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Headshot Young Girl

Denise Spina


United States

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The rapid pace of technological advancement creates a growing digital divide between students [and teachers] in schools and the broader community, particularly impacting non-teaching staff, parents, and those outside academic institutions who lack access to ongoing technology education. I saw this firsthand as I worked with my school’s paraprofessionals last year (see History of Transformation), a group that gets largely overlooked when it comes to authentic professional development, and have realized that this gap only gets wider the farther away you look from classroom instruction. The gap hinders communication, collaboration, and student success; students may not receive adequate support with technology at home, as parents and other supporting members of the community might struggle to understand the digital tools our children are using. Educators constantly need to stay up-to-date on evolving technology to effectively integrate it into our teaching practices, and even with our access to both in-district and outside training this can be difficult--I can’t imagine what it’s like to keep up as someone not directly entrenched in education. I am choosing Carnegie's challenge theme because I see an obstructive--and ever-growing--wall between schools and the rest of the community with regard to technology. For non-students, unless one is a teacher who is actively and consistently engaging in professional learning, or works in the world of technology in some capacity, it is easy to fall behind the constantly progressing technological advancements that our students are using.

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