Written by incoming Maury County Public Schools Chief Digital Learning Officer John Carver
By now you’ve likely heard the news coverage, but let this serve as a reminder: Maury County’s schools are becoming pioneers in the area of education technology. This is in support of the MCPS Keys to College and Career Readiness and the district’s commitment to “unlocking potential for all students.”
This year, the district is implementing DIPLOMA, a program that will eventually place a digital device in the hands of every student and teacher. It’s a movement called 1:1 – one device per person. The goal is for MCPS to become the premier 1:1 district in the state.
When I begin my tenure with MCPS on July 1, I’ll be overseeing our digital integration efforts. In the meantime, I’m excited to be speaking alongside a distinguished group of panelists at Wiring the Classroom, a major education event on April 25 at Columbia State Community College I hope you’ll attend. To learn more, visit WiringTheClassroom.com.
At that event, we’ll be discussing the powerful impact technology in the classroom has on the learning experience. As a preview, here are seven ways technology is changing how our students learn:
- Technology enriches the learning experience by making it more interactive and dynamic
Where textbooks are dry, computers and tablets are dynamic. A digital device connected to the internet via broadband no longer limits student learning to his or her zip code. Technology allows learners to connect, collaborate and create globally, enabling students to experience what they’re learning. That’s why MCPS is moving from textbooks to project-based learning, using technology to fuel collaboration.
- Using devices for their studies increases students’ technological literacy, preparing them to compete and contribute locally and globally
Technology has already transformed nearly every profession. Why should education be any different? When MCPS students graduate, they’ll have 21st century skills to succeed in college and careers. Their success, coupled with new thinking, will birth an entrepreneurial spirit with the potential to create new careers and address today’s challenges.
- One-to-one technology programs remove financial barriers to learning and places students on a level playing field
Many students already have access to technology in the home; unfortunately, many do not. And those who lack technology are in danger of falling behind their peers. DIPLOMA will provide a device to every student, without regard to his or her socioeconomic background. A digital device in the hands of a learner connected to the internet via broadband levels the playing field. It will give all students an equal chance to succeed.
- The DIPLOMA program rallies Maury County businesses in support of education
In Maury County, technology in the classroom builds bridges between companies and the world of work, creating a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math)-ready work force. As part of the DIPLOMA program, MCPS is inviting businesses to partner with schools to give students places to study. Operate a coffee shop, restaurant or small business? We’re inviting you to let students drop by and use your Wi-Fi for quiet study without asking them to purchase a product or use your service. In exchange, you’ll build bonds with those students – and they’ll likely buy something anyway.
- Technology in the classroom improves retention and graduation rates
Studies show that students who use devices for learning have higher achievement rates than those who do not. Embedding technology into instruction allows teachers to personalize learning for students. By providing technology to connect every student, every classroom and every school, we’re giving our young people the competitive edge they need to compete globally.
- Learning technology links students and teachers to make education more efficient and interactive
Technology doesn’t just help students; it also helps educators. DIPLOMA will enable teachers to track how students are doing in real time and interact with them more effectively. It will make them more responsive to student needs and give them more resources in the classroom.
- Parents can use technology to better assist their students and track their progress
Even parents can get in on the act! Technology allows them to check students’ grades and help them with their studies in a more interactive manner. Just as devices engage students and teachers, they also empower parents, who are the most important resources in a student’s learning experience.
Maury County’s shift from textbooks to technology is transformational. To learn more about these seven major areas of impact, I strongly encourage you to attend Wiring the Classroom on April 25. Again, you can RSVP at WiringTheClassroom.com. I look forward to seeing you there!