Curtis, D (2003, January 24). A remarkable transformation: Union city public schools. Retrieved April 2, 2008, from Edutopia Web site: http://www.edutopia.org/remarkable-transformation
This article is such an inspiration! Not only that, but it confirms my beliefs in the effectiveness of technology use in the classroom.
This article is about Union City Public Schools in New Jersey, who were failing academically and were close to being taken over by the state. When it came to state indicators, they were failing 44 out of 52 indicators. They then decided that something needed to change.
They adopted a new plan, which included heavy use of technology, and now 80% of the students are meeting state standards, compared to 30% before the new plan. (Curtis, 2003) What an increase!
What it took: “A combination of focused leadership, a comprehensive, research-based overhaul of the system, technology, teacher and community input, site-based decision-making, and more (and carefully targeted) money explain the turnaround” (Curtis, 2003).
The district changed from teacher centered classrooms to student centered classrooms. “Throughout the classrooms in Union City's eleven schools, the trend is to eliminate rows of desks facing a blackboard and passive students listening (or not) to forty-minute lectures. Students more likely will be working individually or in groups -- often at computers -- while the teacher circumnavigates the room, stopping to advise or confer when needed” (Curtis, 2003).
The use of computers helped in this major overhaul and the adoption of a research based curriculum:
"The Internet just broke down the walls of my classroom" (Curtis, 2003).
“Technology is what pushed it (their new plan) to great heights” (Curtis, 2003).
This proves what I’ve been talking about all along….the use of computers DOES make a difference! Computers are an effective classroom tool and will benefit our students in the long run.