How digital learning can save a student’s education

vulturecomputerDo you want a plan to give second chances to children who struggle to learn? To empower children struck by tragedy (e.g., a major injury or illness) to continue their education? To provide advanced learners the chance to reach new academic heights, improve public education for all children through modern-day innovation, and increase access to higher education?

Two words: digital learning.

The Deseret News published two news stories showing how this is happening. The first contains stories of K-12 age children whose educational lives have been saved or changed by digital learning: children who were being robbed of educational opportunities by non-Hodgkins lymphoma or bipolar disorder; children who sought to graduate high school early or get college credit while still attending high school; or children whose childhood is cut short because they have to go to work to help support their families.

These stories show how digital learning, done right, is truly centered on the child – working around the child’s individual schedule, moving at the child’s pace, and with help available from teachers “around the clock.” They show how digital learning is redefining public education to abilities – truly personalizing education based on the needs of the child, rather than adults or “the system.” They also show how digital learning, though child-centered, is improving the lives of teachers by using technology to accomplish mundane tasks like grading while allowing teachers to focus their time doing what they do best: helping children learn.

The second article details a movement to create a system of voluntary “interstate reciprocity” in which states agree to accept credit for college courses completed online in other states because they meet an agreed-upon set of standards. This would be similar to already existing reciprocity agreements in areas such as teacher licensing, for example, which allow a teacher working in another state to teach in Utah without being required to start over and get a Utah teacher’s license. With reciprocity agreements in place, digital learning opportunities in higher education would be expanded to young people who would not otherwise have access to them.

These are just a few of the many examples of how digital learning is changing education for the benefit of children. It makes one wonder about the thinking and priorities of those who claim to represent the education community while seeking to oppose or delay[1] digital learning innovations.

[1] See positions on SB 79 – Student-centered Learning Pilot Program, on page 11.

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  • Daniel Felsted

    There are many additional benefits than those mentioned above. I chose to get my masters degree from a world renowned program for three reasons. 1. I fine it difficult to preform well in a traditional classroom (i.e. I cannot excel in the lecture scenario) 2. I didn’t want to move to NYC for 18 months. 3. The curriculum was much more robust online vs. in-class lectures.

    Though our current system of education (conveyor belt or one size fits all) is the exception to educational models in history. We would benefit as a society if we brought back other forgotten education models to compliment the conveyor belt education we currently use.

    One size education does not fit all. The 5 elements of great teaching are: Tutorial, group discussion, lecture, testing and coaching. When we leave out the majority (my opinion) of these elements we are left with a less than stelar education program.

    For example, what parent doesn’t want their child to learn the following: initiative, ingenuity, allegiance to good, integrity, commitment, passion and impact. I’ll venture to say, most of us do. We can readily visualize the quality of person that has these skills. Yet none of these vital skills for success are taught in our public schools. Some may be a byproduct but none are expressly taught.

    Also, the most important skill requested on a job application is, “good communication skills.” We can all agree, this is important. Who can point me to a class taught in public school, that every student gets, that expressly teaches good communication skills in school?

    Good communication skills compromise of:

    1. Listening
    2. Speaking
    3. Reading
    4. Writing
    5. Body Language

    Where is the class that teaches these skills?

    I for one, look forward to the day when we introduce other education models to compliment the public education system. We will all benefit from such.

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