Hope Street Group Teacher Fellow and Hawkins County Educator Tina Faust offers her thoughts on the TNReady challenges and the benefits of digital test prep.
As I reflect on the testing situation in Tennessee, my initial thoughts and fears transcended to wonder. I realize that we are reverting back to pencil and paper, but I wonder where we’d be if Tennessee hadn’t decided to launch an initiative that included technology. I wonder how many teachers would still be resisting technology instead of embracing it as a learning opportunity. I wonder how many children would lack technology exposure in education. I wonder how children in low socioeconomic areas would thrive in a digital society. I wonder how large the digital divide would continue to grow if our classrooms ignore technology. I wonder at what point our education system would realize that children who lack technology exposure are hindered and are not college and career ready.
With these thoughts racing through my mind, it occurred to me that TNReady is about more than a test, it’s about connecting the digital world to our classrooms to ensure our students are future ready. As an Instructional Technology Specialist, I want all teachers to embrace technology and utilize it as a seamless part of the curriculum. TNReady has enabled me to make strides to accomplish this goal. The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) worked with districts to ensure infrastructure was in place to support student computer usage. Many districts had to purchase technology and improve infrastructure to meet the perceived demands of TNReady; which equated to more technology within our schools. Once resistant teachers began to embrace technology and utilize it with students, predominately because the TDOE put an emphasis on technology integration. While not all teachers see technology as an integral resource, TNReady started the process to change our mindset.
Growth mindset is essential if we are preparing the generation of the future. It is imperative that Tennessee’s education system meet the demands of society and connect education to the digital world as it provides relevance to our students. Moving Tennessee in a direction to embrace a digital culture is a positive goal that will achieve this connection. While many of us expressed angst over the testing situation, it is important to remember that we are growing and assessing the improvements that will make our classrooms a place where Tennessee students will connect and thrive. I see TNReady as growing a TechReady environment that prepares our students for life after K-12.
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You’ve got to be kidding me. We’ve been talking meaningful tech integration for years and you think clicking on multiple choice answers is tantamount to meaningful digital literacy?
Technology is etymologically the study of processes. Unless we are using devices to do something new, something that can’t be done with existing tools, then we’re simply engaging in digital fetishism.
All those investments we’ve made in technology and infrastructure upgrades will sadly be on their way to digital oblivion before TNready is ready.
Take smartboards, long hailed as the golden ticket to technology integration and even endorsed by researcher for hire marzano. A few years later and I’m willing to wager that most interactive whiteboards have been relegated to projection screens. What if we’d gotten our heads out of the same and invested instead in teachers assistants or basal readers?
In sum, the fantasy of tech integration embraced mostly by librarians and tech integration specialists has little if anything to do with education in the real world.
So “resistant teachers” were all that was holding children back? Nope. I am not falling for the old “blame the teacher” game.
This TN Ready test was, and is, a mess. The time wasted teaching children to navigate the testing platform didn’t prepare them for anything. That MIST/MICA was confusing and unlike anything people use in real life. I would rather my children have spent that time reading books or learning valuable information rather than being a guinea pig for the testing company to learn how to take their worthless test… a test that will be used against them, their teachers, and their schools.
I am opting my kids out.
As a public school teacher, the TN READY test concerns me. It was “borrowed” From the Utah Sage test. My school doesn’t have 1:1 technology ratio. In fact we have 5 computers per classroom. The 2 labs don’t even have enough working headphones for all the students. This is just for profit education companies raping taxpayers money from public education. Who says our kids aren’t smart? The testing companies that’s who. Then we buy more of their products making them even richer! Wake up America and boycott standardized testing!
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This article almost sounds like TDOE paid someone to publish some positive press regarding TNnotReady. Fail.
I’m sorry, but the school I am at does not have 1:1 technology either. And because of lack of tech funding, we are blessed just to have 2-3 computers or laptops in the classroom. Students are not accustomed to using technology enough to “show what they know” because they use paper/ pencil in the classroom daily. It is unfair to ask this of students that do not have full use of computers daily. Until then, just let us fill their minds with knowledge for success for them tomorrow.