At last night’s meeting, the School Board voted 6-1 to approve the Transformational Technology plan. I voted against the plan. I expressed concern about the cost and financial sustainability of the project, about the additional demands on teachers, and about the educational effectiveness of the devices. I raised the possibility of a smaller scale pilot program to explore the best uses of the emerging technology, and of a BYOD program that would limit redundancies by allowing students to use devices that they already own.
As I said last night, “Yes, the technology is engaging for students. But so are good teachers. Yes, the technology is interactive. But so are good teachers. Yes, the technology is adaptive. But so are good teachers.” I stand by the words of computer and information scientist Kentaro Toyama that I quoted last night: “Without good teachers, education fails; with good teachers, education succeeds. Technology is largely irrelevant to this equation.”
But now that a decision has been made, I’m behind it one hundred percent. I’m committed to seeing that the plan is a success, and that our students benefit from it. I’ll continue to follow it closely to see that the plan is well implemented, that teachers are well supported, and that the results are adequately assessed.
Last night’s vote wasn’t unanimous, but I believe the School Board is always unanimous in its intention to do what’s best for students in the Northfield Public Schools. Now that a direction has been set, we’ll move forward together with the same goal in mind.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours thinking about the Transformational Technology since the beginning of December, but not even close to the number of hours Matt Hillmann has spent on the proposal over the past year. I’ve appreciated Matt’s leadership, his vision and attention to detail, and I’ve enjoyed our frequent discussions about the technology proposal. I’m looking forward to working with him to ensure the success of the technology plan.
You can find out more about last night’s meeting from Ashley Klemer’s story in the Northfield News, “Northfield School Board approves Transformational Technology proposal,” from Corey Butler’s recap on Northfield Patch, “School Board Approves iPads for Students,” and from Griff Wigley’s post on the Transformational Technology blog, “School Board approves Transformational Technology proposal 6-1.”