Philly’s teachers are using technology to maintain grading records, to enter report card grades and maintain attendance records; created or developed by the teachers using Excel or a school’s grade book system, such as Power School, as well as check e-mails for school informational announcements and/or to respond when information is requested, as well as to communicate with parents. The internet provides many resources for teachers such as Teacher’s Corner.com which assists in creative lesson planning and EdHelper.com for the development of worksheets in all subject areas. I also use the Daily Journal Writing Prompts’ website which provides information on the anniversaries of historical events and asks a couple of questions for the students to respond to as morning work. When students respond to historical events while journaling, they are learning Social Studies as well as language arts. In addition, five paragraph writing prompts for informational, persuasive and narrative writing and graphic organizers, as well as rubrics, are also found on these sites. Starfall.com is an excellent website for beginning readers; where they can practice letter sounds, word families, as well as short stories. PBS.org/teachers have lesson plans and videos in all subjects. Moreover, Philly’s teachers use the internet to access information from the PA Department of Education website, to keep abreast of Act 48 credits, as well as to obtain PSSA testing materials and ultimate results.
State standards require students to perform research. Therefore, teachers should be planning lessons that incorporate the need for students to perform research on various subject matters. In addition, programs such as First-In-Math or Study Island assist students in sharpening their skills in Math and Reading concepts and/or advance skills; because students who are below basic can work on remedial skills while students who are advanced can work on higher level skills; which is one way teachers can differentiate instruction. A few computers where made available at one location where I worked for that purpose. Some school districts use Boci and Edu-test to assess students’ skills and assignments are given based on those results and/or lesson plans and worksheets are developed based on skill building needs as a class or individually; also, good for pre-assessment as well as post assessment testing.
Therefore, information technology has become an integral part of student learning and is an excellent resource for schools, teachers and students. It is unconcionable that more schools at more locations in Philadelphia are still without computers in the classroom for student use in the 21st Century.