Educational reform movements and how these reforms influence the classroom.

Considering my age, and I guess I was in the first phase of technology, I have seen its effects from industry to education. When I was in advertising my graduating class was the first wave to start really using computers in the design process. A lot of older designers were like fish out of water and either took the opportunity to learn the software and adjust or they tended to slowly disappear from the game. This same faze is now happening in education and I can see some of the older teaches begin to choose from the older ideas and the new. I do not see how at this point we could ever go back to just textbooks and pencils. Today’s education needs to move even fast to keep with the way today’s students are receiving their information. Best of luck to all of us.

Trends in Educational Reform:
Technology is a such a dominant force in today’s world, that it is no hard to understand the effects it is having on our educational system. The need for technology is not only a benefit for students with disabilities, but also allows the information taught in schools to be presented the same way they are receiving information from the internet and video games…digitally. The state and local levels have committed themselves to changing the way schools operate with a variety changes in curriculum, administration and student/parent communications. The fact that I am a new teacher and need to find information faster than ever, the internet is always the first place I will go to start a research project. Everyone involved with educational system can see what needs to be done, the only problem is the cost for the upgrades in curriculum and equipment.

When Did the Current Wave of Education Reform Begin?
In the early 1980’s the powers that be felt the economy was directly effected by the overall scores from students in the united states compared to other countries, the public education system quickly fell under the microscope. The educational reform in the 1980’s was generated from several sources not just the challenges of the federal government. In 1983 the famous article titled “Nation at Risk” was written about how we are becoming a country of mediocrity that threatens the future of our nation. The article made strong points about how we are falling behind in commerce, industry, science and technological innovations.

In response to the “Nation at Risk” came the first wave of educational reform. One of the most dramatic changes in this first wave of reform was in the area of standardized tests. During this first wave many states began legislation of merit pay systems designed to reward teacher for excellence. Despite the original focus of the first wave movements for educational reforms research now shows that neither standardization nor merit pay led to effective student learning.

Some of the greatest complaints in the American educational system and policies were that they were guided by a top down approach. Some of the more popular theories of this time included:
– Constructivism
– Multiple intelligence theories
– Site based management
– Teacher professionalism
– Charter Schools
– Educational Management Organizations
– School Choice and Home Schooling

Each of these was designed to bring school reform into being accountable for educational outcomes. One of the most notable examples of systemic reform came from the federal government in the form of “Goals 2000” which mandated such things as pre-schooling and increasing national graduation rates by 90%. Further on came President George Bush’s national education agenda in the form of “No Child Left Behind” which gave broad range to educational initiatives and goals.

How Does Educational Reform Relate to Computers & Informational Technology?
Computers and computer technologies are changing the way teachers communicate with there administration and with other teachers not only in the same school but also crossed the globe. Also, in our class alone we are able to purchase software that allows the students to learn math, science and other application at their own pace. The use of video tutorials and learning activities allows the information to processed in different ways. The visual learn has so many options in today’s education.

Computers in the Classroom – Real Examples:
One example of computers in the classroom comes from Computer as a Learning Partner. Directed by Dr. Marcia Linn of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education attempts to forge a conceptual understanding of science through the use of computer assisted instruction. CLP focuses on the software tools that are designed to help students construct an understanding of science. In this case CLP software has become a powerful instructional tool and is supported by a web homepage dedicated to Computers, Teachers and Peers as Science Learning Partners.

At Rosewood Elementary School, Fifth graders are exploring science, history and world events over the internet. KIDS ’95, a free international networking service sponsored by the group known as KIDLINK which allows various networking activities. KIDLINK has united more than 37,000 children between the ages of 10 and 15 from over 71 nations. One of KIDLINK’s most popular activities, children and their teachers are united in topical discussions known as Internet Relay Chats (IRC’s). This type of technology allows students to talk to student all over the world at any time of the day. This is just an amazing thing for students to be aware of and use to grow the education levels.

Some people will argue that one of the best ways to get young students to learn is to fool them into learning. At Northwestern University’s Institute for the Learning Sciences (ILS), researchers are designing games and multimedia tools that engage students and teach them skills that can the put them to good use in other forms of media and research.
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Educational reform movements and how these reforms influence the classroom.
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