Kathleen Miller, PhD – It’s not just about technology: It’s about Literacy
To the Editor:We applaud someone who gives millions to establish a school outside our country. We commend those who go to a foreign land to promote the learning of children. I know. My husband and I spent years in Mexico for the purpose of teaching children and adults.Let’s bring it closer to home. What about meeting the needs of a neighbor? OK, perhaps that’s getting too personal. However, here in the East Grand community is a need we all can contribute to. It is our schools and the technology mill levy that is on the voter ballot Nov. 3.The levy is not new. It is a continuation of the one passed in 2006. Its purpose is to continue the technology opportunities for the students in our community. But it’s not just about technology; it’s about literacy.An April 2009 survey by Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reported that three-quarters of adults use the Internet to keep up with news or personal finances. These same adults also connect to the Internet to relax and take their minds off the recession. They read and write. They are communicating with friends, gleaning information, and enjoying past times provided through the Internet.Young Americans in particular go online to chat with friends.Think of a professional job that does not use computer skills. Most professional jobs require e-mail, databases, and written communication, now mostly done through computers and on-line services.The East Grand School District has the technology to provide 21st century literacy skills. These 21st century skills include tools for obtaining and using information that will continue to flourish in the future. Five years ago I was teaching reading courses at Metropolitan State College in Denver. I decided to return to working in public school classrooms. Since then I have had the privilege of working in three states, five school districts, and 10 schools. Nowhere have I seen the technology applied to the extent as here in the East Grand Schools.We are exemplary. We need to continue this advantage, as well as maintain it. Not all our students have computers and Internet available at home. The National Literacy Trust (2007) states that one in 10 students does not have a computer at home. I know some of my students at East Grand Middle School do not have a home computer, nor do they have Internet access. These students must learn how to use technology at school. Students who do use technology at home can extend what they learn at school, thereby increasing their practice of reading and writing.We as a society are not reading and writing less; we are reading and writing more. We have more reasons to, not just on the job, but for social networking and personal pleasures.Now back to giving to others. Most of the time we do not think about giving thousands of dollars to children in other countries, but what we can do is vote yes on the continuation of the 2006 mill levy and support the tax to continue technology-and consequently literacy in our own schools. Instead of eating out, pack a lunch or eat at home. The savings will more than cover the cost of the tax we will pay. Let’s not be selfish. Let’s live to give and promote technology and literacy for all students in our schools.Kathleen Miller, PhDGranby
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