I recently took on a challenge that’s given new purpose and meaning to my life - the education of our kids via the Internet, or "distance learning". In an effort to find practical applications for the technology we have available in our community, I learned of curricula in math, science, history, reading and writing for K-8th graders that was available over the Internet. Educational curricula, that is approved by the state of Washington and supported by Seattle Public Schools, is now available through the Louise Jones McKinney Ethnic Learning Center.
For kids that don’t have computers at home, we loan Sony PlayStation equipment and curricula on CDROMs in the same subject areas. Enrollment in the program includes online assessment of each student and the development of individualized training plans. For example: a student may be reading at the 5th grade level, have a 7th grade level in math, and a 6th grade level in science. The individual training plan for this student can be tailored to meet their specific learning objectives in each subject area. What a novel idea!
Technology works best when it is adapted to situations that leverage human participation. In this case, lesson plans are prepared electronically for each student with interactive learning experiences that are available online. Students may login over the Internet from school, home, library or wherever they may be, using their unique name and password to access their individual lesson plans. Parents are encouraged to get involved at home. That’s distance learning!
Quizzes, exercises and educational games are available online in "living color", with animation, in both sound and video presentation formats. Immediate feedback is provided to students, and test results and achievement levels are available online for teachers, tutors and parents involved in the program.
We really can make a difference in the academic lives of our kids. We can support, aid and volunteer to be a visible presence in the after-school programs, designed to "close the gap" between what they learn in school and what they need to know to graduate and become productive citizens in our community.
Our kids deserve better! Pure intent, sacred intent, combined with the ownership of self-worth can move mountains. Let our intention be "to prepare and equip a generation of kids for leadership in our community, our nation, and our world." We have the tools. We have the knowledge. We have everything needed to begin, right now!
Let this be a new beginning. Not simply a response – a new beginning. One that recognizes and honors the fact that "We are all similar, but different; equal, but not the same; unique, expressions of life. We have value. We all count. We matter."
Twiggs and Associates Inc.
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