By Adam Petrovsky, US Practice Director, Public Sector & GovEd
I recently gave a one-hour presentation at the Arizona Association of School Business Officials (AASBO) in Laughlin, Nevada. Afterward, a superintendent suggested extending my session at the next conference to four hours because of its criticality to K-12 education.
In the session, I asked the mostly IT participants where they were on the digital learning voyage. The continuum is wide, with schools and districts resisting change on one end and those reaching for and achieving digital literacy on the other.
The digital learning voyage
Generally speaking, most K-12 schools are closer to the “resisting change” end of the spectrum than to embracing digital literacy. Traditional teaching methods, reliance on textbooks and paper tests, and one-way interaction continue to dominate today’s classrooms.
Yet, kids are much more digitally “mature” than their teachers and, in some ways, they’re driving the learning experience. As a result, schools are now investing in tablets and PCs, cameras, displays, and more, but it’s difficult to know how much is spent on technology because it cuts across multiple categories.
And therein lies the problem. Most schools have some digital tools, but lack an end-to-end technology strategy, budget, and integration that can help drive better student outcomes. There’s a collection of parts, but no glue.
Besides students, there are other forces driving digital learning pedagogies: digital textbooks and compliance.
Accessibility to digital textbooks
My son recently brought home a textbook that was published in 2006—the same year that Google purchased YouTube and a year before Netflix started its streaming service. A lot has happened since then.
Digital textbooks, on the other hand, offer immediacy. They also offer other benefits—immediate delivery, less cost, lower environmental impact, interactivity, and more.
But digital textbooks do require seamless connectivity and ample bandwidth. Not making these investments may result in students who are unable to access the Internet or have inadequate bandwidth to perform even simple tasks, such as watching a video.
Compliance with standards and regulations
Common Core and federal and state standards are also driving greater digital learning. These standards vary but, at their core, recognize that students must be digitally prepared for their futures.
But there are regulations around data security and student privacy that must be considered, particularly as students and textbooks go online. Your district is well-suited to educate kids, but how well do you understand, manage, and secure data?
The Logicalis GovEd practice
K-12 schools can take a lesson from enterprise organizations, and align their educational goals with their technology requirements. But with some 80 percent of school budgets devoted to compensation, it often isn’t realistic for districts to hire full-blown IT teams that can help them achieve their vision.
This is where Logicalis makes the grade. The Logicalis GovEd practice helps K-12 schools design a digital strategy that can help prepare students, starting with where you are today and your vision for the future. We combine extensive experience and expertise with a dedication to education, and can act as an extension of your IT team to help your district digitally transform the educational experience.
Globally, we are moving to a 21st century digital economy, and students who don’t arrive prepared will struggle to find their way. Where is your school or district on the digital learning journey?