Age of information technologies has brought us numerous opportunities in very different areas. Business, military, education, science, and many other areas exploit IT for various reasons but with the same goal to improve current operations and to make the future ones more efficient. Implementation of IT in these areas is performed in different ways and for various purposes but the most effective IT should be in the educational facilities. In this case, “effective” means promising in terms of future use by growing children. The younger age potential users have more natural and efficient interactions with world of IT. Therefore, we are going to determine some problem related to IT within children’s school and discuss a possible solution.
The modern system of education is built on the same principles as fifty years ago: children attend classes, learn materials at home, and then teachers evaluate gained knowledge using tests and other tools of advancement control. There are changes that IT has brought to the educational process, for instance, increased interactivity of the process, the Internet and computers allowing children to find information in a more convenient and quicker way.
Evaluation of gained knowledge is usually performed utilizing tests. We all know the drill: children have questionnaires with several answers to choose from and a pencil to mark the right choice (Eduroute.info, 2010). The main measurement to follow is the number of correct answers. However, such tests cannot collect secondary data that can be used for additional evaluation of children in regards to the peculiarities of their development. In other words, computers and IT technologies can be used for collecting such data as speed of answering the questions, overall time used answering the question, ability to evaluate the complexity of questions and distribute text time appropriately, etc. (Eduroute.info, 2010).
Such statistical data can be used to find the strongest and weakest sides of each student regardingeducational process and distill particular problems. This, in turn, should help a teacher to develop personalized approach that can eliminate the problem or mitigate its consequences. The general problem in educational facilities for younger children is the inability to help all students to discover their potential and develop the abilities that can differ from the ones that other students have (Eduroute.info, 2010).
The solution for this problem is rather simple. It is necessary to provide children with computers or tablets (preferably, like iPads or similar) and grant access to the central school server via wireless network (Sagamore Publishing, 2008). Convenience of the tablets would provide students with feeling that this is a usual test; the speed of data processing would provide the interested parties (teachers, IT specialists at school) with very important statistical data. Moreover, in order to gather all these components to one system, a program solution is needed to be developed.
The project of such scale should involve the following personnel: teachers that can help programmers to understand the peculiarities of each science and the related tests; IT personnel of the school to be able to assure the interoperability of the entire system; chief executives of the school that should be aware of the new technologies implemented in the school; etc. Basically, only the process of the software solution design should include these employees on the regular basis. The next stages such as programming and technical solution might need their involvement only in case of necessity (Sagamore Publishing, 2008).
Thus, according to the program development cycle, the above-mentioned people would be involved into the following stages: mission – in order to clarify and understand in full the main goal of the project; strategic directions – so the interested parties would be able to come to the common background regarding further activities, areas, and events; participant input – in order to determine target programs for projecct’s development; and program design (Sagamore Publishing, 2008).
In addition, teachers and IT school specialists would be also involved into the evaluation and disposition/decision stages in order to test and evaluate the outcomes that software solution is able to provide. If necessary, it should be changed by implementing their advices and suggestions. Implementation process involves programmers and network specialists only.
The approach to the development process should include one important detail: modularity of the solution (Sun Microsystems, 2007). The thing is that this software solution should be universal for the entire educational process. Therefore, it should be convenient to be used by students of any age. In addition, the solution should be understandable for teachers in terms of creating new tests and other tools of advancement control.
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We can exemplify the situation as follows: the teacher of geography creates a set of questions and uploads it to the software that is stored on the main server. Students have limited time to log in to their accounts, find the appropriate section, and complete the test. The server in real time creates appropriate charts and indicates the most common issues with the questions that cause the most significant delay with answers (Sun Microsystems, 2007). Teacher makes the conclusion that either it is a gap in the learning process or questions are unclear. So it is possible to modify the questions and additionally emphasize the attention on the possible issues with educational program.
Students can also have the statistics of their answers in order to see how successfully they can handle the situation with tests. School executives can monitor the process of testing and evaluate the efforts of teachers, grading the results. Therefore, each group of software users has its own module that provides only limited set of features. Such approach can eliminate the possibility of altering the results and should improve the overall education process.