Looking Onward and Thinking Bigger: The Future of Technological Integration in Schools


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In small town Califon our school district could not afford a bus system, so morning walks to and from school became routine until high school. I didn’t mind. Boasting a little over one-thousand residents nestled into a beautiful square mile in north-central New Jersey, Califon has the ideal small town feel. With my graduating class consisting of twenty-four students, a large number considering Califon’s population, I’m discovering that Califon did all it could to incorporate modern technology into our classrooms.

Our classrooms had at most two computers and our modest school library housed approximately twelve. While half of my classmates accessed the physical keyboards, the other half learned to type on black and white QWERTY keyboard photocopies. At Califon Public School, projectors were rarer than computers. I recall there being one media cart consisting of a projector, computer, VHS and DVD player. I suppose this is my 21st century equivalent of a grandfather describing his twenty-mile ‘˜uphill both ways’ sojourn to school. Now that technology is more abundant and accessible, I’m witnessing technology becoming more integrated. Mobile technology is no longer an external tool discussed in the classroom; rather, it can now be fully integrated into the very structure of the curriculum.

Some schools around the country are implementing ‘˜1:1 programs’ wherein the ratio of mobile devices to students are kept at 1:1.  Programs like these are gaining momentum. They are the result of mobile technology becoming feasible, affordable, and portable enough for students to actively use in the classroom. In the past year, the percentage of schools reporting an increase in integrated mobile technology has risen from 60% to 71% (Amplify, 2014).  Only 12% of K-12 public schools report they are without any integrated mobile technology; however, two-thirds of the of the 12% will be incorporating mobile technology into their curriculums by 2016. By 2016, an astounding 96% of public schools will have integrated mobile technology.

Additionally, there is an observable trend towards replacing single carts of technology with 1:1 programs. While the single media cart system is economical, 1:1 programs award students with more flexibility in using mobile technology. Since 2013, the percentage of schools sharing a single media cart have fallen from 51% to 42% and there has been a subsequent 8% increase in classrooms implementing a 1:1 program (Amplify, 2014). These statistics reveal an exciting move towards a technological revolution in the classroom.

Educators are witnessing how file sharing on cloud applications, digital textbooks, and online note taking software improves their reachability. To those educators reading, you might consider devising your own ideas on how to incorporate technology to increase reachability.

Innovation has unearthed new possibilities in the realm of education, and today’s educators find themselves standing on the precipice of a vast unknown; though, they stand perhaps as artists in front of a blank canvas, left to contemplate the question:  How will your school seize this unprecedented opportunity to lead students into a bright, new future of potential knowledge?

References:

Amplify. (2014). Amplify tablet: The mobile moment in K-12. Retrieved from http://go.amplify.com/2014-mobile-report?rc=BSDAds_MobileLearning2014_EdWeek_DedicatedEblast_060314

Riddell, R. (2014, May 30). 3 takeaways from IESD’s K12 mobile tech report. Retrieved from  http://www.educationdive.com/news/3-takeaways-from-iesds-k12-mobile-tech-report/268524/

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