Over the last seven years, EducationSuperHighway has worked with school districts, service providers, and state and federal and policymakers to upgrade Internet access in public school classrooms across the U.S., so that every student has the opportunity to take advantage of the promise of digital learning.
But what does that digital learning look like now that 99% of public school classrooms are equipped with reliable technology? To find out, we talked to teachers, principals, technology directors, and superintendents all over the country – in large urban schools, remote rural districts, and everything in between – about how they’re using digital learning tools and strategies in their classrooms.
We’re sharing our findings on this interactive map, developed in partnership with the Alliance for Excellent Education. The map features one snapshot of digital learning in each state and Washington, DC.
The snapshots show just a few examples of inspiring things happening in U.S. classrooms: A middle schooler in New Mexico created an app to help her classmates track their sugar consumption; elementary school students in Hawaii may have figured out how to cool their classrooms without air conditioning; teachers in Massachusetts are using apps to help some autistic students become verbal; high school students in Michigan create audio and video commercials to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research.
One recurring theme in these stories is that technology is a means to an end: Learning. As a Vermont technology integration specialist told us, “Tech doesn’t drive the bus. The curriculum drives the bus.” In the words of a Georgia high school principal, “It’s about the steak, not the sizzle.” Another theme is how digital learning provides greater access and equity, especially in schools and districts with large numbers of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. Even if students don’t have devices at home, they can take advantage of digital learning in their classrooms and gain valuable 21st-century skills. Finally, because these digital learning tools and strategies are so engaging, students are using them to work together to solve real-world problems.
We hope you’ll take some time to click around the map to learn about the wide variety of digital learning successes in American classrooms – and be inspired to implement some new tools and approaches of your own.