Connected Classrooms in Texas
Learning in the digital age can be an enlightening experience. Students in Texas are about to find this out firsthand as the state’s board of education voted to make a digital learning experience available in classrooms across the state.
It has been announced the state of Texas will make a digital learning program named CINCH available statewide for use in grades 5-12. The CINCH program allows teachers to access lessons across all grade levels, enabling them to review, re-teach, or enrich their class as needed. It is a cloud-based curriculum that is compatible with most tablets, computers, and mobile devices, which will allow students to take the learning experience to a whole new level by being able to access content both inside and outside the classroom.
For teachers, the exciting part could be the ability to engage and interact with students beyond traditional means through social networking. The program includes educational games and social networking elements, including the ability to highlight content and spark a discussion that appears like a Facebook comment thread. This transcends what can be offered in the "traditional" digital textbook, and can cost less than conventional textbook programs.
This announcement is reflective of the transformation that is occurring it today’s classroom. As examined in the Sept/Oct issue of Connected World, the traditional classroom model is essentially being flipped upside down with students becoming producers of information, not just consumers and teachers becoming facilitators, in addition to their more traditional roles.
Only time will tell just how well connected devices incorporate into the traditional classroom setting, and the overall impact it will have on students and the education program. Some suggest learning in this new digital age will allow students to have greater control over their learning experience. Announcements such as this one in Texas could become part of a growing trend in the coming months, demonstrating the benefits and value of connected devices extend beyond just personal and professional use.