Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Using Tech to Prepare for ACT/SAT

I've spent a lot of time over the last few years finding tech tools for students who are preparing to study for the ACT/SAT. Tools like Free Rice for English vocabulary and Khan Academy for math problems provide different takes on what it means to study for these high-stakes tests. Every paper-based study guide will also come with test prep software, and students, who often hate to read, are becoming more and more dependent on these software solutions.

Today I had my students take a practice ACT test in class. While they were working, I sat down with a few of them and actually went over some of the problems. Most of the time, I just throw tech tools at students and expect them to learn while using them. I really think that the impact that my 1-on-1 teaching had was way greater than the impact of the tech tools that I usually prescribe.

I think that there is a disconnect between students and test prep software and tech tools. The tools that just drill students over and over again might have their uses, but for many students, they are going to need intervention from humans when starting to study. I think that this is a situation where educators, like myself, need to stop preaching about tools, and instead, involve ourselves more directly with preparing our students for standardized tests.

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