As educators, our job is to properly equip each student with the resources they need to succeed both in the classroom and in life. The past year, dealing with COVID-19 and, as a result, online learning, has made parents and teachers aware that limited access to technology in a classroom setting is no longer beneficial to molding and preparing young minds for post-secondary life.
Whether a student chooses to pursue college, career or trade, they will come into contact with a range of technology and be expected to use and understand these models without much instruction.
Additionally, the pandemic revealed significant gaps in technological equity among students. By making sure each student has equitable access to technology, we can ensure all students have the ability to learn and grow through assignments.
At Woodhaven-Brownstown School District (WBSD), we’ve provided every student with a Chromebook or iPad, as well as hot spots for in-need families to access assignments and instruction from home.
Schools across the state and country, including WBSD, are introducing one-to-one technology to expand beyond basic technology classes and online learning games. Each student is given a device, such as a computer or tablet, to supplement their classroom learning. The goal is to foster critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication, while providing an extension to learning and classroom instruction.
Subjects like math and science have a relatively universal curriculum and accepted methodologies for teaching. One-to-one technology offers teachers a new tool for evaluating a student’s progress so they can implement challenges and adjust assignments accordingly. Students can access teacher feedback through grade portals.
While it may seem counterintuitive, technology has been proven to inspire collaboration, which in turn leads to more active and engaged participation from students. A lesson might evolve from a lecture to a fun, interactive activity. Students learn by collaborating with peers, creating their own projects, conducting research and sharing their discoveries.
While technology certainly provides additional growth opportunities for our students, a common and justified concern among parents and teachers with students spending increased time working on connected devices is internet safety.
While educators agree that the pros outweigh the cons, we must remain vigilant about maintaining and teaching safety to our students. Most schools enable online monitoring systems, which are closely watched to filter out inappropriate sites and register incidents of cyberbullying, threats of self-harm and other hazards. Parents have the capability to further control what their students can access through a smartphone app.
Education changes and evolves over time. We are pleased to share these technological improvements with our students and to continue prioritizing an education that will prepare them well for lifelong success.