President Obama’s ConnectED initiative aims to connect students and teachers with high speed internet within next five years. This will allow students to experience digital classrooms and learn using digital software solutions.
To support this initiative, Apple pledged to donate iPads, PCs and other tools worth $100 million to schools in the country. Tech giant Microsoft has joined hands with Lenovo, and Dell to offer devices at lower prices to schools. Verizon, Sprint, and AT & T have offered free internet access to certain schools. Besides this, district and state level authorities have come up with their own initiatives to move away from text books and classroom based learning. Let’s take a look at two of such initiatives.
PHM School district’s e-learning day initiative
North Central Indiana’s PHM School District was recently in the lime light for introducing its own e-learning system. This system is another reason to smile for school kids, as they can skip their classes.
Children were missing their classes due to constant snow fall
Kids were missing their classes due to snow days, and this forced the Department of Education to equip PHM schools with e-learning tools.
Clare Roach is mother of three children who are PHM’s students. She recently interacted with media, and shared her opinion that PHM School Corporation has shown its visionary side. E-learning system also eliminates the need to conduct extra sessions and classes during the end of the year.
Roach highlighted the point that teachers will be available online throughout the day during e-learning days. This will help kids to solve their issues right on time.
School authorities are ready with next set of study material
Initially, PHM rolled out same set of assignments for kids studying in the same grade. But Dr. Kay Antonelli, the school district’s Assistant Superintendent has assured parents and kids that PHM is ready with new study material for 2015.
Letters emails, and messages were sent before Christmas holidays. The school authorities contacted all the parents, and explained them about the way e-learning works. Whenever schools declare e-learning day/ days, students are asked to be online in-order to attend sessions.
Currently, PHM has planned just three e-learning days during the current school year. They plan to add more days depending on climatic conditions.
Wake County School system’s initiative
Gov. Pat McCrory attracted lot of attention in 2013, when he decided to pass bill related to funding schools for purchasing digital study material instead of text books. The state of North Carolina is expected to complete transition from books to digital learning materials by 2017.
The Wake County school system recently came in the lime light when it launched its digital learning initiative in 13 schools. Students in the concerned schools are allowed to carry their laptops, tablet PCs and smart phones in the class rooms during this pilot program. This program will also be implemented at other schools in the state if authorities see results as per their expectations.
According to North Carolina University’s lecturer Nancy Swisher, this initiative will definitely encourage digital literacy, collaboration, and critical thinking related skills. But Nancy also stressed on the point that the state needs clear roadmap to implement this initiative as it affects both, teachers and learners.
Nancy suggests, digital learning offers quick feedback, enhanced engagement, and instant access to information for students. However, existing teachers may not be ready, or skilled enough to operate digital administration systems.