Having grown up in a digital world, kids are inherently tech-savvy. On an average day, a teenager wakes up to his cell phone’s alarm clock, turns on his laptop to check for any updates on his Facebook page and watches a video on his tablet or iPod on the bus on his way to school.
But once he steps off the bus and walks through the door at school, all his technology is shut off, and he’s transported back into a pre-digital world of chalkboards and textbooks. This is a scenario that plays out every morning across the country, with schools implementing zero-tolerance policies on tech devices to prevent texting and playing games during class.
But what if students were allowed, even encouraged, to use these devices? What if schools took advantage of their students’ dependence on electronics and harnessed that affinity into an outlet for educational exploration?
The Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina put these questions to the test and made a commitment to close the digital divide. Over the past several years, the district has completely transitioned to a digital environment, eliminating traditional textbooks and learning materials in favor of interactive computer programs and presentation tools.
All kindergarten through third grade classrooms are equipped with interactive white boards, and every student from fourth through twelfth grade is given a laptop.
Technology is integrated into every subject, even history and English, to encourage interaction and engagement among students.
The overall response from students and faculty has been positive. Teachers agree that creating lesson plans and achieving student participation is much easier with the new system. Students are happy to be rid of dry textbook-based learning and enjoy working with interactive multimedia.
The digital conversion is more than just a crowd pleaser among students and teachers. There are strong statistics demonstrating the system’s positive effects on student performance.
Attendance and graduation rates have increased across the board in Mooresville, and out-of-school suspension rates have dropped significantly. Test scores in math, science and reading have also risen dramatically since the digital conversion. The district now ranks fourth in the state for student achievement.
Mooresville has seen success with its digital transition. What efforts has your school made to utilize technology? Does Mooresville’s success inspire you to follow their example and embrace a digital environment?