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Yesterday in Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee we discussed School Technology Programs and the low utilization of effective reading software in our classrooms.

Somewhat like antibiotics, when the reading software is used as prescribed (called “fidelity”) it can have miraculous results, but using more or less than the recommended dose will not achieve the desired results and may even harm a student’s learning experience.

Exasperated at continued reports of low fidelity, and the entrenched 19th century paradigm of learning that harms our kids, I asked the presenter a tongue-in-cheek question, “Are we going to have to wait like Moses did, wandering 40 years in the wilderness for the old ones to die off before we can really embrace this with fidelity?”

Reaction from the usual suspects was predictable and ridiculous. However, upon reflection, I could have chosen my words more carefully.

Obviously, nobody wants teachers to die. My mother was a reading recovery 2nd-grade teacher and a single mom who worked wonders with her students. I would hope that even she would have recognized the importance and value of these new tools and use them with fidelity to the benefit of the students she cared about so much.

Technology is an integral, unstoppable force in our economy, and it’s not going away. Today’s students are digital natives and should not be required to ‘power-down’ when they enter the classroom. The old paradigm of “just in case learning” has been shattered by the digital age. Educators and students need to embrace a new paradigm of “just in time” learning (Google it) through the use of technology.  They will need to adapt, or be left behind – and their choices will impact all of us.

Want more? 

I will be interviewing a teacher this Saturday at 8:00 AM on Red Meat radio (860am). We will be discussing how she effectively implemented this new reading software at her Title One school and watched as her forty-two students increased an average of 2.5-grade levels in one single year.  Wake up early and join the discussion.