The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

August 14, 2013

Tech and trust not the same in education


But how do you prepare students to use new tools while still ensuring their basic skills are solid?

For Joel Pedersen, superintendent of the Cardinal school district, balance is key. The district has clearly embraced technology, becoming one of the first in Iowa to issue every student in middle school and high school a laptop. That changed in 2012 to the Kuno tablets, and the district introduced a mobile app the same year.

This past spring, Cardinal students used Skype to talk live with an orphanage in Uganda. They spent a half-hour talking to people on a different continent eight hours ahead of southeast Iowa.

“We really feel like technology in some regards prepares students for the 21st-century skills that we need,” said Pedersen. “But technology cannot take the place of quality instruction.”

For Cardinal, the tablet blended those approaches better than other options. It allowed students to use software that was aimed at their education while screening other content out. There's another advantage as well, since it can help with students managing their assignments.

Technology can be a generational issue with younger people generally more willing to take on the challenge of mastering something new. That poses an additional hurdle for schools, which may have teachers with decades of experience in everything but technology.

Pedersen said that's where the district's leadership has to step up. Providing people with the tools doesn't mean much unless you are also willing to give people the chance to learn how to use them.

“The leadership in the school has to embrace technology. They have to be sure support is available,” he said. He added that even the support means little if the district isn't willing to ensure it is used.

For a lot of people, that's part of the concern. There's a limit to the trust given technology in schools. Everyone agrees it is necessary, but something interesting happens when you ask people about it: A clear distrust emerges. People fear schools are abandoning basic skills in a race for a technological edge.

Text Only
Local News
  • Eldon man gets five year prison term KEOSAUQUA — An Eldon man was sentenced to five years in prison in Van Buren District Court for his role in an October 2012 altercation in Selma, which escalated into shots being fired into the home or Randall Ritz, 11883 Bridge St., Selma. Donald E.

    July 23, 2014

  • Emergency council meeting Friday OTTUMWA — Ottumwa’s City Council will meet for a second time this week, this time to discuss an emergency problem at the city’s Water Pollution Control Facility. The special meeting will be conducted at 1 p.m. Friday in the council chambers. Earlier

    July 23, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be.The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew p

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday

    DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver's license services temporarily suspended KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office has notified the Iowa Department of Transportation that it has suspended driver’s license services due to staffing issues in the county treasurer’s office. It is anticipated suspension of the services

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Canoe Camp color photo -L -M -T Canoe Camp teaches water safety OTTUMWA — Six children at Pioneer Nature Area and Nature Center pond were making waves and getting wet as they flipped their canoes over in attempt to rescue each other. Since summertime and water activities go hand-in-hand, the goal of the activity

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

Photo reprints