As we transition to the classroom of the future that leverages more and more technology and devices to facilitate the learning process, education professionals face a unique challenge in integrating technology into daily classroom curriculum. Without creating a robust new curriculum to ensure student achievement doesn’t drop with the addition of new devices, we cannot guarantee that implementing classroom technologies will be a slam dunk for improving student engagement and achievement.
Simply equipping classrooms with tablets and mobile learning tools does not ensure student success. Education leaders and policymakers must focus on investing on infrastructure and professional training for teachers and administrators to grow technology in education.
That was one of the major themes education technology experts, lobbyists and policy makers repeated at a Monday roundtable discussion, organized by Internet Innovation Alliance, and which focused on how private and public sectors can work together to improve digital learning in the nation’s classrooms.
Montgomery County schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr was the keynote speaker at the event in downtown Washington.
Starr said school leaders adapting to new technology should not just think about what devices and gadgets to buy. Educators must focus on physical classroom spaces, teacher training and curriculum design to ensure that learning decides what technology goes into classrooms and not the other way around.
“Learning isn’t being democratized, information is, and that is the huge shift in public education right now,” Starr said
By the start of the coming school year, every school in Montgomery County is expected to be fully outfitted with wireless access, Starr said.
Starr said the E-Rate program is one of the most important federal programs available to help schools improve Internet access and increase technology in schools. The E-Rate program was set up in 1997 and provides billions in federal funds to schools and libraries each year.