• 48°

Helping Rowan schools embrace the digital age

By  Catherine Truitt

Special to the Salisbury Post

During the first year of his administration, Governor McCrory signed legislation which formalized our state’s transition to the adoption of digital learning.  Digital learning — instruction that is enabled and enhanced by technology — moves our students from a one-size-fits-all approach to a system of personalized learning that puts students at the center of their educational experience. In prioritizing this shift, North Carolina has become a national leader in modernizing our schools and instituting changes to make our students competitive in a technology-based, global economy.

A digital transformation requires significant infrastructure investments, and during the past two years, the McCrory administration has leveraged over $97,000,000 in federal and state dollars to connect North Carolina’s public schools to robust Wi-Fi. By 2018, all public students in North Carolina will be one of the first states to enjoy this capability.  In fact, Rowan County Schools will have received over $1.2 million in state and federal money this fall to provide equipment and services that allow a level of wireless technology that is reliable, sustainable and supports digital learning.

This is a crucial part of reforming our public schools. Technology has forever changed what it means to be college and career ready. For example, what we used to think of as “low-skill” jobs are now automated and require students to earn more specialized credentials of marketplace value. However, while expectations for teachers have increased, the toolkit we provide them has not changed — until now.

Since last October I have traveled to more than 30 schools in North Carolina that have already made the transition to digital-age learning. In my 18 years as an educator and turnaround coach, I have never witnessed anything that promises to improve teaching and learning that compares with what I’ve seen in places like Greene, Rutherford, Davie and Rowan Counties. And these counties have the data to prove it.

What is so unique about digital learning?  A digital classroom gives students more control over the time, place and pace of learning. Through classroom devices — laptops or tablets — which contain current and relevant content, learning can take place anywhere, anytime. And learning can be tailored to a student’s ability and interest, thereby allowing the chance to master content before moving on to the next step — something that is impossible in a traditional classroom.

Also, assessments are integrated into daily activities, allowing teachers to address students’ struggles immediately. Parents will not need to wait for a nine-week report card to learn that their child is behind. Conversely, students who are ahead of their classmates can find unlimited opportunities to master the next challenge.

This seismic transition is not just about more “computers in the classrooms” or teaching students how to use technology. This is about using technology to fundamentally shift an existing culture of teaching and learning in which teachers are the focal point to one that puts students at the center of their own learning. In short, personalized learning through technology is a game-changer that will be the great equalizer our public system of education should be.

We are committed to transforming all North Carolina public schools to digital-age learning. Our state’s budget for the 2016-17 year includes $14.7 million in new money for additional resources to support this initiative, and our textbook and digital allotment fund has tripled to $71.5 million since Governor McCrory took office. Our schools need digital-age resources and our teachers and principals need training and support so they can effectively implement new ways of teaching and assessing their students. After all, we cannot educate the students of today with resources from the past.

Catherine Truitt, M.Ed., is Gov. Pat McCrory’s senior advisor on education. 

Comments

News

Racial bias ‘deeply entrenched’ in report critical of Apex Police Department

Nation/World

US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia

Elections

City council again dismisses idea of adding new member, focus now on recommendation to delay elections

Business

‘Let’s make some money:’ Loosened restrictions praised by bar owners, baseball team

High School

Salisbury High bucks historical trend in dominant shutout of West Rowan

Enochville

Garage declared total loss after Enochville fire

Crime

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Coronavirus

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week

Crime

Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station

Crime

Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor

Crime

Road rage incident results in assault charges

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed

Education

Faith Academy interviewing staff, preparing site for fall opening

News

Volunteers work around obstacles, alter procedures to offer free tax services to those in need

Education

Education shoutouts

Local

Retired Marine gets recognition for toy collection efforts

Local

March issue of Salisbury the Magazine is now available

Education

Five get Dunbar School Heritage Scholarships

Education

Education briefs: Salisbury Academy fourth-graders think big as inventors

Education

Bakari Sellers keynote speaker at Livingstone College Founder’s Day program

Nation/World

Biden aims to distribute masks to millions in ‘equity’ push

Nation/World

Chief: Capitol Police were warned of violence before riot

Nation/World

GOP rallies solidly against Democrats’ virus relief package

Nation/World

FDA says single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson prevents severe COVID