Persuading Funders to Support Your Technology Program Part 4: Student Engagement and DIY

Persuading Funders to Support Your Technology Program

Part 4: Student Engagement and DIY

–By Heather Chirtea and Eric Bird

Series blog –  4 of 6

–Sorry for the interruption in this series, we at Digital Wish though it was important to let our readers know about Digital Learning Day. Leave a comment with your plans for DLDay.

Our students, have never not been connected to the internet. Integrating technology into the classroom is essential to relating to our students. When phrasing this argument remind your audience that new technology is not only exciting for teachers, but for students as well. Also, the technology teaches our students that they are obligated to their own learning by having them be responsible for their own laptops.ITCir

Argument 5: Student Engagement – Students will engage because technology is relevant to the world they live in.  According to one principal, “Our students use the latest technology at home in their personal lives, and then check their devices at the school door and enter 1985.”  Either we allow technology, provide it, or we are outdated and our students will disengage from learning.

●      We need to raise student engagement.  The #1 reported gain from 1:1 computing initiatives is “raising student engagement.”

●      The decision to drop out of school is typically made at the middle school level.  We need to engage students before they ever make that decision.

●      Students need to see that school is relevant to the real world.  Schools cannot feel like “yesterday” if we are going to retain students.  85% of teens ages 12-17 engage in some form of electronic personal communication, including text messaging, emailing, or online social networking.  Yet students are faced with a pencil-and-paper education.  Relevant technology tools will inspire our students to learn and engage in their education.

●      It is educational malpractice.  To ignore or sweep aside technology has been labeled “educational malpractice.”  Look at what is important to the students.

●      Share student work with the public.  It speaks for itself!  Once community members, parents, and board members are shown student work created with technology first hand, there is little to argue about.  Have students attend meetings and present their own work.  They have as much of a stake in this as anyone else.

●      It’s practical.  Demonstrate how students use technology for meaningful activities – job preparation, business development, college preparation, and success with tech skills.

●      Provide survey data.  Be sure to collect data on your progress with technology and cite other studies.  Here is a data survey conducted by Digital Wish, studying improvements with 1:1 computing.  Digital Wish invites schools to freely cite these statistics.

Argument 6:  DIY – Do It Yourself – We must help ourselves as a community because no one else is going to do it.  If there is no Federal funding for technology, then this becomes a local community issue.  Either the community makes technology a priority, or it doesn’t get done.

●      Envision the students’ future.  Imagine what the kindergarten class is going to do for work when they graduate. Then ask “What should we be doing today to prepare students for success in that future environment?”

●      Envision the future of the community.  Communities need to question what will happen to their town if they don’t act now, and their graduates don’t develop the skills necessary to drive commerce forward in the town, or retain businesses in the area.  Some towns may even wither and die if the community doesn’t support technology now.  Let the kids tell it.  Invite a local business to describe the type of worker that they will need to hire.

In next week’s blog we will go over how to phrase arguments regarding individualized learning plans and the power of the internet.

Check out the Research:

This article is based on a national survey of 242 educators and administrators, interviews with 27 technology leaders, and our own personal experience implementing 1:1 computing programs in 30 schools. For more information check out our research in education technology.


Posted on January 15, 2014, in technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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