Digital classrooms

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In “Wiring Students for Success,” Jimmy Sarakatsannis, an associate principal in McKinsey & Co.’s office in Washington, DC, writes: “Thanks to digital technology, we’re within sight of being able to personalize learning so that each student gets exactly what he or she needs, which is what good teachers have strived for since the invention of chalk and blackboards.”

Sarakatsannis also says: “All great teaching boils down to a 4-step, cyclical process. The first step is understanding what students need to learn. The second step involves sharing this information in a manner that students can take in. The third step is practice, giving students the chance to engage in content and master their new skills. The fourth is feedback, so that mistakes can be corrected and students can progress. This is what great teachers strive for—and what emerging technologies can help them attain. If I were teaching in a tech-enabled classroom today, I would see easy-to-interpret data that identified each of my students’ needs every day. I would share that data, allowing each student to see exactly how much of the curriculum he or she had mastered and what challenges still remained. The same software that produces these reports would suggest materials and activities tailored to individual needs.”

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