Sign Up for Paperless Alerts
June 20, 2016
EXPANDING ON EFFORTS FROM HIS 2014-2015 TEXTBOOK-FREE PILOT IN BROOKLYN SCHOOLS, BOROUGH PRESIDENT LAYS OUT ANALYSIS TO ADDRESS ISSUES INCLUDING TEACHING METHODOLOGY, OWNERSHIP MODELS, FUNDING, TECHNICAL SUPPORT, AND INTERNET SECURITY
BROOKLYN, NY, June 20, 2016: Today, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams released a report on digital learning in schools that examines issues and strategies related to the introduction of tablet devices and related technology into New York City classrooms. As explained by “Digital Learning,” even as students have transitioned to digital technology at home, schools are not yet fully integrating available technology into the curriculum, often as a result of concerns about costs and ongoing professional development needs. Borough President Adams called his administration’s review of best practices in digital learning an essential supplement to properly planning for the infusion of public/private funding emanating from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Computer Science for All (CS4All) initiative, which aims to bring computer science education to every New York City public school student in the next ten years, as well as for achieving greater success with classroom instruction across a wide range of academic disciplines that could benefit from digital integration.
“Our schools are often disconnected from the tools of technology that define the lives of the young men and women who are now in school — we need to create and strengthen that connection,” said Borough President Adams. “The modern economy will require students to know and develop expertise in the language of zeroes and ones. We must prepare students in Brooklyn to compete with students from every other part of the world, and that means educating them in a digital method that they can best access and appreciate. There are real opportunities to advance our children’s education through digital learning devices, and we can capture them if we understand and work through the challenges that face teachers, administrators, and parents in implementing any new instructional method.”
Borough President Adams’ analysis recommends that schools work with technology companies and the New York City Department of Education (DOE)’s technology department to develop a comprehensive plan for the introduction of digital learning devices that includes an assessment of current infrastructure needs, professional development, metrics to track progress, and specific methods to share best practices. Other key recommendations include: implementing a controlled pilot program for digital device introduction in every school; allowing for the use of textbook funding to purchase digital devices in lieu of traditional hard-copy texts; developing a set of metrics to help track integration success; increasing district-level ability to support technology troubleshooting and repair services; avoiding reliance on a single manufacturer and/or curriculum provider, and providing schools with funding and programming for professional development.
Borough President Adams centered his report on a series of case studies about other school districts that have worked toward integrating technology into the classroom, demonstrating the need for a comprehensive strategy that provides for some flexibility within each school or classroom for educators to build a curriculum in which the use of technology increases student involvement in their lessons:
• A study of a classroom in Alberta, Canada, found that students learned best when the teachers had an opportunity to adapt to usage of tablet computers based on their needs.
• A fourth-grade teacher in Michigan explained that he could develop an application specifically for his students based on his lesson plans.
• A study of three schools in Chicago determined that students, particularly in the lower grades, derived substantial benefits from sharing tablets, which encouraged cooperation.
• A report from the Office of Educational Technology of the United States Department of Education advised that school should form partnerships with government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations to reduce the cost of digital learning.
• A private K-12 school in Georgia worked closely with parents to set a network security filter, and created a student advisory team to allow for the voicing of concerns and input.
The report furthers a multi-pronged effort by Borough President Adams to support the integration of technology into public schools in Brooklyn. He organized a pilot program during the 2014-15 school year funded through a public-private partnership between his office and Copia Interactive LLC, a digital learning platform provider, to establish textbook-free classrooms for approximately 250 students, with ten different teachers, at PS 196 Ten Eyck and MS 582 The Upper Academy, located jointly in East Williamsburg, as well as Eagle Academy for Young Men II in Brownsville; results of that effort revealed positive contributions to student engagement with reading, writing, and classroom discussion. Last November, Borough President Adams launched Code Brooklyn, his five-point plan to give every public school student in Brooklyn the opportunity of learning how to code. As part of that initiative, Brooklyn’s public schools claimed victory over Chicago Public Schools in a week-long challenge he issued last December to provide at least one hour of classroom instruction for computer science and the basics of coding, with more than eighty percent of the borough’s district schools participating.
Going forward, Borough President Adams will release an assessment conducted by his administration of the resources Brooklyn’s public schools need to develop comprehensive programs in computer science, such as STEM laboratories, smartboards, and advanced computers, with the intent to allocate resources from the capital budget based on that needs-based evaluation. Additionally, at his request, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon has introduced A.09557, a bill authorizing the commissioner of the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) to conduct a study regarding computer science curriculum within the state at all public and private schools offering instruction to kindergarten through twelfth grade. The bipartisan legislation, which has been referred to the Assembly’s Committee on Education, has also been sponsored by Assembly Members Peter Abbate, Charles Barron, Rodneyse Bichotte, Michael Blake, Vivian E. Cook, Marcos Crespo, Aileen Gunther, Earlene Hooper, Ellen Jaffee, Latoya Joyner, Donna Lupardo, Walter T. Mosley, Félix W. Ortiz, Edward P. Ra, Annette Robinson, Nily Rozic, Phillip G. Steck, Michaelle C. Solages, and Latrice Walker.
Borough President Adams’ report on digital learning in schools can be found at brooklyn-usa.org/reports.
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
p: (718) 802 3700 | f: (718) 802 3778