In recent years, Florida has upgraded its digital learning policies. Legislation passed in 2014 required districts to come up with digital classroom plans. The idea was that if they were going to get extra state funding to buy computers or boost their bandwidth, they would need to tie their spending to real changes in the classroom.
Now, some key lawmakers and officials say its’ time for the state’s digital learning policies to move into a new phase.
“It’s not money alone,” said state Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz, who chairs the senate Education Committee. “We’re looking at how we integrate technology into the DNA of schools.”
Students arriving at elementary schools have lived their entire lives in a world where smartphones and tablets are ubiquitous, and where computer science is a new form of literacy. That means teachers need to be trained differently, Legg said, and students need more access to courses in subjects like computer science.
John Padget, the vice chairman of the state Board of Education, sounded similar notes last week during the board’s meeting in Gainesville. He cited a recent Gallup poll, commissioned by Google, which found parents seem to value computer science more than their local schools.
Among the findings:
Two-thirds of parents think computer science should be required learning in schools. Parents in lower-income households are even more likely to have this view. Many students expect to learn computer science and to use it in their future career in some way.
Despite this high level of interest, many school and district administrators do not perceive a high level of demand for computer science education among students and parents in their communities. … Less than half of principals and superintendents surveyed say their school board thinks offering computer science education is important.