GAINESVILLE, Texas –– Math teacher William Hale admits it: he was wrong about technology in the classroom. At first, he wasn’t thrilled about the idea of using Web-based courses in the Gainesville Independent School District’s summer school. But all that’s changed.
Now, Hale is championing district efforts to implement EdOptions’ Web-based Novel™ courses in the traditional classroom. A library of 39 Web-based courses available from anywhere with an Internet connection, Novel engaged even Hale’s most uninterested learners.
“The way Novel is set up, after the initial assessment I can tell specifically what the student needs to work on,” said Hale, who teaches at Gainesville High School. “As a teacher, you always want to keep the kids active and interested in the information…Novel breaks up the monotony in the classroom setting.”
“We had one girl who didn’t want to be (in summer school) and would sleep in front of the computer,” Hale said. “Our assistant principal sat her down, and as soon as she started buckling down on her Novel courses, she started asking if she could (take Novel) on the weekends.”
Novel is individual teaching: fitting the courses specifically to the needs of the student.
In one month, the girl described as “normally doing just the minimum to get by,” had recovered credit for both her English and chemistry courses.
“Once she got motivated, she used Novel outside of class and did well…It was a 180-degree turnaround for her,” Hale said.
Nearly 50 others students who attended the summer school also found success. Most students were able to complete two Novel courses during the four-week program.
The teachers benefited too.
Hale said he and other educators especially liked Novel because the Web-based program alleviated much of their grading and administrative burden, allowing them to focus on their students.
“There’s so much that teachers are responsible for nowadays,” Hale said. “You’re hard-pressed to get one-on-one instruction time with students.”
Because of Novel’s positive impact at the school, Hale wants to bring the Web-based courses into his classroom, too.
“Novel is individual teaching: fitting the (courses) specifically to the needs of the student,” Hale said. “It’s reflective of what today’s society needs, and it’s being reflected more in education every day.”