• actonacademyannarbor

Scared of tech in the classroom?

Oh yes. I'll never forget my first gut reaction to finding out there was tech in the Acton studios. I came from a place where I thought I knew what was best in a learning environment, and this did not include technology in the elementary level. Screen time in our household was very limited, with outdoor exploration and imaginative play made the priorities. I found myself in a position that put my views into question. Fear of the unknown was real. But, what I had learned in the months leading up to discovering Acton Academy was that I needed to ride the waves, not fight the current of life.

The most important test would be how my daughter fared. Would she thrive? Would the addition of tech have adverse effects? How could she learn reading and math using computer programs? I would have to take a step back and put my personal fears aside and allow her the room to discover whether this was the right fit.

What I quickly realized after only weeks was that my fears were unwarranted. She progressed at a rate that surprised me. She was beginning to love learning again! The technology I once feared now gave my daughter the independence and freedom she needed to grow in this self-directed learning environment. In the Acton Academy model, the computer allows her to own her learning journey. She can progress at a rate that is perfect for her, not what standardization tells us.

In a typical week in our studios, only a fraction of the schedule is carved out for computer usage. This time is spent on core studies (reading, math, spelling). Learners may choose what they need to work on according to personal goals and milestones, set by the learner rather than mandated by a teacher.

The progression among all of the learners continues to astound me. Heroes are advancing multiple grade levels, now finally given the freedom to do so. It's an amazing sight when a 7 year old can explain her learning goals and the challenges she must overcome in order to achieve them.

Our family continues to limit screen time at home. While other children are busy with homework, our nights are still filled with imaginary and outdoor play. The difference now? My girls are confident in their direction and path, not waiting for an authority to point them to it.

Erin Turri

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