I first saw this a few weeks ago and I just can’t stop thinking about it. This is why I’m doing what I’m doing. I wrote previously about how technology is tearing down walls that have prevented students from reaching their full potential. Perhaps this story intrigues me so much because I’m a science teacher and a Digital Curriculum Integration Specialist, and it is the culmination of those two worlds – but I just think it’s an amazing depiction of what we can do in 21st century education. I know some will watch this and immediately say that this little girl is accomplishing this because she has a dad that’s supporting her and providing opportunities. We can say that our students don’t have involved parents like that, but what if they got these opportunities in the classroom? What could our kids do if we just gave them the freedom and the chance to try? There are a lot of people who shake their heads at such idealism, but I say… let’s find out. That’s how all great things have come into being.
The primary reason we pursued a 1:1 initiative and a transition from print to digital resources is for the increased ability to give differentiated, current, relevant and and engaging curriculum that addresses an increased number of learning intelligences. I want to share with you some statistics today that show how well it is working.
When we started using Achieve 3000, our program that provides differentiated content for reading comprehension of informational text, we immediately discovered that the number of students below grade level in this area was greater than we thought. Previous measures had given us data that included both fiction and non-fiction, and were based on old grade level bands for Lexile measures, so we didn’t have an accurate picture. Initial assessments with Achieve showed us that 80% of Southwest Parke Students were below grade level. Not good. What is good is how fast that’s changing with the digital tools we are using. In the report we ran in early February, after just one semester of using the program, we found a 9% change in that statistic! It’s working.
But wait… there’s more! Not only were students below grade level, many were significantly below. I won’t clutter this page with all 11 graphs, but take a look at this one as a representation of what we’re seeing. Initial tests showed the average student Lexile to be 224 below the low end of the 3rd grade range. At the end of January, they were only 90 Lexile points below that line. In a very short time we are closing the gap. It’s working.
We are using a number of tools that I believe are making this kind of difference. Achieve 3000 is just the one I have the most concrete data from to prove it. This is what happens when we use technology in all the right ways, proving differentiated, dynamic content that just can’t be found in a textbook. It has to be done right, but when it is…