Technology Question

One question or concern that I have about using technology in the classroom is do you, or do you feel you can, give technology homework?

I am always hesitant to assign homework that must be done on the computer. I am worried that a parent will call and say that their child does not have a computer at home, or does not have access to one. How do you handle this?

I think it is important to give our students web based homework but you really have to consider the access that students will have to computers. If all of them do not have easy access you will have to make it available to them at school. We have a few students at our school that do not computer access but they are always able to use computers before and after school and during their recess. It is a tricky thing though. At the elementary level this would be a good time to start teaching students and their families where they can find easy access to computers. When they reach high school or even junior high there may be no concessions for them if they don't.

Hi Breanne,
I survey my students at the beginning of the year to see who has computer/internet access. There are always a few students lacking it. If I assign something needing computer access, like wiki collaborations, I make sure those students get time to use the classroom computers to get it done. Or I make sure students have the option of using technology to complete the assignment or doing the assignment on paper. Hope this helps.

This is a great question, Breanne, and it goes to the heart of differentiation I think. We usually do that to accommodate different students' strengths and weaknesses, but I think we also need to accommodate different preferences and other limitations as you've mentioned above. I'd have a selection of equivalent assignments and give the students some choice. I'd also use tools that can have material developed at home in hardcopy and then added at school via a scanner or word processor.

I'd also have the room open after school and in the evening so anyone could come in and work. Perhaps various teachers could share the supervision. Finally, there's the good old public library. If you choose collaborative tools or sign out thumbdrives and investigate what can be done on library machines before you create the assignment, you might be able to come up with interesting work arounds and develop a collaboration with the public librarians.

I would absolutely give technology-based homework. I think it means more to them, they will learn more, and they wil have fun doing it. In my own district we don't have any solutions yet to the lack of computer access at home. I know there are grants available for laptops that are for kids to sign out and take home. I would love to know how those districts handle kids not bringing them back, but the concept is great. We don't have a public library, but there is also grant money available to keep libraries open after school hours; then there is a transportation issue, at least in our district. I would periodically survey the kids to see who has access at home and make sure the kids who do not are able to complete the work in school. Good question! Good Luck! - D

Hi Breanne, For my music classes I would like to give the students technology homework to extend their collaborative and independent learning a new perspective. At this time, I have not come up with a fair and equitable way to do this. It is actually one of my personal technology goals for this coming year. -Donna-

Breanne, I give technology homework all the time. We have a large amount of technology labs in our school that are open before and after school. I use these labs all the time for my students and their work!

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