Technology making a difference in the lives of students


Have you asked yourself why some of the post begin with a weather report? Stating the temp, or snow depth, etc… There are a few reasons I have for this practice. First and foremost has to be that I am a Minnesotan, and the weather seems to be a prevalent influence in our lives. From Minnesota’s earliest day the weather always played a part in the lives of her citizens; from agricultural, commodities, to the transportation sectors of Minnesota the weather was a major factor.

Turns out it still is in some areas of the modern era. As I stated earlier I reside in Minnesota and our children have missed 5 days of school simple because of the weather. The temps have dipped well below zero (sustained wind-chill of -35 to -55) causing the Governor of MN to call the day off from School, followed by 4 more days (some consecutive) to be canceled due to this cold snap.

Because of the number of days canceled school have to make some of them up to meet the required amount of yearly school days. This is where Technology is making a very intriguing difference in my local school district.  ISD 192 (Farmington Area) has implemented an innovative digital learning platform involving iPads/iPad Minis for every student in the school district. The school district is going to make up the time by offering “Flexible Learning Days” to each student. This involves teachers providing students with a day of learning (digitally) to be completed anytime and anywhere within the time parameters set by the district. The learning experiences are customized to grade levels by the teachers.

You can read an online article about this by clicking on this link:
Snow days call for flexibility in Farmington By SunThisweek

Currently in Minnesota many school districts cannot offer this type of learning experience, only those with a digital platform even have the possibility, but may have more red tape to get through than ISD 192. Since the Farmington area was designated as an Innovation Zone by the Minnesota Department of Education they are in a position philosophically as well as mechanically/technologically to go forward with technological solutions such as Flexible Learning Days with much less rigamarole  than would normally be present.

Could this be the wave of the future? Is it a viable option? Looks like we will soon find out. On one hand I applaud the innovation and use of technology to create a way to keep students up to snuff with the required learning. On the other, I am a big proponent of R & R time being just that, rest and relaxation. Both hard word and adequate rest and recharge are necessary for people to be productive in a healthy, perpetuating manner. I would hate to see technology used in a way that becomes a line blurring method of removing that healthy balance.

What do you think about this use of technology? Will it be of great benefit to our education system? Could it be a slippery slope that we might wish to avoid? We welcome your thoughts, please reply in the reply section below.