vendredi 25 décembre 2009
Keeping on Task in a Digital Environment
One of Washington's largest school districts is using technology to get classroom management under control
By Bridget McCrea12/03/09
It doesn't take much to disrupt an entire high school classroom and get a student off task, particularly when that student is using a desktop or laptop computer to finish a lesson. An incoming e-mail, an instant message, or a link to a really cool video on YouTube can all stop the lesson in its tracks until the student refocuses and gets back to work.
One of Washington State's largest school districts thinks it has found a way to minimize classroom disruption and keep everyone focused and working toward the same goal. Through a new classroom management system that's currently being implemented, Lake Washington School District in Redmond is tapping into technology as a way to keep students productive.
Chip Kimball, superintendent for the 24,000-student district, which is ranked sixth-largest statewide, said Lake Washington schools previously used "various products" to manage its classrooms, with most of the responsibility handled by the teachers themselves.
"There's debate about whether classroom management is a technical issue, a teacher supervision issue, or both," said Kimball. "Of course there needs to be teacher supervision and appropriate policies in place for when kids are doing what they shouldn't be doing. However, teachers also need software to help keep kids focused on the task at hand."
After looking more closely at the viability of a tech-based classroom management solution, Kimball and his team garnered feedback from instructors on the idea. Teachers whose students spent most of their classroom time in front of a computer were particularly enthused, he said, knowing that more effective computer monitoring would allow them to better track student activities and progress.
"Our decision to purchase the system was driver primarily by teacher requests and the realization that those instructors would be able to better manage students and make sure they are on task," said Kimball.
Armed with its educators' blessings, the district then shopped around and investigated the various classroom management solutions available on the market. After reviewing products from a few different vendors, Kimball said his team selected LanSchool v7.4, a product whose features include the display of the teacher's screen on student monitors; shutdown, logoff, or restart of student computers; lockouts of the students' keyboards and mice; co-browsing (with teacher and student) of the Internet; thumbnail monitoring; and the "blanking" of student screens by the instructor.
Developed by LanSchool Technologies, the classroom management system is currently being implemented across the entire Lake Washington School District. Kimball said the application was chosen for its features and benefits, as well as its ability to function in a wireless environment.
"We needed an application that had low bandwidth and that worked well in a wireless environment, which is what we're moving towards," Kimball explained. "LanSchool had a bit of an edge on its competition because its developers have already perfected their application's footprint."
Posted by faten.romdhani at 15:01