Perspective from the superintendent of a nationally recognized school district.

GUEST COLUMN | by Matt Prusiecki 

As we continue to embark through the Information Age, it’s crucial for educators to implement new strategies that will meet the needs of both students and industries. Thanks to recent technology and innovative solutions, students are gaining more and more access to education outside the classroom, thereby expanding their learning and career opportunities in a variety of ways.

Technology and innovation are a growing priority in school districts nationwide, and the following three tactical tools are ways educators today can utilize technology to transform their classrooms.

Interactive Learning

Leveraging technology excites students and increases engagement, which can increase students’ performance in the long run. According to a study conducted by game-based learning platform, Kahoot!, nearly two-thirds of teachers are using technology to encourage students to work in teams, and 58 percent are using it for problem-based learning. More than half of teachers are using technology to encourage creative thinking.

Interactive learning and game-based platforms allow a more hands-on learning approach that presents the opportunity to explain topics that are often times too difficult to explain verbally. The use of iPads, computers, and other one-to-one devices are revolutionizing how students are taught. Students are no longer merely consumers of information, they creators and producers of knowledge and information. Portable technology has made it easier to make notes, organize work, gain immediate feedback, and more.

Virtual portfolios

Resumes and degrees are no longer enough in this day and age. Employers seek concrete evidence of previous work, which is why virtual portfolios serve as a tremendous tool for students. For example, the CN ePortfolio can provide students with evidence of their learning journey while expanding a meaningful academic social network and building a professional business image all within one comprehensive cloud-native software package.

Regardless if students decide to continue their education or enter the workforce after graduation, an e-portfolio can easily showcase their abilities, previous work, and personal characteristics to employers or admission counselors. As students learn and grow personally and professionally, their skills and knowledge increase. As they move from school age into adulthood, they can continuously contribute to the artifacts, documents, and evidence of their competencies in an e-portfolio.

Personal hotspots

Currently, 21st century education is no longer confined to the brick and mortar walls of a classroom. Learning can take place anywhere and at any time if a student has access to the internet. There are roughly 5 million households with school-age children who don’t have access broadband internet, but a way to combat this digital divide is to offer personal hotspots to all students with a one-to-one device.

By providing equal access to online learning through personal hotspots, students and educators are given an advantage that most schools can’t offer. Once all students are given equal access to internet and online services, the digital divide begins to dissolve, leveling the playing field for all.

With the implementation of technology and innovation initiatives in the classroom, educators can best equip students with the tools, knowledge and resources needed to gain the most out of their K-12 education in a world increasingly influenced by technology.

Matt Prusiecki, Ph.D., is the superintendent of MSD of Decatur Township, a nationally recognized school district that uses an innovative and personalized, small-learning community approach. He is committed to maintain and provide a safe, disciplined, and productive environment where all students are engaged in learning. Write to: mprusiecki@msddecatur.k12.in.us