The benefits of digital learning and innovations in teaching technology in Regional School District 6 were recently recognized by President Obama in Washington, D.C. Ed Drapp, superintendent of schools in District 6, was chosen to participate in a White House summit on technology in the classroom. Drapp, the only administrator from Connecticut, joined more than 100 school superintendents from across the country to discuss the importance of technology in the classroom.
Teachers in the rural district, which includes, Goshen, Morris, and Warren, said the school system is a leader in the use of technology and digital content to enhance education and prepare students for the 21st-century skills they need to be successful.
“The administration allows and encourages teachers in the district to explore and experiment with technology,” said Region 6 teacher and Local President Lori Pepler.
Region 6 is a one-to-one school, requiring every student to bring a digital device to school and use it throughout their classes.
“Literally everything is digital, across the curriculum,” said Lori Dight, a technology teacher and robotics adviser at Wamogo High School. “We are always looking to make student outcomes better to help them succeed, and this is one way to do that. We are looking down the road at 21st-century skills and providing the skills and knowledge that the students will need.”
Region 6 is also a Google school, which means teachers use the computer and Google apps for everything from teaching to grading. Pepler created her own online textbook to use in her sociology class.
“It was well received. By not being bound to a textbook that may get outdated very quickly, it allows me to constantly update and stay current in the field,” she said.
The high school is also updating its curriculum by requiring all ninth-grade students to take a technology class.
“This is the first year it’s required and it’s a great thing. These students will have the technological skills they need moving forward,” added Dight.
She said the district has undertaken a big initiative to work with elementary and middle school teachers to improve technology skills in the earlier grades to ensure that the transition to high school is smooth, and allows the students time to progress and master the technology.
“The skills need to be seamless and students need to have a variety of tools in their toolbox to remain competitive. They need this technology and understanding,” said Dight.
Dight, who has been teaching for 14 years, four in Region 6, said she drives over an hour to get to work every day because she “loves it.”
“This is unique and so worth it. Everyone here has an open mind and administrators believe in the teachers,” she said.
It is interesting that Steve Jobs did not allow is own kids to learn with technology, nor do many Silicon Valley Elites, who send their children to non-technology schools. This “new” technology will be discarded in just a few years and it has a much bigger carbon footprint than paper. There are also numerous studies that have shown that students learn better on paper. Moreover, here is a dystopian side to this as students spend too much time in front of screens. Lastly, the CEA should be more circumspect about this and try to see the endgame; teachers will be out of work. In short: The emperor has no clothes.