Carter in the classroom

Teachers Defend Technology Use in Classroom; Calling it the Way Forward From the Pandemic

Education Reporter Wayne Carter begins series looking at improving student performance post pandemic

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Behind all the anger, fear and frustration through the pandemic, behind all the changes in rules, and procedures, stood the teachers.

Teachers left trying to focus on the learning during the pandemic while others argued about everything else.

 "Last year I had 163 students in my class, on my roll, roster," said Seneca Denman, a teacher at Boude Storey Middle School. "I had 65 -70 kids showing up every day, that's a lot of kids not coming to school."

Denman said she kept hearing debates that remote learning wasn't working. She laughed saying the problem wasn't the instruction, it was behavior.

"When it came to be participating, (students would say) 'I’m not in the classroom, you can't make me, I’m at home.' 

Denman said the ones who actually participated, learned and did very well. The technology made learning improve.

"I can tell you amazing stories about how my kindergarten students progressed in their technology skills," said Jose Armendariz, a teacher at John J. Pershing Elementary. He found several new methods to teach that he says had an immediate impact on how his students retained information.

The educators we spoke to overwhelmingly say going back to how they taught pre-pandemic would be a mistake.

"I absolutely think this is the best opportunity to rethink education," said Michael Hinojosa, Superintendent, Dallas ISD. "I think this is our best chance ever to transform what education can be."

Rethink it? 

Educators across the country point to the school model going unchanged for so many students for years. Students are learning the same way their great grandparents did with a few tweaks along the way. Could it be time for a drastic change? Many people say yes, but how? You'll hear everything from technology to job training, business partnerships to stronger teachers.

"If you ask educators how to solve this problem, they will tell you what works. They will tell you that deep intensive tutoring, extended learning opportunities, community schools," said Kim Anderson, Executive Director, of the National Education Agency.

Seneca Denman told us no matter what the big decision-makers say, she knows where her head will be.

"I will never go back to teaching the way I do before the pandemic. I’ve learned some things," she said. The technology pieces are going to be there, it’s not going away. It’s just opened up a whole new world."

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