To ensure that North Carolina has the highest quality teachers and school administrators, it’s essential that the state’s training programs and licensing requirements be constantly reviewed and refined. House Bill 23, which passed the House unanimously, addresses that mandate by updating these existing standards to include modern advances in digital learning technology. Governor Pat McCrory signed the bill into law on March 15.
“Digital learning” is any classroom practice that relies primarily on digital technology to teach students — using iPads to replace textbooks is an increasingly common example. More than 2,500 school districts across the nation are now using these kinds of technologies to teach their students: “Our kids are telling us, ‘This is how we learn. This is what we want,’ ” observed Durham Public Schools Superintendent Eric Becoats. “You can actually dissect a frog on the iPad. That was amazing to me.”
Teachers can also use tablet devices in the classroom to administer exams, take attendance, communicate directly with parents, and distribute grade reports — among many other things. It’s been shown that students with learning disabilities particularly benefit from their use.
Teachers who know how to use 21st century technologies will be better prepared to teach 21st century students; the new law directs the State Board of Education to develop these new programs and licensing requirements to be in place for the 2017-2018 school year.