Geez, should that even be a question anymore when it comes to students and learning? Technology is an integral part of most everyone's working and nonworking life. It's not that schools necessarily teach kids how to use technology; it seemed like my children were born knowing how to double click, and that was years ago. It's knowing how to integrate that technology into expanding and integrating knowledge. Plus, that's how kids learn. It's what the vast, vast majority of them know.
So it was funny to read an editorial in Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which the writer was gnashing his teeth over the idea that the Fayetteville School District would allow students to bring their "computer devices" to the classroom. I agree, it would be better for the district to supply said computer-devices to eliminate the potential for status-type differences, but being afraid of students being distracted by what they can do on their iPads is silly. Good educators know how to keep their classes engaged, and that's every bit as challenging in a paper-only classroom. A bored student will be as distracted by a fly crawling on the ceiling or thoughts of what he'll do after school.
According to the principal in a San Jose, CA, high school that has supplied iPads to its students, "The richness and potential here is much greater than just e-books The students have embraced the idea that learning happens not just in class but at home and anywhere else they can go online. The iPad's not some magic pill, but seeing students collaborate on them seems to add more life to the learning process." That quote, by the way, is found in a news article in today's Dem-Gaz.
I wish the newspaper's editorial writers could make it out to the classrooms in Cross County or any of the other school districts in Arkansas that have embraced and are using technology in exciting ways to enhance student learning. It's hard not to be impressed.