Technology is no longer a class, or a skill, but an embedded tool for education that students must learn in order to have the foundational skills necessary to make their way in the world after graduation. As leading educators have noted, “[t]he conversation has shifted from whether technology should be used in learning to how it can improve learning to ensure that all students have access to high-quality educational experiences.”1
In the Warwick Public School District we are working toward a vision of the technological classroom that is student-centered and focused on blended and personalized learning. The technology we use to attain those goals must be user-friendly, durable, and applicable for all subjects. Our teachers are instrumental in this classroom design. In our Junior Highs we have given all students Chromebooks and equipped nearly every classroom with an interactive flat panel display, in order to find the best classroom uses for our tools across a wide spectrum of subjects. As we solve that puzzle we also model for our student show to learn with technology, since the problem is now too much information and how to filter out what is relevant. But as the U.S. Department of Education said, “The focus on providing Internet access and devices for learners should not overshadow the importance of preparing teachers to teach effectively with technology and to select engaging and relevant digital learning content.”2
The educational technology landscape is rapidly changing, and our department works very hard to keep up with the latest development and keep our classrooms ready for the future.
The “high-quality educational experiences” we aim to provide are made possible with technology, but the devices are not the focus – the students’ learning is. We must always ask ourselves how these tools enhance collaboration, creation, and communication, and encourage our students and teachers to focus on the learning outcomes.
1American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, and National School Boards Association. Leading the digital leap. Retrieved from http://leaddigitalleap.org.
2U.S. Office of Educational Technology, 2017 National Education Technology Plan Update, p.8.
Assistant Coordinator of Operational Systems and Application Support
Coordinator of Student Information and Instructional Systems
401-734-3049 Ext. 212