Remember having to smash together chalk erasers when you got in trouble during class? It seems like an old punishment, but in fact some schools have been unable to adopt newer technologies, like white boards (or even more advanced: smart boards) in their classrooms. Despite how many times you personally had to clean the erasers, and how you may be fond of the taste of chalk dust, chalkboards (and thus their erasers) should be a thing of the past.
In a recent report, the Alliance for Excellent Education agrees, addressing four challenges that school leaders need to complete in order to give their students an advantage in the modern world and begin utilizing new digital learning and education technologies.
THE FOUR CHALLENGES SCHOOLS MUST CONQUER IN ORDER TO ADAPT TO NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Challenge 1 Preparedness:
Schools must change to provide students with more hands-on, experiential, project-based and within their interests. This will help students create content, analyze information and have a deeper knowledge of complex topics.
Challenge 2 Training and supporting teachers:
The Alliance encourages a transition from a teacher-centric culture to learner-focused instruction. This will combat the uneven and inequitably distributed access to teachers.
Challenge 3 Manage Shrinking Budgets:
It’s no secret that schools have less money these days to do the same job. This makes it hard to adapt to new technologies. Streamlining expenses, offering online professional development, elevating media specialists as instructional leaders and analyzing budget expenses are a few things that the report recommends doing to help with this problem.
Challenge 4 Wider Access:
Schools need to address the growing technological needs of society and individual students. Especially minority and low-income students who are the highest risk of being left behind.
But we shouldn’t go into buying technologies blindly, “If you’re a school or district leader who is considering using education technology and digital learning in your schools, STOP — and go no further — until you have a comprehensive plan that addresses your district’s specific challenges and learning goals for all students,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Whatever stage a district is in, there is real value in taking a self-assessment to make sure your district’s technology strategies meet its educational needs, including changing curriculum and instruction.”
No school district can just integrate technology without having a clear plan on its implementation. Technology is constantly changing and our education system can benefit from it. We just need to think of a way of to make learning exciting, like never before (also known as “save your chalk sticks for drawing hopscotch courts at recess!”).