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Editorial: Listen to students on whether technology works

Anthony Johnson said it perfectly.

“It’s not about the technology. It’s about how we use the technology to transform lives,” said Johnson, who works at North Rowan High School as an authentic work coach.

As the Rowan-Salisbury School system has embraced the future, pursuing new and innovative ways to teach students, there are a minority of people in our community who believe we must go back to the old way — toss out the laptops and bring back the books. Forget trying new things as part of renewal. Test scores show some parts of the district are low-performing.

But technology, from laptops to self-driving cars, isn’t going away any times soon. The world is a much different place than when the parents of today’s students were in school. It will change even more by the time elementary, middle school and even some high school students enter the workforce.

So, it’s not about the technology. It’s about the way teachers and students are using the technology.

North Rowan High is an example of a school that’s using technology to improve students’ learning experience. And the award it received Wednesday — becoming one of four schools in the state’s named and Apple Distinguished School — isn’t what proves that.

It’s the passion students show in talking about their work.

Consider Jordan Goodine, who has been an intern in the schools’ design class. In a story published Wednesday (“North Rowan recognized for innovation by Apple”), Goodine said the glass has been “so eye-opening.”

“I’ve learned a lot about creating pictures and editing them, just learning how much goes into photography. The photos online have brought attention to our athletics. The students have appreciated seeing all the pictures in the hall.”

Goodine said schools from elsewhere in the district have shown interest in his work and that he hopes other schools will have the same opportunity.

When students are passionate about learning, the Rowan-Salisbury School System is doing something right. And Goodine appears to have found something that stokes his passion for learning.

So, the school system should continue giving students new technology, allow teachers to be creative about the ways it’s used in the classroom and empower students to find their passion.

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