Student Learning in the Digital Age
We live in a time that is being called "The Fourth Industrial Revolution," and like the technological revolutions that preceeded it, the enormous changes taking place today require that our children learn to master new capabilities and new environments without losing the timeless essentials of our culture.
In our schools we know that many of the structures of school that made sense for the world of 50 years ago, even just 20 years ago, must change, but we also know that we are still here to support parents and guardians as they support our students in the development of the human skills that we depend on as a society.
Our focus helps our students learn:
- How to communicate face-to-face, locally, nationally, and globally. How to communicate with meaning and with well-crafted ideas and solid research. How to grasp the recorded texts of our world whether contemporary or ancient, or even if written in other languages. How to hear others well, and how to respond intelligently, empathetically, and respectfully.
- How to select, how to curate content, both physical and digital, that supports our state and local curriculum and the personal goals of our children. In a time of continuous information availability, how do our students learn to assess, compare, and validate the flood of data available? How do our students learn to search effectively? How do our students learn to seek information which challenges a pre-conceived mindset?
- How to demonstrate mastery of skills and knowledge of content through projects and products in a full range of media which can be shared locally and globally. Our intention is to send every graduating student out into the world with a portfolio which clearly demonstrates their range of capabilities and accomplishments - and this requires that our students discover the widest range of presentation techniques while learning to communicate their knowledge and abilities to the world.
- How to choose technologies that best match the learning or communication task to the personal abilities of our students, as well as their environment, and their audience, and to do this instantaneously. In this century our students must learn to construct their own "tool belt" of technologies that support a very wide range of learning and communication needs - how do they send appropriate messages to their desired audiences? how do they search rapidly but effectively wherever they are? how do they find and curate resources from any device? how do they accommodate their learning styles, preferences, and disabilities? how do they share work in progress with their collaborators?
- How to work in any environment, individually or collaboratively - synchronously and asynchronously. In a time where "the office" holds little meaning, our students must be prepared to work anywhere, at any time, with anyone. They must learn the range of tools available, and most importantly, how to learn the best use of tools that have not yet been invented.
Our digital learning initiatives
Our digital learning initiatives seek to move our students, from kindergarten through high school graduation, through a development of knowledge, competencies, and confidence in the tools which currently are, and in the future will be, available to them.
To build these capabilities and confidence we start from the concepts of "Choice and Comfort," "Universal Design for Learning," "Connectivity," and "Interactive Technologies" that are expressed in our division's
Seven Pathways. This learning route begins at the very beginning of our students' educational career, as we help children learn that these devices that are everywhere in their lives are tools, that they can use to move themselves forward.
Our students learn the full range of digital tools and digital capabilities. They will learn to use their devices in fully interactive ways - becoming creators, not just consumers. They will learn to communicate across the classroom and across the world. They will learn to individualize devices - and to choose devices - which best support their needs, both personal and curricular.
Above all, our children will learn to be responsible, caring, and competent creators of their own futures.