A New York Times article from today, An Indiana School System Goes Digital, goes well beyond covering the school district’s process in transitioning from textbook- to digital content-based learning. It looks at the transitional process other school districts have gone through as well as some of the issues we all face when addressing the transformation of our tried and true processes to those that will engage this generation.
Teachers have mixed feelings about the transition, not all are negative:
“The material we’re teaching is old but everything around it is brand-new,” said Pat Premetz, chairwoman of the math department at Wilbur Wright Middle School in Munster, who described the initiative as both “very overwhelming” and “the most exciting thing to happen in my 40 years of teaching.”
Not surprisingly, students are enthusiastic.
“With a textbook, you can only read what’s on the pages — here you can click on things and watch videos,” said Patrick Wu, a seventh grader. “It’s more fun to use a keyboard than a pencil. And my grades are better because I’m focusing more.”
Inevitably, there were technological hurdles, “glitches,” and a whole lot of implementation expenses. There were, unfortunately, also teachers and parents who were more than a little resistant. Indiana’s director of instructional programs and assessment, had to:
“convince skeptical colleagues (some of whom did not want to relearn how to teach) and parents (some of whom did not want their children to be exposed to the online wilderness).”
This is an inevitable change, as students not only need to be prepared for a digital world by our educational system. There are also inevitable technological, cultural, and tech-is-bad-resistance. However, as the article points out:
“When teachers started hearing that “the server ate my homework,” they knew a new era had begun.”
Read the full article here: An Indiana School System Goes Digital