We are a Title I school whose student population runs the gamut as it pertains to ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic status.
We are the school that love built.
There are a number of students who come from homes where there are no English speaking parents, some of our students arrive on their first day not understanding a word that's being spoken to them. Over half of our students receive free or reduced lunch. We have students who have no home at all and spend their time away from us moving from shelter to shelter. We have students who arrive so early that they are waiting when the first staff member arrives to unlock the building. Often, our morning duties include adjusting clothing or making sure shoes are on the right feet for students who have been responsible for waking themselves and getting to school on time. Our school also serves a large military population, which brings with it, it's own set of unique challenges.
Despite all of these things our children arrive each day excited to see us and eager to learn.
Many of the students I work with use a computer program in addition to the small group instruction that they receive. We have ChromeBooks as well as a limited amount of additional technology available for the students to complete their online programs. I desire to have additioanl iPads for them because there are additional technological resources that I can access that will help to enhance my students’ learning experience. Additionally, along with my math students, part of my day is spent with several very special students who are greatly deficient in basic phonics skills. As a result other academic areas suffer, leading to decreased confidence and self-esteem in these children, many of whom are already coming to us with social and economic disadvantages. Research has shown that greater access to technology can be beneficial for children in many ways. These ways include but are not limited to- leveling the playing field for disadvantaged students and reluctant learners, and improving student engagement.
Student engagement is improved because often students who feel inadequate in so many areas have regularly been exposed, even if they lack readily available access, to technology their entire lives.
While they may find it challenging to navigate academic terrain, the technology piece at least brings the information to them in a medium they are familiar and comfortable with, allowing them to come to a challenge with less trepidation. Technology can help to level the playing field by making differentiation less strenuous and less obvious, minimizing stigma among students who may be working below grade level, in addition to this, another advantage is that it allows teachers immediate access to the latest educational advances which benefits the students whose lives they will impact.
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