What a pleasure it was to see so many of you at our Back to School nights. While that forum did not offer many opportunities to interact with you individually, we are scheduling meet-and-greets with me in the next few weeks, which should allow for a good exchange of ideas.
I want to expand a bit on one of the three initiatives I mentioned at Back to School nights. In a recent survey, 80% of our teachers agreed that students were more motivated when a lesson included the use of technology. When technology is used as a tool to support students in performing authentic tasks, they are in a better position to define their goals, make design decisions and evaluate their progress. Accomplishments achieved through the use of technology often give students who have difficulty with the traditional teacher-led lessons a real opportunity to shine. Technology-integrated lessons promote collaboration and peer tutoring. Studies indicate that technology-infused lessons can improve retention rates, even among young children. Technology permits more individualization of learning and allows learners to move at their pace. There is a host of other positive contributions that technology brings to the classroom. But it is not the answer to all of the challenges we face as educators and cannot substitute for poor teaching. The last things students need is an expensive paperweight.
As we move toward a more robust use of technology in the classroom, it is useful to imagine the conversation around the introduction of another revolutionary technology: the written word. Written language allowed humans to capture and store knowledge and to disseminate that knowledge beyond the natural boundaries of time and space. Soon, no one questioned the need to use that technology to teach students to read and write. Today it is just as unthinkable to deprive our students’ access to desktops, laptops, and tablets with the same reasoning we apply to the importance of reading and writing.
Writing and computers are both gifts from God. We have the power to decide how to use those technologies for his glory and in service to others. May God grant our administrators, teachers, and students the wisdom to make wise choices.