The Atlantic recently published an interesting article by veteran educator Paul Barnwell in which he reflects on technology classroom and whether a computer is more capable of doing his job than he is.
Specifically, Mr. Barnwell is using technology in a concept known as the flipped classroom, and he's found it very effective:
"For the past several weeks, I’ve begun class with a simple routine: Students enter the room, grab a new Chromebook, log on to the Reading Plus program, and spend roughly 20 minutes working at their own pace. I stroll around the room and help with technology troubleshooting or conference with students, quietly chatting about academic progress or missing work. I’ve also found myself pausing, marveling at what this program promises to accomplish: meeting students where they are academically and, at least in theory, helping a wildly diverse group of students improve their literacy skills."
The Atlantic piece goes on to relate learning in Mr. Barnwell's classroom to national statistics, including an illumination of the wide disparity of students' abilities in a single classroom. Technology and its ability to be customized to individual learners proves extremely effective.
And the Federal Government agrees: 16 school districts received $350 million dollars to support efforts to personalize learning through adaptive software and digital tools.
Ultimately, Mr. Barnwell embraces his new position in the classroom: "There’s no doubt the role of teachers is changing rapidly in many school districts towards more facilitation. Like Godsey, I’d struggle to tell a young teacher in training what to expect in the coming years—but there’s no doubt that blended learning will only increase in popularity. For now, I’m okay with my changing role, and it’s too early to tell if Reading Plus is worth the time and students’ effort."
The complete article from The Atlantic is available online.