ch014
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If homework assignments that require the use of a computer are given to students, should they be penalized for what their family cannot afford? In this case study, Mrs. Lincoln, who developed her course using a web-based course management system named Moodle, spent time working on her Moodle pages and posting assignments. She then explained to students how the site worked. She also spent a week in the computer lab training her students to become proficient using the Moodle application. After a couple of weeks, Mrs. Lincoln noticed that a quarter of her students were not completing their Moodle based assignments.
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The Case

Mrs. Lincoln is a teacher at Johnson High School. Her district is fairly small and is composed of many at-risk students. Most of the students at her school are economically disadvantaged. Due to tough economic times, the district has been trying to cut back on spending and looking at ways to save dollars. At a recent professional development meeting, the district explained that teachers must fully utilize the software that has already been purchased by the district. Because all of the teachers were trained on how to use Moodle, the district told teachers that they wanted to see immediate implementation in their classrooms. Thus, Mrs. Lincoln spent time working on her Moodle pages and posting assignments. Mrs. Lincoln explained to students how the Moodle site worked. She trained them on Moodle in the computer lab over the course of a week, until all students were proficient using the Moodle course platform. After a couple of weeks, Mrs. Lincoln noticed that a quarter of her students were not completing assignments on Moodle. Due to the missed assignments, their grade was dropping significantly. This puzzled Mrs. Lincoln because these students had always completed their in-class assignments and had performed well on these assignments. Mrs. Lincoln started conferencing with these students and discovered they all shared the same problem: None of these students had computers at home and thus they could not complete the assignments on Moodle.

Mrs. Lincoln realized that many economically disadvantaged students do not have the use of computers at home. These economically disadvantaged students considered themselves lucky if their lights were on and their hot water running. Having to think about how they are going to complete their homework, especially if it is on a computer, was the least of their worries. To solve the challenge Mrs. Lincoln worked out a system where the students could arrive early to school and/or stay late after school in order to complete the assignments on the computers in her classroom. However, this raised another problem. Mrs. Lincoln’s classroom had only three computers and there were numerous students who needed to use them for homework. Furthermore, some of the students struggled getting to school early and/or staying late because they had to ride the bus. Mrs. Lincoln would have to devise a rotation schedule that would allow these students to get their assignments completed. Mrs. Lincoln understood that another option would be to allow these students to write the assignments by hands, but then they would be missing out on using technology and developing the skills associated with such practice.

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