A proposed technology plan for Barrington’s school simply does not go far enough, according to a candidate for the School Committee.
“The most ambitious parts are left out,” said Paula Dominguez, referring to the draft version of the plan that can be seen on the Barrington Public School website.
“We’re picking the lowest-hanging fruit, and focusing on achievable goals only,” she said. “And I don’t see how technology is used in the classroom – what we’re doing right now.”
The Barrington Technology Plan, Dominguez said, has “cherry-picked the most doable. It doesn’t stir the waters. It doesn’t challenge the current classroom presence of technology.”
Although modeled after the National Education Technology Plan, she said, “it fails to include several key provisions that would require the district to go beyond incremental change.”
The draft technology plan seems to emphasize only the ways to do well in assessment tests, Dominguez said.
“The world’s best ideas need to be at our children’s fingertips, and technology can be our educators’ biggest ally in making this happen,” Dominguez said. “We need to emphasize more than hardware, software, and connectivity. We have to rethink basic assumptions about how we organize student and educator learning.
“We have to document when and how technology is used well in our schools,” she said. “We must ensure that there is an expectation that our educators have access to technology-based professional learning experiences throughout their careers and are skilled in teaching online. These important considerations are not reflected in the Barrington Technology Plan.”
Dominguez, who holds a doctoral degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said Barrington needs to press for “a broader, more aggressive use of technology for student learning, classroom instruction, educator professional development, and productivity.”
“We need to make the plan more provocative,” she said, “and not settle for incremental change. This is not about the PARCC assessment.”
Dominguez said she commends the contributions made by the people who put together the plan and have posted it online for public scrutiny.
“That’s what I’m doing,” Dominguez said.
And her review of the plan, she said, indicates that “the actions to be taken in Barrington fall short of a truly innovative approach to education technology.”
“Barrington schools need to think and act differently about how to use technology,” Dominguez said. “Otherwise, Barrington runs the risk of simply using technology to replicate existing aspects of the classroom environment, instead of unleashing new ways to build, capture, and share knowledge.”
“We are high-performing,” she said of the schools. “We don’t face the many challenges of other districts in Rhode Island. We have to see ourselves as among the five percent of the best districts in the U.S. That’s our peer group.”
“We must rethink the relationship between students and teachers,” she said. “We must expose kids to the best ideas.”
The draft technology plan does not show that, Dominguez said. More work needs to be done.