Editorial: Fast-forward education

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 30, 2011

You probably received a good education without using video cameras, iPods, electronic tablets, laptop computers or wireless Internet connections. But the technology of our world has changed tremendously since most adults went to school. Fortunately, the technology of our schools is changing, too.
The Rowan-Salisbury School System put on an impressive display of technology use during its ěTechnology Mattersî event at North Rowan High School on May 21. Itís one thing to read about the equipment schools use now to educate students ó and quite another to see the students in action.
Make that ěenthusiastically in action.î From preschool through high school, students from all Rowan-Salisbury schools demonstrated how they use the latest technology to actively learn. Think of the way young people so deftly program DVD players at home and put it in a classroom setting ó with young tech wizards learning material and mastering new technology in the process. They showed how to create videos and podcasts and even how the set for Carson Highís recent production of ěSeussicalî was engineered and constructed.
Teachers get a big boost from technology, too, as they are able to connect with each other and with parents to share material, assignments, resources and links.
Incorporating iPod Touches and video cameras in the classroom is not just a matter of keeping students engaged. That almost sounds like entertainment. Putting this technology into young hands prepares students for the workforce. The technology may be different by the time they graduate, but the need to be a quick learner who can easily adapt to new technology is a certain constant.
Kudos to the teachers and administrators who are rising to the challenge of bringing public education into the 21st century. It canít be easy to incorporate new technology into tried-and-true lesson plans.
Kudos, too, to the many private groups that fund the schoolsí tech initiatives, including the Blanche & Julian Robertson Family Foundation. State and local funding for 21st century equipment is scant to none. While government struggles to maintain the status quo, private foundations, PTAs and other donors are paying for technology that will fast-forward studentsí education. Many thanks.