Are Tennessee Schools Setting the Bar for Technology Equity in Education?

eduIt is no surprise that American children need to learn about technology as part of their primary and secondary education. The world is changing and technology is leading the charge; and American children are actually not as well-educated in this field as children in other countries. American children may have more “experience” with technology, but they are not necessarily receiving enough education on the subject.

Technology education, of course, involves training in building and maintenance of machines as well as programming software. And in America, the availability of technology for students is one of the greatest economic disparities we can see.

In Tennessee, though, the State School Board Association has launched a new digital library to help improve visual aids for students. The plan is to offer free digital textbooks, virtual lectures, and online lesson plans for at least 14 high school courses which can be updated each year. This should help the school district keep in line with other—perhaps more advantaged—districts in the country as standards shift and policies change.

According to American Public Education Foundation president, David Pickler, this move is “absolutely about equity.” The APEF is a group of local Tennessee teachers aimed at developing resources.

He says, “Most districts across the state are dealing with incredible budget challenges. This is going to allow districts to be able to redeploy dollars that would have been used for textbooks and…invest in ways that can help every child get that great public education experience.”

The resources available in this program were developed by nearly 5 dozen Tennessee teachers who were nominated by their school superintendents and then reviewed by the Tennessee Department of Education. Course materials in Math and English had been designed, of course, to align with the state’s most recent academic standards—approved just this Spring—on its way to schools by 2017.

Pickler goes on to say, “The tools are out there on the internet that can deliver great content,” adding that the new digital library ensures “a process to make sure it’s curated, that it’s aligned with Tennessee standards, so teachers can spend time their time, their focus on the needs of children.”

He also notes that this is the “beginning of the journey of life after Common Core,” and that these new standards begin to set a fine example other states can follow.