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Columbia Missourian

The digital district

A beautiful graphic by Education Week illustrates the trend K-12 schools have in America toward increasing the use of technology in their districts. In a special section called, “Building the Digital District,” Education Weekly reports on an increased pressure for districts to modernize and recent trends, such as 1-to-1 computing.

1-to-1 computing has become a high priority at K-12 school districts, Education Weekly found, and Columbia Public Schools is on its way to jumping the bandwagon. As I said in my last post about the soon-to-open Battle High, the  school is piloting a 1-to-1 technology initiative, which will give every student an iPad Mini. When I spoke with the district spokeswoman about this decision, she described it as simply a national progression. “Everything is about technology now,” she said.

Interestingly, when I spoke with  future Battle High School students, several said they wouldn’t know what to do with the iPad. “I’d much prefer a laptop,” one student said. According to Education Weekly, 34 percent of teenagers own a tablet. About 70 percent of teens own a computer, according to the Pew Research Center. It’s very possible that the students’ lukewarm reaction to the iPads stems from the fact they are still an emerging technology among the age group. Laptops are much more widely used among teenagers and college kids for educational purposes, and if tablets continue to grow in popularity, it will be interesting to see if this changes.

As more and more school districts continue to funnel money and time into developing their technology usage, questions that need to be answered will continue to arise. For Columbia Public Schools specifically, will using iPads as a textbook change the way students study? What about kids who don’t have WiFi at home or have never held a tablet before in their life? Will they benefit from this technology? And what of teachers? How will the integration of technology in newsrooms change the way we teach?

Obviously, I don’t have answers for these humongous questions now. But I want to find them. Throughout my undergraduate career, I hope analyzing Columbia’s school district, as it becomes a digital district, will be a major part of what I do. Because I believe my time as a journalist is best spent holding education in America accountable. Education shapes our future as a nation, after all. And if technology really will define the future, will our kids be ready?

K-12 Technology Usage
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About carolinebmn

Caroline Bauman is proud to be a University of Missouri student and an aspiring journalist. She is not quite as proud of her coffee addiction, however.

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