Despite the borough’s public school students having transitioned to digital technology at home, their schools continue to lag behind in integrating available technology into their curriculum, according to a report on the subject that Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams released this week.
The report, Digital Learning, found the schools are not fully integrated due to concerns about costs and ongoing professional development needs.
“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 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,” he added.
Adams’ analysis recommends that schools work with technology companies and the DOE’s technology department to develop a comprehensive plan for the introduction of digital learning devices.
Other recommendations in the report 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.
Adams plans to 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.
Additionally, at Adams’ request, Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon (Downtown Brooklyn, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens) has introduced A.09557 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 report follows previous efforts by Adams to support the integration of technology into public schools in Brooklyn. He organized a pilot program during the 2014-15 school year to establish textbook-free classrooms for approximately 250 students. And last November, Adams launched Code Brooklyn, a plan to give every public school student in Brooklyn the opportunity of learning how to code.