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Digital Learning

The Principals Office

Sept. Edition 2014



It is my pleasure to tell you this month that school is fully underway. We have a ton of things going on as usual but at the time of this writing we have homecoming week. We will follow this up with our NWEA testing. This isn’t our state testing which will be in the spring.  This year we will use the new platform and the “common core “ will be the standards. I wrote about this previously. In a nutshell, don’t be afraid of the boogieman.


In my position I often take time to look at all sides of an issue. Today I was noticing an attack on the federal governments position on digital learning. The federal government wants students career and college ready and to use the latest and greatest digital means to achieve this. The opponents say it will be a federally controlled program.


I will go on record and at the risk of sounding ignorant say,” so what?”

If I can get more digital access to every student and the feds want to be involved I am in support. I believe in local control to the hundredth power but if the good folks in Washington (we elected them) want to throw some technology my way I believe it is a good thing.

In looking at my students I believe we have what is termed by many as the “digital divide”. Some folks have computer access and others don’t. Many of our students could use homework or school related games. With the current technology and the way my students love computers we can get researched programs that will assist them in their learning. Why on Earth would I fight this?  Digital learning is what many of my students love. I can see this by the work they do. Keep in mind that many have grown up with computers. We have them using computers in our buildings at a young age. They are great at computer use. When they leave us the rest of the world will probably and this isn’t a stretch, will be computer driven. We cannot put our heads in the sand about technology. If we do we would be similar as saying we want to use an abacus verses a calculator. That shouldn’t happen.

I think the digital divide will grow in the country. Many students (poverty level) will not be able to get the access to a computer or to the Internet. In time the students who cannot, will be left behind by the students who can.  Some parents cannot afford the technology for their children. Computers cost money and so does the Internet. If paying your rent and food is difficult then where does the technology come in? It doesn’t keep the children fed and warm! It may not be a priority.  I understand this. So why then, wouldn’t we as a school, or a district, or even state or Nation, try to level this playing field for all. At this point please do not tell me that students cannot be trusted with technology. I feel they can. I also believe that this is a parent’s responsibility also. Monitor their use and let them know the dangers and proper use. Anyone claiming that students will use this irresponsibly is just throwing out an excuse that can be proven wrong many times.

As we move forward, my guidance that I can offer,(to those who want to listen) is not to be afraid of technology, and not to worry that the federal government is taking us over. We have a board, we have a county government, and a state government and elected legislators. We still have local control, but if we can access technology even if it is federally funded, we owe this to our children to try.

Until next time,

Joel Bickford