Technology Discussion Summary

College-Ready Checklist

  • Checklist from California focused on computer skills; it does not have items related to engineering technology.  Computer skills are not necessarily the goal—computer software is a tool students need to be able to use.
  • Follow NY State progress on standards for technology.

Computer Literacy & Math Skills

  • Students come to technology classes with a wide range of skill levels—some are not computer literate (e.g. don’t understand basics like saving work)
    • Computer classes are no longer required in high school.
    • Some students are self-taught and develop bad habits.
    • Older (returning adult) students are not immersed in technology
    • Some students use computers a lot but don’t have keyboard skills or knowledge of business software (e.g. Excel).
    • Student experience also varies widely on use of other tools e.g. rulers, micrometers, scales.
    • Basic math literacy is a problem (some 9th graders testing at a 5th grade math level)
      • Students have difficulty working with fractions
      • Students do not understand math as a process, they are discouraged math learners, some with math anxiety.
      • Math has not been taught with applications—
        • Connect math skills to real world problems, career aspirations
        • Provide plenty of opportunities to use and practice math skills

Issues /Concerns

  • Problems we see:  motivation, discipline, persistence, accountability, frustration at failure leading to low confidence as learner, drop-out.
  • Some policies and practices are not serving the students’ interests.
    • High school teachers feel pressure  from administration and parents to pass students; at college, faculty can and do fail students—a rude awakening.
    • State punishes schools that have a graduation rate below 80% so there is a disincentive to take immediate action on poorly performing students.
    • Students are advised to stop taking math and English courses when they meet the minimum graduation requirements.
    • More students may need to go to trade/tech schools rather than high schools, but we need to be careful about tracking.
    • Various policies across systems on attendance, grading, late work.
    • Dual enrollment need to be consistent about enrollment, grading policies.

 

Ideas/Practices to Improve Success:  Relevance, Motivation, Culture

  • In the Classroom
    • Have projects that are planned, but be flexible based on student incoming abilities and interests… i.e. let them do their own thing as long as they learn the core skills
    • Create your own policy that you implement and get administrative support… be consistent in implementing it.
    • Do authentic work, i.e. not contrived.
    • Maintain high standards and be consistent.
    • Teachers have to sell the value of education: “You have to learn this in order to do this.”
    • Visit businesses or have businesses visit, so that students can link education to careers.  Also, students can experience things through video… don’t have to go on “real” tours.

 

  • Guidance
    • Give students realistic understandings of what is required for different careers… if they don’t love the math/English/computer required, then that is not the degree for them.
    • Students need a rigorous senior year. They often take it easy, and advisors support this.
    • Relevance: tricky balance… we educate students generally, but they will take a specific job.  Also student interests change over time…