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Why Some Educators Still Struggle With E-Learning
Educational institutions still faces challenges in embracing technology and e-learning -- particularly as part of the student assessment process -- according to a new report.
Technology has been at the forefront of learning for the last 30 years, and U.S. educational institutions have embraced the efficiency modern technology brings in facilitating their learning environments by streamlining communications between teachers, students and parents, and organizing the way classes and courses are structured.
But where our educators fall short, according to a recent report by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), is in their use of e-learning and technology tools as a means of assessing and measuring learning. In other words, educational institutions still find it a challenge to integrate new technologies when testing and measuring students’ academic progress.
The survey of nearly 500 educators and administrators of kindergarten through college looked at self-reported progress in their use of technology in the classroom. It showed the use of technology-based assessment tools was the lowest-rated benchmark among the 20 included in the survey. Technology is being used in a more supportive role in learning, SIIA said, and not as a primary means to assessing and testing progress.
So why are educational institutions still challenged by using e-learning technologies as a tool for student assessment, especially during a time in which evolving technologies are so much a part of our everyday lives?
Part of the problem is financial: The economic downturn and financial frailty at the state and local level have made it difficult for public educational institutions to spend money on access to new technologies, making it more difficult for smaller schools or those already hampered by funding restraints to gain footing in this area. Those in the private sector are also likely tightening budgets.
Yet Karen Billings, vice president for education for SIIA, which represents more than 180 member companies that provide digital content and technologies that serve educational needs, said while there is little doubt that part of the challenge is access to these technologies, a behavioral element also plays a part.
“It is the change in behavior; it’s trusting that the computer is not going to stop working or failing in the process,” Billings said. “[It’s also] trusting that the test taker or course completer is really the person getting credit for it.”
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