District’s investment in technology lays foundation for the future

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Over the last 20 years, the changes to the ways our society lives, works and plays can increasingly be measured in gigabytes and teraflops.

A microchip lies at the heart of nearly everything that powers our country, from the cellphone that serve as our alarms in the morning, to the cash register that rings up the sandwich you bought for lunch, to even the cable box that delivers your favorite primetime television show at night.

Shouldn’t these advancements in computing and networking also power children’s education?

The leaders of Dowagiac Union Schools appear to have answered this question with a resounding yes.

The administration has spent this past year purhcasing new Chromebook laptops for its elementary, middle school and high school English classrooms, following the recommendation of its teaching staff. The district bought 14 carts containing the computers, which add more than 400 of these devices to the district’s existing fleet.

Powered through Google’s suite of web-based software, these devices will allow students to research and write up reports for their classes, without having to rely on using their devices at home or spend time at a computer lab. This undoubtedly benefit students, especially those living in lower income households that lack access to high-speed internet.

According to Superintendent Paul Hartsig, these new Chromebooks will help also the district achieve its ultimate goal of providing an electronic device to everyone of its students.

Over the last several years, the district has been putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to investing in innovative ways to improve the classroom experience. Five years ago, the district began teaching using Chromebooks into the instruction at the high school and middle school; it also began deploying computer powered “smart boards” in many of its classrooms, combining the fidelity of a projector with the interactivity of a traditional blackboard.

All in all, this increased focus on digital learning technologies will improve the classroom experience for both teachers and students. It will reduce the need for paper, pencils and other school supplies that place a strain on school and family budgets. It will also make communication and collaboration between students, parents and teachers that much easier as well.

Perhaps most importantly, though, is that exposing children to the cutting edge-devices will better prepare them for the 21st Century job market.

Because, if the last 20 years have shown us anything, its that the digital-revolution isn’t slowing down anytime soon.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.