Tech helps students adopt good study habits

While yesterday’s topic was about the hazards of cyberspace, below is an example that shows how technology can benefit students. Purdue University has launched a computer program called Signals for their 11,000 undergraduates that, unlike other academic warning systems, warns students when their grades are slipping before midterms roll around. Additionally, higher performing students receive positive messages when they are doing well. The results? Many of Purdue’s undergraduates are crediting Signals with keeping them on track academically, as well as helping them feel less intimidated to seek out help from their professors and campus tutoring center, and other campuses are contacting Purdue’s IT department to find out how they might be able to implement the same or something similar on their campus networks.

One of the most widely used mediums for Signals and programs like it is a Washington, D.C. based software company called Blackboard. In K-12, Blackboard operates in more than 2,200 schools where teachers primarily use it for listing homework assignments, announcements, interactive lessons and for discussion boards. According to James Kulik, who studies effectiveness of computers used for instruction, “students usually learn more in less time when receiving computer-based instruction, and they like classes more and develop more positive attitudes toward computers in computer-based classes.” Howard Gardner, Professor of Harvard University and author of Frames of Mind (New York: Basic Books, 1983) from Multimedia Book ITTE and pioneer in the field of multiple intelligences, wrote that:

“Multi-media can go along way to addressing these intelligences, much more than traditional teaching methods.”

As educators weigh technology’s impact on learning, perhaps schools should focus on the most obvious and compelling reason for implementing technology-namely, that students need strong technology skills to succeed in the world of work. Helping students interact with information technologies will be central in schools preparing K-12 students for full participation in 21st century society.

  • How can technology enhance student achievement?
  • What does the evolution of new media mean for pre-college educators?
  • How can we best help students filter and synthesize a plethora of incoming information?
  • What needs to happen in high school to get students ready for the more sophisticated demands and opportunities of using technology in college, career and life?

by Dennis Carter, Assistant Editor

Purdue University is using educational technology–and online “signals”–to warn some students that their grades are dropping, offer study-habit suggestions, and provide positive reinforcement to students who are acing quizzes and exams.

When students log into their Blackboard course management accounts this fall, they’ll see frequently updated feedback indicators similar to traffic lights indicating their standing in each class.

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