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Technology changes teaching

By Joleen De La Hunt/Century Principal

Our world is changing at a very rapid rate. Technological innovations are shaping our world, nation, community, school, and lives of our students. Students today are called technology natives. That means, these young people are growing up knowing a quick tap, search, or key can immediately connect them with others. They can find information instantaneously. It is truly amazing. So, with the world changing, how are we preparing our students for the world beyond our school’s walls?

The mission of Park Rapids Area Schools is to prepare today’s learners for tomorrow’s challenges. Our high school launched a one to one iPad initiative that is positively impacting our students. Amazing things are happening daily in our classrooms. At Century, I see every day how technology is impacting our pre-K classrooms as well. I’d like to share some of these observations.

At the pre-K and elementary level, we have 50 iPads available. Starting in the fall, our preschoolers come to Century to learn to use the computers. This leads to the operation of other devices very quickly. I see these youngsters using iPads, calculators, and computers all over. Our elementary kids are learning keyboarding at various levels by providing presentations through things like PowerPoint, creating projects, using apps, and finding things on the Internet. E-books also are quite an amazing thing that have opened the door to many opportunities.

In our middle school, students are learning through various devices: computers, iPads, chrome books, laptops, iPods and cell phones. Something simple like taking notes is now a very different process. We have teachers using a flipped teaching strategy. Presentations are videotaped ahead of time which allows students to watch the instruction multiple times if needed. This also allows for more time in class for small group work and individualized learning. Presentations, creative projects, problem solving, higher level thinking skills are all being taught with a connection to technology. Students can email teachers, create notes, take tests, and read eBooks or e-readers all through technology.

We want our students to leave our school with the necessary skills and competences to be successful in any area they choose. The use of technology helps to provide learning opportunities on a high level and a global playing field. Technology is a powerful tool. Technology, combined with personal communication skills, critical thinking skills, creativity, and problem solving skills are keys toward balanced teaching.