Yet as schools begin their imple- mentations, it is quickly discovered that simply placing hardware in classrooms does not raise student achievement. Teachers need help using this technology effective- ly. Not all teachers are tech savvy, understand how to use technology effectively, or will take time to learn independently.
Tere are two major support struc- tures administrators can provide for their teachers to ensure the success and ultimate ROI of their technolo- gy implementations.
Teachers need access to high quality digital content.
Technology hardware vendors show a few lessons or apps, so you can check that item off your evaluation list and feel confident some con- tent is available when purchasing hardware.
Yet, it is the content that deter- mines the effectiveness of a tablet or an interactive whiteboard. Any hardware is a useless tool without content. If technology is to be truly integrated into daily instruction in meaningful ways, teachers need access to content for everything they teach.
When content is not a main focus of technology implementations, it results in teachers spending pre- cious planning time searching for “free” content that is oſten of poor quality or trying to create their own content with little or no content design training. Tat time should be spent planning effective lessons that integrate digital content in meaninful ways. Tis time crunch caused by a lack of content leads to technology that is at best not being used effectively and at worst gather- ing dust.
88% of teachers report they would use their technology
more oſten if they were provid- ed with digital content.2
Teachers need meaningful, on-going professional development.
Most schools coordinate with the technology hardware represen- tative to provide teachers basic professional development on how to operate a new piece of technol- ogy—including things like how do I customize my desktop, how do I insert an image, or how do I down- load an app.
Teachers need professional devel- opment that goes beyond basic op- erational knowledge. Just because teachers know how to use technol- ogy doesn’t mean they know how to teach with it.
Tey need pedagogical guidance on how to structure their classroom to accommodate the technology, how to integrate the technology seam- lessly into a lesson, how to change their instruction to make best use of the technology, when the tech- nology should be used and when it is unnecessary, and how to choose content that best supports their learning goals.
StarrMatica was founded to help teachers by providing a library of research-based digital content and professional development that delves into the practical classroom applications necessary for success- ful technology implementations.
What Content Should Be Provided
While at first glance it may seem easier to have a computer program choose activities for students, re-
search has shown that technology, specifically instructional soſtware, has been proven most effective when integrated into classroom instruction by a teacher.
Students who experienced teacher-led standards-based in- struction with technology showed higher overall gains than students who experienced the same curric- ula and technology in an isolated lab setting. Tis is because teachers have the ability to match computer instruction with a child’s develop- ment, the curriculum sequence, and the needs of particular groups of students. 3
With teachers in control of content decisions, they become involved “orchestrators” of technology, rather than quiet observers of students in learning isolation. In a library of content like StarrMatica, teachers are presented with up to fiſty digital content resources for a concept, so instead of relying on a singularly focused activity, teachers can differentiate instruction and try several interventions until a student succeeds.
In addition, choosing interventions from multiple activities with mul- tiple strategies allows teachers to match interventions to a student’s learning style, interests, strengths, and weaknesses.
Why Choose StarrMatica’s Content
StarrMatica’s content is based on a solid foundation in educational research and theory.
Te research-based teaching strate- gies StarrMatica employs to pro- mote instructional effectiveness include:
2 Market Data Research Survey 2009 3 Mann, D., Shakeshaſt, C. Becker, J. and; Kottkamp, R. (1998) “West Virginia Story: Achievement gains from a statewide comprehen- sive instructional technology program.” Santa Monica, CA: Milken Exchange on Educational Technology
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