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3 Largest Barriers to Student Learning


Blogger Lisa Nielsen makes a case for three of the largest barriers to student learning in EdTech.

  1. Internet Speed
  2. Filtering
    1. ...they can’t access the sites they want. Teacher’s say filtering is a major barrier to using the digital tools of our world because there is just so much they can’t access.
  3. Testing
    1. ...in many places there are two full weeks of testing for students...

Read the article here: http://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/10672

My Thoughts on:

Internet speed

The current generation of students can be referred to as the "Here and Now" generation. How many times have you (or someone you know) lost patience with your phone, tablet, or computer because an app didn't instantly launch or a webpage didn't instantly load. How did that make you feel? Imagine in a classroom, where time is already limited and your app takes minutes to load. It can become very easy for students to become disengaged and distracted during load times.

Filtering

This is a good topic that does not get looked at too often as a hindrance to learning. First, filtering DOES protect students from harmful and inappropriate content on the internet. It is NOT my opinion that we should "do away with filtering." My suggestion is less filtering. Instead of heaving filtering teach students internet safety as well as how to be responsible with their internet usage and hold students accountable.

Working in the Tech Department, I would say that at least 2-3 times a week, I get a call from a teacher to unblock a website that has been blocked by the filter. Almost every time the filter has blocked it because it fits the category of games or personal blog when students are trying to play review games or find information on research topics.

Testing

We (as a society) are testing kids alot! The quote above about two full weeks of testing does not quite convey the amount of testing kids do. Here are just a few tests kids take each year, many of them are mandated.

  • PARCC / State Assessment (Grades 3-8, and once in High School) (4 Week Testing Window)
  • The "New" Science Assessment (3 week window - Grades 5,8, and High School)
  • ACT or SAT (High School)
  • Practice Test(s) for ACT or SAT -- I have seen students prepare for a year for this test.
  • MAP Test (3 times a year - 3 Week window each time) (K-8)
  • ASVAB, PLAN, EXPLORE
  • College Entrance Exam (For High School Dual Credit)
  • Pre- and Post- Assessments for each class
  • There are more, however these I can list off the top of my head.
This is on top of class assessments like unit exams, online programs like IXL, Reading Plus, & Lexia, as well as many more.

How is this a barrier to learning. Mostly this is a barrier due to the time testing takes away from class instruction. It is not just the time it takes to administer the test, but also to prepare students for these tests. As high-stakes testing has become the norm, more time is spent away from instruction and having students practice for the tests.

That being said, 

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