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Digital Tools Making An Impact

Changing times call for new tools to enhance learning, and thanks to the Access Learning pilot program, the state DOE has gained insight into the positive impact of technology in the classroom.

Formerly known as Hawaii Common Core digital curriculum pilot, Access Learning was implemented last semester at eight public schools, including Mililani Waena and Mililani Mauka elementary, to help the DOE “lay the groundwork for next steps toward technology integration into curriculum and schools.” Also participating are Keaau High, Nanaikapono, Pahoa and Nanakuli elementary, Nanakuli High and Intermediate, and Moanalua Middle School.

According to Mililani Waena principal Dale Castro, his school used Access Learning to help students apply their knowledge from classroom instruction to real-life scenarios.

“I feel that providing access to all students with this tool for learning has opened up pathways that could not have been done in piecemeal,” he said. “What’s really intriguing is that this opportunity has no boundaries. As our teachers continue to learn alongside with the students, who knows where their collective inquiry will lead?”

The addition of technical components allowed students and teachers to venture outside the traditional textbook. Teaching focused on digital lessons and partnerships with local police departments to safeguard computers, which have advanced security-tracking software.

“I saw the value of focusing learning on the Common Core Standards through a digital format as a necessary next step to moving my school to higher levels of learning performance,” Castro added. “I knew, as a participant in the pilot, that we had a dual responsibility of upholding the professional integrity for our students and school community.”

Funds were used to help buy computers, aid with curriculum costs and offer technical support and professional development.

Because of Access Learning’s success thus far, the Legislature is considering pouring in an additional $600,000 for professional development and technology support services identified as areas of need by the schools.

“Access Learning has truly raised excitement among students and educators,” said schools superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, “opening doors to new, relevant and original learning opportunities.”