Moving education to the digital age

Technology is playing a larger and larger role in classrooms across the country.

Today, almost all students have their phones or a mobile device with them. Many bring their laptops to class and the Internet is widely regarded as the savior of the modern-day student. Because of this, here in Greenwich the public school system is becoming more receptive to this change in school environment.

The district has launched a major technology initiative, which aims to “build a personalized, digital learning environment to boost academic achievement and better prepare students for college and the workforce.”

Superintendent of Schools William McKersie recently said, “We must transform teaching and learning in Greenwich to prepare our students to identify and solve tough problems. … Problem solving will depend more and more on an array of digital resources that are accessed by individuals and by teams.”

The district is looking to accomplish this goal by putting a device into the hands of every student, teacher and administrator. Additionally, there will be support offered with the devices to help all three groups learn together. Although every school in the district is currently engaged in some form of digital learning, this new plan will advance and standardize all classrooms.

The digital learning initiative will roll out in three phases. The first phase, which just began, will bring Apple iPads to Hamilton Avenue and Riverside elementary schools. All students and faculty have received their devices and the tablets have come pre-loaded with the appropriate software and programs. Teachers, students and parents all demonstrated excitement at the start of the program, but the program does come with a large learning curve.

These schools must adjust to the new digital classroom. A frequent problem with using devices in class is maintaining focus. As an elementary school student, the temptation to become distracted is great, so the devices have been outfitted with the proper restrictions and limitations.

After the results from phase one are analyzed for any improvements, phase two will bring these tablets to sixth graders at the three middle schools across the district. Once again, any issues that come up can be addressed before the rollout of phase three, which brings devices to all schools in the district.

Ultimately the success of this program is contingent on support from all levels.

The students, faculty, parents and district must remain committed to transforming the Greenwich Public Schools into a digital learning district. The program could prove costly and time-consuming, but the value gained from the project will outweigh the costs.

It allows for collaboration, self-expression, greater depths of understanding and a more personalized education. For the district, this represents great forward progress and acknowledgment of the new direction of education. Being technologically skilled is an asset that will be expected of our generation when we enter the workforce. Using technology in coordination with education gives Greenwich Public School students a competitive advantage for the rest of their life.


Henry Ricciardi is a senior at Greenwich High School.

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