SMARTER SCHOOLS | by Michael Spencer
From getting funding, raising test scores, and closing the achievement gap to student behavior and attendance issues — school administrators are tackling some pretty hefty challenges these days. They’re not unaware, however, of possible solutions. According to a Project Tomorrow survey, administrators identified six different ways to handle those problems:
1. Leveraging technology for seamless learning both in and out of school
2. Implementing mobile learning initiatives
3. Setting up a virtual school
4. Providing students with access to more online courses
5. Replacing traditional textbooks with digital textbooks and
6. Using data to track student performance.
A common theme from the above six points is moving over to an ultimately less expensive mobile approach. The benefits to schools that have the leadership and are taking the initiative to move in this direction are tremendous.
Students are ready for it. They love their mobile phones, iPods, iPads and other tablet-like devices. Whatever their preferred device, it’s really an extension from their hand, of their minds, and keeps them connected to a greater knowledge base whether it’s from teachers, other students, the Internet or some source of excellent content.
School districts are ready for it. They’re in the main cash-strapped, have been for years, and if it weren’t for the convergence and maturation of all this great technology bundled with smart content, they’d likely still make it through, but without such exciting possibilities. Schools are demanding always current ever ready and infinitely lighter mobile solutions.
School technologists are ready for it. If securing adequate funding, closing the achievement gap and keeping diverse students engaged can be a worrisome nightmare, then a turnkey, 1-to-1, student-centric mobile instructional device is not just a hopeful dream, it’s the bright new reality that we are waking up to today.
An end-to-end solution for instructional access bundled on the perfect hardware, representing the best in content and specifically made for a mobile environment, whether tablet or smartphone, is the most cost-effective approach to education today. When you consider Individual Education Plans, today’s technology makes such focused academic care accessible for every student. Now that’s powerful.
What does it all look like? There are plenty of great examples out there. Write to me, share your success and I’ll talk more about this in my next column.
Michael Spencer is Senior Director of International Business Development at K12. He is past SVP at The American Education Corporation and past president of One2OneMate, with extensive experience building businesses, designing and manufacturing innovative consumer electronic products and successfully marketing them into the US, European and Latin American markets. He is a regular columnist writing the Smarter Schools column for EdTech Digest. Write to: firstname.lastname@example.org