Parent, Cockeysville Middle School
My son is a seventh grader at Cockeysville Middle School, and he started with his device at the beginning of 6th grade. My daughter is a sophomore at Dulaney High School, and went through 3 years at Cockeysville Middle without the use of a device. As it is very difficult to compare their experiences, due to the fact that they are different people and also different regarding their academic achievement and overall levels of motivation, I can speak regarding what I know about how the devices are used in the classroom and for homework.
Because my son was not naturally someone who would type assignments or readily perform research using the interment prior to 6th grade, it is gratifying to see him more comfortably doing both of these things at this point.
As both a Consulting Teacher, who works with new teachers all over the county and receives professional development regarding the integration of technology into the classroom, and a parent who has observed classes during American Education week, I have also observed in-class use of the devices. Most of what I have seen, such as student collaboration, research, assessment tools, and various projects, has been positive, and I truly believe that this technology can be and is being used to enhance learning.
Of course, I have concerns that revolve around budget (infrastructure, repairs, extra staff), authenticity (too much screen time as it is, students need more human interaction), and misuse (students doing things on their devices other than what is assigned), but I’m hopeful that, as we move forward, not only will students become more comfortable using their devices, but teachers will continue to streamline their integration during lessons, and decrease the idea of using the technology for technology sake.
Overall, I feel positive about this new initiative, and look forward to a future in which all students are able to participate and succeed.