The U.S. Department of Education released a new education plan calling for increased technology integration into all levels of education. The plan states that by engaging students early with online tools, schools better prepare their students for college and the workforce. Educators at Colorado online high schools couldn’t agree more.
“Students today want to be active participants in their education,” says Audie Rubin Executive Director of Provost Academy, an online high school in Colorado. “They want to learn the same way they live, utilizing what they are familiar with such as blogs, podcasts, and instant messaging to create an interactive environment in which they can thrive.”
A More Complete, Authentic and Meaningful Education
The U.S. Department of Education’s National Educational Technology Plan 2010, titled “Transforming American Education: Learning Powered by Technology” calls for all education levels, primary, secondary and higher education, to find increased function for online learning.
The authors make the case that technology creates the opportunity for a more complete, authentic and meaningful education for today’s students. Arguing that technology-based learning systems will not only change the way students are learning today but will help improve the education system in the future.
The Advantages of Technology
According the National Educational Technology Plan, using technology in the classroom also prepares young minds for life after high school by:
· helping students develop skills such as self-discipline and motivation that are known to promote success at higher education institutions.
· giving access to web tools such as wikis, blogs and digital content that are integral parts of many of today’s careers
· putting them in real-world situations and preparing them to be productive members of a globally competitive workforce
Online high schools have been on the forefront of incorporating technology in the classroom. But unlike traditional schools, online schools can provide the additional benefits of customized lesson plans and individual attention that help young students move at their own pace to earn a high school diploma.
“I know many students who have benefitted from the flexible schedule that online school offers,” says Rubin. “They could be an elite athlete or musician who needs to travel for competitions, a student who is helping to support their family with a job or a teen mom who needs care for her child but doesn’t want to sacrifice an education. Online school gives these students the chance to earn a real high school diploma.”
Weighing Technology in School Choice
Technology has become ingrained in our lives. It has changed the way we shop, find information and connect with people so it is no surprise that it is changing our classrooms. Parents should factor in technology when weighing their school choice options. The next generation needs to engage with technology in a productive way, beyond texting and online video games. Online high schools can provide the avenues for students to use technology in a way that reflects both college and a career.