The Digital Landscape: It’s Not Just the Technology

By Dan Domenech, AASA executive director

We’re seeing a revolution taking place in our classrooms and in our schools. This revolution is being driven by technology.

If we truly want to provide each and every child with the quality education they deserve, utilizing digital resources will be a major spoke in the process. Technology is enabling the personalizing of education in the 21st century.

In our book Personalizing 21st Century Education, Mort Sherman, John Brown and I describe technology-driven personalization going on at Innovations Early College High School where students can participate in:

  • Online, self-paced courses;
  • A rich range of multimedia-driven options for interactivity within the learning environment; and
  • Mastery-focused skills and concept progression via technology-enhanced learning modules.

Scores of superintendents across the country are leading successful models of digital transitions across the country in an effort to enable high-quality learning in their school systems.

However, these superintendents agree with me that it’s not just about putting a laptop in the hands of a child. It’s not about running to the store and purchasing the latest gadgets. It’s critical that a plan is in place prior to putting the mechanics in motion. Making the digital leap is popular but we need to be careful. The question remains: How will the technology enable children to learn?

Earlier this month, we were pleased to see superintendents who are engaged in the digital transition convene at Discovery Education as part of AASA’s Digital Consortium.

Said Gail Pletnick, superintendent of Arizona’s Dysart Unified School District, “As superintendents, we are so involved with our leadership roles, we forget to nurture ourselves as learners.” At the Consortium, we were especially pleased to see district leaders taking part in learning from the experiences of others.

Professional development plays a huge role in bringing about the transformation of teaching and learning in our schools and I applaud the superintendents who joined us and shared best practices and strategies for the benefit of others.

We look forward to our next Digital Consortium meeting this summer in Chicago.

I encourage you to contribute to the conversation. Please access #AASA_DigitalConsortium.