Saturday, April 23, 2016

Time IS on Their Side! Important #edtech device

I have come to an awkward realization. My love of educational technology needs to include a watch at the top of the list. Why? Simply, because students do not see the value in a watch and most do not own one. They use cell phones, instead. But, a watch may be the most important item they put on during practice and testing days.

Two years ago, I offered extra credit to students who would wear a watch for a practice Timed AP test.  This year, the students who don't wear watches simply snicker. But, they are also the students with lower ACT and AP scores. I, too, use a smartphone. I tend to wear a watch for cosmetic reasons.
But, when attempting to stay on time during a test, I need to use my watch.

Last year, universities in several countries began banning all types of watches during entrance exams. And, yet, it is not the time to abandon our watches.  I was taught not to rely on a clock, but to use my watch to ensure that I was using my time wisely. Yes, I understand that many tests are now online. A timer starts when the test begins and stops the test when time is over. But, I still insist that teaching students to use their time wisely is a critical test prep skill. It is all too easy to spend more time on one passage or question than needed.  As Mick Jagger sang, "Time is on my side, yes it is." Time can also be on our students' side if they are taught the value of a watch for testing purposes.

Why do schools not provide watches to students? A watch can easily be purchased for $20 or less. Schools tend to purchase $200 calculators instead.  For Tiger parents desiring the latest in Testing Technology, for less than $40, there is an ACT/SAT Testing Timer can help students practice and test with confidence.

 "Knowing exactly how to pace yourself throughout the test is crucial, and using the watch is the easiest way to do that. My students stay calm knowing that they are on track.(...)To me, that says it all.”
-Linda Larson, Director and Tutor, SAT Prep Sandpoint

 Of course, I continue to use and recommend a wide variety of software, hardware, and apps that can help my students. They particularly enjoy apps that can be utilized on their phone. If it is on their phone, they are more likely to practice, study, and remember than if low tech versions are shared.

It is only a matter of time before all phones are banned in testing rooms. It is difficult to tell the difference between a watch and a smart watch. But, in the meantime, I will advocate for my students to purchase an inexpensive watch for test prep and testing situations.

Suzanne M. Rogers, M.Ed