Is there an "app" for education?
On September 3, the New York Times published an article entitled, “In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores,” about the effectiveness of technology in the classroom. In spite of a significant investment in technology to enhance education and tremendous expectations that technology would improve achievement levels, there is no proof that this investment has resulted in better outcomes. I suppose we can’t help, but want to do everything possible to help our students achieve academically. Computers, handheld “smart” devices and software applications are ubiquitous. Somehow in a world of “early adaptors” we have been lulled into think that there is an “app” (application) for everything including education! But alas there is no app for that. There is no substitute for a dedicated teacher, a strong and solid curriculum, and a supportive environment starting with the family.
This is not to say that there isn’t a good reason to provide our students with all the technological bells and whistles that we can. In our very individualized educational program at Hillsides Education Center, we are constantly soliciting support to enhance our instructional technological capacity. But these tools have little impact compared to the extraordinary efforts and commitment of all on our school staff who stay focused on the specific educational and behavioral challenges that our students and residents confront, regardless of whether the smart board is state of the art or not!
I am happy to report that the smart boards are functioning well, that we are “wired” and keen on utilizing all that technology can offer in the educational setting. However, do not be deceived; the greatest factor contributing to the success of our students is the talented and dedicated cadre of teachers and education staff that skillfully leverage all at our disposal to help our students achieve much.
Hillsides Education Center is one of our greatest assets. Without it, we would be significantly handicapped in our efforts to support our residents and day students make it through a very challenging time in their lives. All our efforts to subsidize the inadequate funding we receive from fiscally strapped school districts is worth it when we see a student overcome their phobia of school, develop a sense of academic achievement and, more importantly, grow in their self esteem.