4 Big Challenges with Middle School Technology Curriculum Blog Feature
Sarah Layton

By: Sarah Layton on March 1st, 2016

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4 Big Challenges with Middle School Technology Curriculum

Computer Applications | technology curriculum

What's your biggest challenge with middle school technology curriculum? This niche has quite a few. We know this to be true from talking to so many teachers throughout the school year and beyond. If you are responsible for middle school technology curriculum, then you know what we're talking about. Let's take a look at some of these challenges and some possible solutions.

4 Big Challenges for Middle School Technology Teachers

Challenge #1: No Time for Middle School Technology Lesson Plans

Tick, tock. It never stops! Middle school technology teachers can teach up to 6 or 7 classes per day! This obviously leaves little time for planning middle school technology curriculum. Compare that to a high school teacher or a CTE instructor in the CTC building who may only have 3 to 5 classes and more time to prep (still crazy, but slightly more manageable).

Teachers tell us they need to spend too much time on “classroom” activities including lecturing, grading, and reporting. With all of those tasks, it leaves too little time for individual skill development.

Challenge #2: Student Engagement with Middle School Computer Curriculum

Even if you had all the time in the world to create the most amazing lessons and activities, you'd still have some major hurdles if your middle school computer curriculum isn't catching your students' interests and attention. Without student engagement, very little real learning can be accomplished.

We've consistently found that the number one way to create an engaged environment is through blended learning techniques. As our president, Jim Schultz, says, "Too many text-based assignments makes Jack a very bored student." And you could really replace "text-based assignments" with any teaching technique and Jack would still be a very bored student. Because the problem doesn't necessarily lie with the technique...it lies with too much of any one thing for too long.

Here's what Ken Richard, our Development Manger has to say about this topic:

 

 

The answer is to mix things up. Lecture? Yes! Online curriculum? Yes! Textbooks and worksheets? Yes! Group projects and discussion? Yes!

Of course the additional challenge of keeping students engaged with blended learning is that orchestrating that combination of all those techniques can take a lot of time (see Challenge #1!).

Challenge #3: Middle School Technology Class Management

Let's say you've managed to get your middle school technology curriculum squared away...it's completed and ready to go and it's engaging and interesting to students. It's time to sit back, prop your feet on your desk, and let your classes roll along--said no teacher ever.

Another big challenge involves managing the classroom as students go through your amazing middle school technology curriculum. Because there are going to be absent students, changing standards, updated tools, IEPs, and a wide range of student learning abilities.

While every one of those things is important, they can distract teachers in the classroom, further reducing the amount of time they have to spend directly with students. (Again, see Challenge #1!)

Challenge #4: Modern Middle School Computer Curriculum Resources

Finally, there are those teachers that say, "forget about all those other issues...I don't even have reliable middle school technology curriculum resources!!"

Try teaching modern, ever-changing technology with a dusty old textbook...it's just not productive. Do you want your surgeon to use a rusty scalpel?

And "on-premise software"? That must be installed, maintained, and updated by school IT departments (want to talk about a group that's more over-loaded than teachers?!). Good luck getting to the top of their priority list. Schools face technical and resource problems related to loading, running, maintaining, and updating software that is loaded on student computers or a local server. The idea of teaching middle school technology curriculum with poor technology is ironic...in a bad way.

Technology Programs for Middle School Students

middle school technology curriculumI promise I didn't bring you this far just to give voice to your challenges without offering up some sort of solution to ease these challenges.

There are systems out there that you can incorporate into your daily teaching life to help alleviate some of these challenges. What you need is a system that saves you time by helping you get more done and in a smarter way.

Business&ITCenter21 is one such system. It provides engaging online curriculum that students can access easily from the classroom or anywhere that they have Internet access. This middle school technology curriculum allows for some independent learning, which also contributes significantly to student engagement as students that can move more quickly through the curriculum can do so without getting bored. At the same time, students that need to take things a little slower don't get lost and frustrated.

Perhaps the greatest feature of a system like Business&ITCenter21 is automatic grading! The system automatically assess student quizzes, tests, and customized exams. And that's not the only time-saving feature. There are ready-made lesson plans, student worksheets, teacher PowerPoint presentations, and more.

Okay I said that was the greatest, but there's another greatest...that it's digital format and Internet delivery allow for ongoing updates to curriculum and features that get pushed out to you automatically. No installing, no downloading, no updating.

Business&ITCenter21 can be a starting point for creating a blended learning environment. Just interspersing some online time along with the other things you are already doing in your classroom gets your middle school technology curriculum more "blended" than it was without it.

What Teachers Are Saying about our Middle School Technology Curriculum

I could go on and on about how Business&ITCenter21 goes about addressing those 4 big challenges with middle school technology curriculum. But it's probably better for you to see what actual teachers have said.

"I have to say that Business&ITCenter21 helped me solve the issue of providing current technology lessons. I no longer have to worry about updating my outdated lessons. There are NO textbooks that can keep up with advancing technology. AES continuously updates lessons so that my students can have relevant instruction. Whew! That's a relief!"

"I signed up for the technology lessons. I teach computers with zero books or curriculum. I'm kinda making it up as I go along and I'm hoping this will help me."

"Reasons why I signed up for the trial: 1. I want to make certain that this program is a good fit for my students. I have been using another online program which is not as user-friendly as I had hoped. 2. So far, I think the lessons are short, precise and well done. I teach Business and Computer Science to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. I see lessons that can be done with each of these grade levels. I am excited to show this to my principal this week. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to try it before I buy it. Will the program be updated as new versions of software become available? I am already receiving messages to update my personal MS Office to the 2016 version. We use 2013 at school."

"I was looking for a way to engage my students. My textbook is pretty 'dry and boring.' I thought this might be a better way to hold their attention. The time saving components for me is also a huge plus."

Current middle school technology curriculum? Check! Updated Microsoft Office curriculum? Check! Age appropriate lessons? Check! Fun activities? Check! Time saving components for the teacher? Check!

Challenges are gonna challenge, but there are solutions out there that can help you overcome them, or at least bring them to a manageable level that gives you powerful resources that help students learn AND save you time, allowing you to focus on your kids.

Business&ITCenter21 Free Trial Sign Up

 

 

About Sarah Layton

Sarah has been with AES since 1998, first serving as a curriculum developer, and now as a customer support analyst and content creator. She is committed to helping instructors gain experience and confidence using our solutions and to providing excellent customer care.