Davis speaks about how technology helps students open their minds (Photo by Henry Hikes)

Rafranz Davis speaks at METC about how technology helps students open their minds (Photo by Henry Behlmann)

(This is a follow-up to an earlier story. Click here to read it.)

Although my position at the METC Convention was to be a student reporter, I found myself enthralled in the words of Wednesday’s opening keynote presentation. The speaker was Rafranz Davis, who is the Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning for Lufkin Independent School District in Lufkin, Texas. Her talk was on the topic of how students are limited in their opportunities in the school setting.

After her presentation, I was able to talk to her face-to-face. After my conversation with her, I thought of what I would take away from her points, and I came up with three main points I believe to be the best for betterment of the school environment:

  1. Explore new technologies. The high school already highly incorporates technology into learning, but we are still somewhat limited to what we can use. The greatest example of this might be the blockage of YouTube on school laptops. Programs like YouTube offer many opportunities for students to showcase their talents through video production. If we are to open more applications for use, it would also require more staff involvement, but with the right training, that shouldn’t be impossible.
  2. Individualize learning. Not all students are alike, especially during the high school years. For example, some students may be better at a certain subject than others. They should have the opportunity to expand their learning in that subject if they believe they can advance themselves. Curriculum in the classroom should be less oriented toward the whole classroom, but instead toward the student as an individual.
  3. Give opportunities to explore different fields. What if there was a time during the school day that a student could explore and participate in activities that are based around what they are most interested in and what they are considering as a future career? These little sessions could be interactive learning sessions that take place once or twice every week. Allow students to decide what things they are interested in and let them go for it.

In my own opinion, I believe that every high school student has something they would like to study but can’t because the school doesn’t offer it. My solutions that I took away from my conversation with Ms. Davis help to show how it could be done. These things take work, but if enough people come together with a mind set on change, anything can become possible.

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