Classrooms move toward becoming digital learning environments

Posted on Monday, 4/29/2013 7:26 pm

Many of the teachers who have found ways to use student software and other technology in their classrooms may be likely to say that the future of the American education sector is a digital one. The fact that electronic devices like tablet computers can do so much to enhance pupils' understanding of academic subjects is certainly helping with schools' transition to more technological learning environments. 

Support for digital learning
There are those who believe that if students are to thrive, the instruction they receive needs to take a turn for the technological. President Barack Obama is among these individuals. The commander-in-chief would also like to see every American student using e-textbooks by 2017, according to USA Today.

Of course, many schools have a long way to go before they can achieve Obama's goal, but his administration is hoping educators will accelerate their transition from physical learning materials to digital ones. In addition to enhancing pupils' technological skills - which will be essential once the Common Core State Standards are fully implemented - digital learning has the potential to lower school costs.

"We spend $7 billion a year on textbooks, and for many students around the country, they're out of date," Julius Genachowski, the Federal Communications Commission's chairman, told the news source. "[In five years,] we could be spending less as a society on textbooks and getting more for it."

Schools go digital
"Magical," is how one student at Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences in California recently described his Apple iPad to the Los Angeles Times. This youth, and every other pupil at the school, have an opportunity to explore the educational benefits of the popular tablet computer, as every one of them has his or her own iPad.

However, why stop there? This is the question John Deasy, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, is asking. Deasy would like to find a way to supply the remaining 660,000 students in the district with iPads of their own.

Jonah Warnick, a ninth-grader at North Davis Junior High School in Utah, is another student who sings the praises of his iPad. Warnick told The Salt Lake Tribune that he loves the tablet computer and he is much more organized now. In fact, there are days when all he needs to bring to school in his backpack is a binder, as his tablet, and all the work he does on it, awaits him at school.

In Utah, there is a move toward providing the state's students with digital textbooks they can view on electronic devices, like tablets and netbooks. Thanks to their low cost, as well as the adaptability of open-source digital textbooks, many education officials now believe in going digital.

"We really recognize that this is the wave of the future," Diana Suddreth, the STEM coordinator at the Utah State Office of Education, told the news outlet. "We are moving toward becoming a digital society."

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