Readying students for college and career has been the focal point of K-12 education reform in recent years, and many new efforts feature technology in a starring role. Blended learning and new instructional strategies enabled by technology offer nontraditional ways for students to engage in curricular material.
As highlighted in NGLC’s ongoing series, Next Gen Tools, tech innovations are being used to help traditionally underserved students in classrooms across the country. It’s a challenging application for technology, since we know that traditionally underserved students benefit greatly from high-touch, interpersonal relationships. There is much to be learned still about how and whether these reforms are improving readiness for life after high school. The hope, however, is that with appropriate support, technology can allow students to drive their own learning, which could prepare them to drive their own path to college or career.
Technology can serve as a gateway to an up-to-date world of resources for students. The Internet and accessible devices continue to improve the breadth and depth of educational materials available to students and teachers. In blended learning classrooms, NGLC grantees like Summit Public Schools and EAA are harnessing open, online resources through digital learning management systems like Buzz and Activate Instruction. These platforms serve as gateways to playlists of online texts, videos, games, and other multimedia applications—curated by adults—that offer new ways for students to acquire core content knowledge.