Blue Valley School Board Candidates on the Issues: Technology in the Classroom



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In August, we asked our readers what questions you wanted to hear from candidates running for the Blue Valley School Board. Based on your feedback, we’ve developed a five-point questionnaire that addresses the issues that matter most to customers in the neighborhood.

Each day this week, we’ll be posting contestants’ answers to one of the five questions. Today we are posting the candidates’ answers to the following question:

What do you think of the role of technology in the classroom? Are you comfortable with the time students spend in front of screens during the school day? Why or why not?

Below are the responses the Post received from applicants on this question:

Member area 4

Andrew Van Der Laan

I was very skeptical of the 1: 1 Learner initiative when it first launched, and I couldn’t understand why the school district wanted to install three more screens in my house. Then the pandemic struck, my three children attended a virtual school, and I was extremely grateful that the school provided these resources. Technology has been crucial in educating all of our students during the pandemic.

As we return to the classroom, technology will continue to be key. Blended learning that integrates technology into the curriculum will help prepare our children for an increasingly digital future. We should distinguish between productive screen time and screen time used as a load or kickstand and make sure younger elementary students have less screen time.

Critics of educational technology often worry that students will not learn critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and other key skills. The answer to this concern is of course to invest in great teachers, because good teachers will always use technology as a tool for learning rather than an end goal.

Kaety bowers

Did not respond.

Member area 5

Gina Knapp

Technology is an essential component of education today. Blue Valley has been recognized as one of the top ten districts in the country for six of the past eight years by the National School Board Association and the Center for Digital Education. This is the result of the District’s efforts to bring technology into the classroom and provide teachers with the knowledge they need to make it successful.

Students have access to much more knowledge and learning strategies through technology. It is an advantage and I accept it. To be clear, kids aren’t just taught on screens. There is still a lot of hands-on learning, activities, worksheets and books still to use. We’re better at it all.

Christine Blanche

Christine White’s name will appear on the November 2 ballot, but she said she was not actively campaigning and would not accept the job if elected.

Member area 6

Lindsay weiss

As a parent, I know many of us struggle with screen time. I understand the interest in this subject – I have served a few terms on our Advisory Committee on Curriculum and Instruction Council and this subject is discussed extensively each year. Over time, I think Blue Valley has really refined their approach to technology in the classroom. Technology never replaces teaching, but can be applied in a conscious way, usually to improve learning or make it more effective.

During the pandemic, technology was a lifeline for our students. I have never been so grateful for 1: 1 devices. While districts across the country completely lost touch with their students for weeks, ours still had a connection to loved ones – their teachers and classmates – which made a time of uncertainty and anxiety a bit more. installed.

I have also found the neighborhood to be accommodating when technology is not the best fit for a student. I have a child who doesn’t do as well with online textbooks in courses that require a lot of reading. She always has the option of requesting a free hardcover manual, and that makes all the difference. I also know children who do better when they physically write their homework / papers rather than typing them on a device. It’s easy to do, even in Canvas, where kids can just take a photo of the assignment and upload it.

I think we have a responsibility to teach children how to use technology in their daily lives to prepare them for college and for careers and to teach them how to use it safely. I think Blue Valley has put in place an approach over time that accomplishes this and does it incrementally with age appropriate use.

Jim mcmullen

I am resolutely in the camp which favors limiting access to technologies for children in class for as long as possible for several reasons:

  1. Constant access to technology is fun
  2. Children have wide access to technology outside of school
  3. Research indicates much better information retention rates through the use of physical books and writing with pen and paper.

I recognize that I have a prejudice about how I learned as a child and also about how my older children learned in their early years. Our oldest kids were in middle school before there was any pressure to bring a lot of technology into the classroom. We can’t hide our heads in the sand and pretend that we don’t live in the age of technology, and there are technological learning aids that improve the learning process, so I’m not advocating one. classroom without technology.

Nonetheless, I think all of our children would develop better intellectually if our classrooms had very limited use of technology, and we trained them in all subjects relying heavily on the use of physical books, pens / pencils and paper.

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