Using Technology in a 2nd Grade Classroom to Improve Student Achievement in Math Term Paper

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Technology in a 2nd grade classroom to improve student achievement in math

Of late, there has been a push to bring in technology to schools where teachers as well as students would be able to reap the benefits of the World Wide Web, the Internet, and other related technologies. In many schools across the United States of America, this fact has been acknowledged and recognized, and many teachers and educators are being trained in the techniques and methods of using these technologies. However, it is also a fact that most teachers have admitted to the truth that they have not been using these technologies, simply because they do not know and they have not been taught, how to, and nor do they have the basic technical support to use these technologies effectively. Power Point, White Boards, Laptops, LCD Projectors, CDROMS, the internet, and others are some of the technologies available to students today, and if proper use were to be made of them, then the students would most definitely do better in all their tests, especially in mathematics, which is a subject that most children seem to fear. It is to be hoped that their scores would show a dramatic improvement if their teachers would learn to face the challenge of integrating these high technologies into the school curriculum, so that the students may be bale to reap the full benefits of these technologies.

Definition of technology, PowerPoint, smart boards, and laptop computers

Technology can be defined as the various technical means that people utilize in order to make their lives easier or to improve their surroundings. The definition would also include the meaning that it would also be inclusive of knowledge of using machines and the other tools that are available today, in order to do any given task in a more efficient manner. Today, technology is used to control or manipulate the world in which we live, and everywhere in the world, people are utilizing technology to makes their lives easier and better and also more in keeping with their surroundings. The very ability to do work has today been dramatically improved by the advances in technology, and in addition, the capacity to communicate better has also increased due to the advancement in technology. When used in a broader sense, technology today is used for making products faster and also better. Even travelers can today travel much faster than ever before because of technology. (Definition of Technology)

Technology can also be defined as the various mechanisms that are used today for distributing messages from one point to another, and which is used for the purpose of communication, and as the basic application of increased knowledge to meet the various requirements of people who may desire goods or services form another individual. (Definitions of technology on the Web) Power Point, on the other hand, can be defined as a presentation software program that is a part of the Microsoft Office Package. It is a technology that allows the user to create slides, notes, handouts, and make presentations. It can also be used as a graphics program for the purpose of creating art, but in general, submissions made on Power Point are not accepted as real art. The presentation can include audio as well, and this would definitely make the package more interesting, especially if it is meant to be used by small children in schools. (Definition of Power Point) Power Point is acknowledged as presentation software, at par with Lotus' Freelance graphics. (Presentation Software)

Smart Boards are highly technical gadgets, which are interactive boards that the teacher can use while making presentations to his classroom. Today, lecterns are becoming obsolete, and in its place are the smart boards, one such being the 'White Board' which are interactive. These use LCD projectors to display images generated by a computer, on the screen, while the teacher lectures to his students. All he would have to do is to touch a certain point, and the image would appear there. In addition, the teacher will be able to hand write anything that he wants to on the board, and then he cane simply save all his notes by the mere touch of a button. In essence, the smart board is the personification of 'power and simplicity' at the touch of a finger. (Interactive White boards, the technology of the future working with Traditional Pedagogical Methodology) A laptop can be defined as a small and portable computer, which is light enough that it can be carried wherever the user wants to, with a small flat keyboard that can be folded so that it would fit into the carry case. In general, a laptop is battery operated, and has an LCD screen. Some models of a laptop computer have certain built in business applications in their CD ROMs. (Web Definition of a laptop computer)

The state of Maths performance, high stakes testing in MA which is the MCAS test, teacher training for technology in the United States, and specifically what is going on in the State of Massachusetts

Today, algebra and other equally complicated math are becoming a part and parcel of the syllabus in most schools, and students are expected to study and pass through thee problems before they can acquire a high school diploma. As a matter of fact, 21 states require that children study the subject for their high school diploma. It must be remembered that at one point of time, algebra as a subject was the sole concern of college bound students, but today, all students of high school are expected to learn the intricacies of algebra and master them before they can pass out of school. This is a phenomenon that seems to have started sometime during the 1990's, and the thinking behind it seems to be that students would need certain skills for college, and they would need to acquire these skills before they can pass out of school, and they would only be acquire thee skills through a study of algebra. The changing workplace may be another reason for the inclusion of algebra as a subject; and the pervasion of technology in the form of digital plans, computer spreadsheets, and cell phone plans would all need a basic comprehension of the technology, and unless students learn it in school, they would not be able to cope with the technology in the world today, where learning to face real life problems has become more important than anything else. (Toppo, 2004)

It must be remembered that in the 1960's, parents and teachers alike happened to clash over what was termed as 'New Math' at that time, and today, the same thing seems to be happening all over again, in this case, with algebra., which is being termed as 'New Math'. The purpose for bringing in algebra into the present curriculum was to lay special emphasis on critical and creative thinking and problem solving, while at the same time, de emphasizing calculating and arithmetic skills in the child, but the problem lies in the fact that there are many individuals who feel that this would virtually undermine the math performance of the students in general. (Toppo, 2004)

Valerie Strauss, in an article in the Washington Post dated 21 December 2004, evaluated the issue of whether or not the children of the United States of America are at par and on the same level with the math performance of other children from other schools all across the globe. Her opinion is that many parents across the United States of America are indeed finding math and its evaluation in the country 'maddeningly complex', and while some teachers prefer to use the math programs that offer different ways with which to solve math problems, some prefer other methods. A study also revealed that on an average, an America fifteen-year-old was definitely lagging behind children from other countries in his basic real life problem solving skills, and most educators, like R. James Milgram of the Stanford University, Jeremy Kilpatrick, of the University of Georgia, and Richard J. Schaar, of Texas Instruments Inc., feel that reforms must be brought in to schools if the math performances were to improve to any extent. (Strauss, 2004)

The MCAS Test, a part of these proposed reforms in schools, which is being used in many schools today, especially in Massachusetts, is also known as the 'Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System'. The test as such has been designed to tap a variety of conceptual levels in the student, right from the lowest level which would construct factual meaning, to the inferential or the interpretative level, to the top level of critical, and evaluation. (MA MCAS ELA Gr 3) These tests are today a part of the State's educational reforms, and they are designed to test a student's knowledge in "Reading, English Language / Arts, and Mathematics, History/Social Science and Science/Technology/Engineering." (MCAS, it counts) Created and developed with the help of the state's curriculum Frameworks, these tests have questions which are…

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