Tech levy prepares students for future | Guest column

By Riley Germanis, Students for Federal Way Schools

I can’t even imagine a classroom without projectors, computers or the Internet. How well could schools educate students without high functioning tools such as these?

Years ago, there was never a question of the necessity of technology. We didn’t have it — no one did. It wasn’t an integral part of the learning process just a very short while ago.

But today’s learning environment is different. Washington state requires technology be available and taught in the classroom (as they should), but unfortunately they fail to fund it. That means the financial burden falls back on to the community. This lack of will on the part of our Legislature should not translate into a disadvantage for our students.

That is why I encourage you to vote yes on the replacement technology levy in Federal Way. These dollars will not only provide classroom essentials, but will also offer training to teachers to incorporate technology into their teaching as well as improve the connection and data transmission feeds within the school buildings.

This spring, I will be a graduate of the Federal Way School District. I started elementary school at Sherwood Forest, went on to Illahee Middle School and will end my time with Federal Way schools at Todd Beamer High School. I have personally seen the improvements in technology that were offered from the last technology levy that was approved six years ago. In just the past year, several of our classroom computers were updated to support Windows 2007 (they had been running on Windows 2000). We now have ELMOs and online access to grades and assignments.

The competition for college and job access confronting me and my generation is intense. I can’t even imagine what challenges the class of 2017 will face when entering higher education, especially if the programs and hardware they are using are outdated and lack relevancy. It would be such a shame to keep upcoming students from having the same opportunities we have had.

Some may argue that technology just gets in the way of real learning. I respectfully disagree. Although technology can be used in many fun ways, it has become a method of communication and learning for my generation and a standard part of our modern society. I recently read an article from the Department of Education where the chief technology officer from the White House stated, “Technology is core and essential to the strategies we are using to reform education.” Any teacher will easily attest to the fact that even simple technological advancements have made teaching easier and have improved classroom education.

Technology is also helping many students who may not typically do well in a classroom setting. The United States Department of Education tells us: “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” Programs such as Federal Way’s Internet Academy and the newest addition to our district, the TAF Academy, are clear examples of how technology assists all students in learning.

Previous generations may have thought the introduction of the telephone and the television were simply diversions, but these have become important tools in our everyday lives. We need to look beyond today and see into the future. We need to prepare students for a technological future we can’t even envision today.

Don’t leave the students of Federal Way behind. Vote yes by Feb. 9 and support this replacement technology levy.

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