Enticing Teachers with Technology

Dennis Haynie was accustomed to hearing pushback from teachers when his team introduced new software or technology tools. "As Director of Technology, I’ve found that it’s normal for teachers to be resistant, given how much they have on their plates and how much time it can take to learn a new tool,” he says.

Andrews Independent School District, located in southwest Texas, is home to 4400 students and 250 teachers. Schoology was implemented in 2014 to support online testing initiatives, primarily in middle and high school. Preventing cheating and having test results that can be trusted became a huge pain point for teachers, Haynie explains: “It was imperative that we found a tool that could totally and reliably secure the testing environment within the Schoology LMS. It also needed to be easy for them to learn and use, and instill faith that the test results were valid.”

Why LockDown Browser?

In 2015, Haynie and his team turned to LockDown Browser to address faculty concerns around online cheating. “The advent of online testing introduced new challenges. It wasn’t long before students were taking screenshots and sharing answers with each other. We were collecting lots of data thanks to the LMS, but we were skeptical of its validity since students were able to access external websites and chat applications while they were taking online exams. We knew they were able to cheat, and grade inflation became a real concern.”

The district also considered several free applications, but none compared to LockDown Browser’s ability to completely secure the testing environment, the system’s support of higher-level and AMP question types, and its seamless integration with the Schoology LMS.

Transforming teacher attitudes towards technology

“It’s no wonder teachers can sometimes feel frustrated or hesitant about taking on more things, especially if it’s technology that’s cumbersome or difficult to use,” he says. “However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that because LockDown Browser is easy to use and so effective at preventing online cheating. It did more than just build their confidence in online testing -- it encouraged teachers to be more open-minded and accepting of technology in general. 75% of our teachers in middle and high school now give online tests with LockDown Browser in Schoology.”

In addition to doing more online testing with LockDown Browser across the district, teachers are also taking advantage of StudyMate Campus. The application comes bundled with LockDown Browser for K-12 schools and districts, and makes it easy for teachers and students to create flash cards, self-assessments, and learning games from within the Schoology LMS. “Teachers are able to get started with StudyMate Campus quickly and the application requires virtually no support from a district standpoint. In the 2018/2019 school year, we’ve had more than 13,000 sessions alone, and we expect it to increase,” he says.

To learn more about how LockDown Browser and StudyMate Campus can support your school or district’s online assessment and learning initiatives, contact sales@respondus.com.