5 Reasons to be Thankful in Education

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 -- Scott Sterling

The magical time of year is upon us again. Before our psyches are shredded by football games, tryptophan hangovers, and Black Friday shopping, it’s important to remind ourselves to be thankful. It is, after all, the reason for the holiday. In no other field is that more important than education. Let’s face it: if you don’t keep reinforcing the fire for the classroom, you’re going to burn out. So here are five great reasons for educators to be thankful on this Thanksgiving.

1.     The research is showing that technology works
The evidence is mounting, not only in this blog but also from other independent sources that the use of technology in education is helping to bridge learning gaps that were difficult, if not impossible, for educators to address before. Obviously, that success depends on the solutions you have chosen for your school or classroom. But you would be hard-pressed to find a teacher that has not found some sort of technological solution that helps students make gains.

2.     It’s easier for children to access that technology
We all remember the days of the computer lab, followed by the laptop cart. While many schools still use these systems very efficiently, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the way forward is for students to be able to bring their own devices and use them effectively in class. This technology is still new but could hold the key to solving the funding issues that arise in any technology adoption cycle.

3.     We understand more about the childhood brain than ever before
Thanks to the study of brain plasticity, we are coming closer to finding the secrets to the childhood development of the brain. Through this research, it appears that good teachers have been right all along: no child is a lost cause and any child can learn new skills and behaviors at any time in their school career. It does take a good understanding of best practices, and perhaps some new software, to access these skills and behaviors. But gains are possible in any student.

4.     Threats to educational funding are tapering off
It may not be true everywhere, but nationally per-student funding is on the rise. The federal government seems poised to continue investing in public education and has made numerous programs and grants available. That focus should continue after the results of the recent election. Obviously, state governments differ in their valuation of public education, so there is plenty of work left to do in that arena.

5.     After Turkey Day, there’s another three days before you have to go back in!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.