In today's digital age, we're allowing students to access learning by using today's tools for classroom innovation.
"Access Learning" was previously known as the Common Core Digital Curriculum, a program for which Hawaii's Department of Education (DOE) selected Moanalua Middle School, along with seven other schools.
It has helped bring new opportunities to our staffers by elevating their craft in integrating
Hawaii Common Core standards with technology this school year.
In addition to selecting us for Access Learning, the DOE also gave us the flexibility to submit our preferences for the devices. This honored our school's request for the type of devices that fit with our school's technology plan.
I cannot emphasize how much value the training and professional development has brought, and continues to bring, to our staff.
It is imperative that educators — administrators included — master the technology before handing the devices to our students; anything less would be akin to putting a car in "drive" before knowing how to operate the vehicle.
Professional development with these devices at Moanalua Middle has been going extremely well, and contrary to criticism that suggested progress is behind schedule, we are on track for a spring deployment to our students, which has been the plan from Day One.
The program has also had a positive effect on staff. Teachers were extremely happy to receive their digital devices. It motivated them to continue to increase their skills in technology, as well as prepare them for the implementation of the 1:1 rollout.
Back in February 2013, our staff started going paperless and putting their work on Google Docs to exchange ideas, curriculum and other notes. The computers have allowed teachers to be more collaborative, which translates into more efficiency and effectiveness in our classrooms.
More important, Access Learning will cover all content areas for our students, not just English language arts and math.
As my fellow principal Chad Farias of Keaau Elementary School can attest, the use of
digital devices has been a tremendous help in accelerating students' love of learning, which often leads to higher achievement and better attendance.
The importance of technology in today's world cannot be stressed enough. We as educators have a responsibility to ensure that students are prepared for life after school.
Many of our students are already on a path of being technologically savvy. We must make sure that they are good digital citizens, and this pilot program allows us to enforce that lesson.
We at Moanalua Middle are proud to have been selected for this very important endeavor.
The commitment to lifelong learning is reinforced every day in our classrooms, and we take this opportunity seriously.