Last year, science teacher Kevin Glass stopped giving his students physical tests. As Glass explained, every exam that he gives, including the midterm and the final, is done through Blackboard. Glass is just one of the many teachers that have begun using Blackboard more extensively.
According to tech department member Ken Wood, approximately 75% of teachers use Blackboard, though not every department uses it equally.”Different departments are trying to do different things,” Wood said. “Probably the science department uses it to its fullest capabilities.”
Glass is one of those in the science department who uses Blackboard to its fullest- as far as he knows, he uses it more than anybody.”I don’t know of anyone else who uses it as a primary assessment tool,” Glass said.
Glass feels that Blackboard aids his ability to teach to his students; the scoring of tests on Blackboard gives him “much more data” than he would be able to get otherwise.”It allows me to see, even on homework assignments, what percentage of the kids are missing a certain question and that allows me to go back in class and review that,” Glass said. “You get a general sense of that with pencil and paper, but with Blackboard you get data.”
However, Glass has experienced problems with Blackboard.”There’s a security issue- if a kid completes a homework assignment and wants to give it to another kid, it’s just a matter of copy and paste,” Glass said. “But the major disadvantage is that students find it difficult to complete online work because of distractions.”
Beyond these issues, Glass hasn’t experienced any problems with Blackboard.
However, some teachers still feel as if there are superior ways to use technology in the classroom.”I tried Blackboard and my students didn’t like it,” said Social Studies teacher Carol Avery. “They click on my webpage, everything is there.”
Avery is one of the many teachers who uses a personalized webpage to display homework assignments instead of Blackboard. Wood noted that both the Social Studies department and the World Language department use Blackboard to link to these personal sites.
“It’s just so much easier,” Avery said. “I asked my students if they wanted me to go to Blackboard and they said no, that they like the website. I’ve had no complaints from parents.”