Technology is evolving at a rapid pace, and the educational benefits of this progress are multiplying just as quickly. To keep up with this incredible pace and to honor the achievements made thus far, Digital Learning Day has become an official national day of recognition. Organized by the Alliance for Excellent Education, the first event took place in Washington, D.C. on February 1st, 2012 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. According to the official website for Digital Learning Day, the event was designed to be a salute to innovative teaching and learning through technology and digital media that engages students and gives them the opportunity to obtain a rich, personalized educational experience. The outreach of the event generated huge success, with a turnout of thirty-nine states, 15,000 teachers and 1.7 million students, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
How Exactly Has Technology Benefited Learning?
One example featured in the event was the Mooresville Graded School District in North Carolina, which integrated a digital conversion plan into its schools in 2007. This new plan provided laptop computers to all staff members and students between grades four and twelve. With these laptops, students acquired full access to all of the software they needed to effectively complete assignments, and also provided the ability to communicate with their teachers. For example, the laptops enabled students to participate in after-school video chat sessions during specified hours to acquire help with homework assignments and other academic projects.
The plan also provided interactive electronic devices to younger students, which allowed each student to participate in classroom activities. For example, the teacher could pose a question to the students and ask them to “vote” for what they believed the answer to be by pushing the corresponding button on these devices. As a result of the laptops and other electronic devices, the district has seen a rise both in student grades and graduation rates.
The Growth of Online Education
The incredible success that stemmed from the integration of technology into schools has inspired the growth of many online educational programs and institutions. According to the Babson Survey Research Group’s annual survey, the number of college students enrolled in at least one online course increased for the ninth year in a row in 2011. This survey included a population of more than 2,500 nonprofit and for-profit colleges and universities. Since many modern students are accustomed to technology in the classroom, as well as online courses within traditional institutions, the integration of online college options in the realm of higher education is a logical evolution of technology integration into the education space.
The initial introduction of online education was met with uncertainty, but, thanks to programs like Digital Learning Day, more and more educators are beginning to understand and appreciate the valuable role of technology in the academic success of the nation’s youth. Familiarizing students with modern technology not only fosters a more effective education, but also prepares them for technological mediums that they will likely encounter when they enter the professional world. In nearly every professional industry across the nation, employees must at least have basic computer skills and some level of familiarity with modern technological features, such as video conferencing and communicating through email and other online platforms.
By providing students with the tools they need to develop their skills with modern technology, schools across the country are doing their part to prepare them for a future career by giving them the tools they need to succeed.
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[Digital Learning Day: Celebrating the Success of Technology!]
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