Beyond the Basics

1.  What case can you make for keeping software tools such as test generators and worksheet generators in the classroom?

– Even though test generators can be viewed as “a way out” often times these questions are more advanced than those provided by the textbook. Time plays a large role in accomplishing things. With an advanced test generator, the teacher can save themselves hours by not having to hand write, then type, and copy tests to distribute. By saving time on creating tests the teacher now has more time to focus on the lesson itself.

2. What are the main points raised by critics about online and on-computer testing systems? How would you address them?

– Critics say that there is a large score difference in online versus pencil and paper tests.  In paper tests the writer is able to underline, cross out, and work out word or mathematical problems whereas this is not available online. On paper tests it is also much easier to skip problems or go back to look at a previous one, where online only one problem at a time can be viewed. A large problem with online testing is the truth in who is actually taking that test behind the computer screen. Students living in or slightly above the poverty line are unlikely to own or have access to a computer.

These problems can be resolved by making it a requirement that if the tests are going to be continuous (such as this course) that the student is required to show up with the others at a specific location once a month to take an exam in person (with ID of course). Access to a public library or community center with computers can be a way for under-privileged students to reach a computer. With online tests I believe there is less bias. Often times on a pencil test the scorer may have a hard time reading the writing which may make them give up altogether on trying to read what the test taker has written. When a scorer sees bad handwriting it creates an automatic bias.

 

3. What is a proper role for language translators in foreign language learning?

– Since a computer can only do basic commands and tasks, it only knows the basics of a language. The best and most useful way a translator can be used to learn a language is learning the basics. Take the language that you do know and try to compare. The use of online dictionaries are also a great way to aid in learning.

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