The Coming of the Technocrats…!

That robot is exultant, for finally gaining some real estate in the Edu-Mountain.

That robot is exultant, for finally gaining some real estate in the Edu-Mountain.

Today is the day where I get to distribute fancy new Chrome Book Laptops to my students, for the express purpose of giving them a “mock” standardized test, using the “Learning Management System” called Schoology. I can’t help but remember the Edumentals fiasco at my old school, where a system that promised many of the same features, but could not deliver, was implemented.

Last week, my co-teacher and I gave this system its “dry run.” The program itself hasn’t proven to be all that problematic as of yet, but we will see how I feel after this week, while I use the electronic grading system and gradebook. I’ll have all week to futz with it, because after today, my students will be using the same machines to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium Interim Assessment. Despite the lack of many of the kinds of technical problems that I imagined, there were a few that were significant. One of them, in fact, was directly related to the Assessment Consortium Exam, and my co-teacher is the one who lost her temper over it.

Right? You’d think I’d be the one to lose my temper.

In order to sign into the Chrome Books in the first place, you need an LAUSD student e-mail address and single sign on. It’s the same sign on that let’s you take the SBAC test. We took every student to the library, months ago, to set up the e-mail and single sign on, because in the computer driven world of modern education and testing, it was a thing that students just plain needed.

For much of last week, students were embroiled in the “lost password” or “I don’t have an e-mail address” game. Honestly…I didn’t care too much. I looked at it from the perspective that I took them to get the sign on, and then not long after, the school wanted me to use this digital system. I thought it through as pretty much the same as if a student loses their notebook— they need to get a new one, and catch up on the work. If they don’t, and thusly can’t submit any of my work…that’s on them.

My co-teacher, however, was a lot less cavalier about it. She lost her temper, very much explaining to the students that it was a matter of simple personal responsibility. I followed up with how she was right, and actually was expressing more care an concern than me, by far, for their success. I found it sobering, though, when I thought it through…that student gambit to avoid work would have pretty much damaged the SBAC scores of half of my students if allowed to continue, not to mention their grades in class.

Still…that’s why the Tyrant Robot bursting from the floor of my Edu-Dungeon is so happy. After years of trying to break into my classroom, one of them has finally got the vital, day to day inroad. Hopefully, like some Doombots, this mechanical terror can be tamed and harnessed for good.

As it is, pretty much this week will be turned over to attempting to give the Assessment Consortium Exam, complete with make-up tests…so it seems like the Tyrant Robot working for Standardized Test has the upper hand right now.


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