Computer program replacing traditional instruction due to budget cuts
BY ALEX DAVIS
Computers are replacing traditional foreign-language classroom instruction in some New Jersey elementary schools.
Due to an $820 million reduction in state funding, some school districts have turned to computer language-learning software, Rosetta Stone.
It's a question of whether an instructor should be teaching, or students should be learning by using a computer.
According to NJ.com, Rosetta Stone gives students more time to learn another language. In this case, Spanish.
Touted as the No. 1 computer program of its kind on the Rosetta Stone Web site, the software "uses rich visual imagery to help students learn and think in a new language."
And it has amounted (and will likely amount) to thousands in cost savings for the following schools:
- Ridgewood saved just under $200,000 by ridding of three teaching positions.
- Manalapan-Englishtown Regional is expected to save about $140,000 by ridding of five teaching positions.
- Randolph is due to save about $90,000 by using the program.
"People are very sad to see our teachers lose their jobs. But because there was such a limited amount of time children were spending learning Spanish, their acquisition of the language was not strong," said Manalapan-Englishtown School District Assistant Superintendent Joanne Monroe, according to NJ.com.
But Steve Ackley of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages told NJ.com software should not replace teacher instruction.
Ridgewood Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Fishbein agreed and disagreed.
"Having a (world language) teacher in the classroom is always the best," he told NJ.com. "But in these times, we need to look to other ways to deliver what we do."