Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 1, 2012

Digital technology good for education


— Things have changed in education and today has been set aside to encourage educators to embrace those changes.

It may sound esoteric, but today is Digital Learning Day in the United States. The event is being sponsored by the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington, DC group interested in education policy and advocacy for the lowest-achieving students. We are not sure what the group’s politics or agenda is, but this promotion of digital learning is a great idea.

To highlight the move away from the traditional books, blackboards and printed handouts in classrooms that is occurring at light speed, the alliance has created this day of advocacy. The Indiana Department of Education has embraced the day and morphed it into it’s own “29-Day Web 2.0 Challenge.” The goal of the IDE is to provide examples from teachers and school districts how they are using digital technology to teach. So far the IDE has created a blog spot, a web page and a YouTube channel for teachers to interact.

Already on the YouTube channel are entertaining videos about technology in the Evansville Vandenburg Community Schools and the Danville Community Schools. There certainly is plenty of room to add videos from around the state and we urge local educators to share their stories on YouTube and through the website and blog spot. Links for all can be found on the Indiana Department of Education website.

Local school districts, including Goshen’s district, have been moving toward digital education for some time. This past year Goshen freshmen for the first time were provided with laptop computers. Those computers give students access to a vast amount of information they never had when they were tied only to textbooks and computers in the school’s library and computer labs. Students can now sit at their desks and conduct research from sources around the world. They can also obtain online instruction in, say, physics or calculus, when they are at home. There is no longer a need to rely on older siblings, friends and mom and dad to help with complex math and science problems that may be well beyond the family’s knowledge.

But there is still much more that can be achieved in education by expanding the use of digital technology. Laptops are fading as a popular device and the smaller tablets and the handy smartphones are becoming the standard for trading information among young people. School boards around Indiana should quickly embrace this networking and put it to good use in allowing their teachers to interact with other educators and allowing their students to interact with knowledge centers, their teachers and resources.

We see this rise of digital technology as a chance to shape education for each student’s need, thus creating more personalized instruction and helping each student achieve to the maximum of their ability.

We urge teachers, school board members and community members to log on to the IDE website and follow Digital Learning Day and then revisit the website to learn even more each day this month.