In Norwalk Public Schools, digital learning is a core part of the curriculum, with personalized math programs in the middle schools, blended learning in the high schools, and a comprehensive and digitally enabled career pathway program. “Digital learning is critical,” says Doug Casey, the executive director of the CT Commission for Educational Technology, “And I would almost say that we should stop calling it digital learning and just call it learning.”
At Norwalk Public Schools, students can earn EMT and other medical certifications, get certified in Adobe Pro, or even learn how to run a radio station – all of which increase student engagement and are made possible by their proficiency in technology. And in the state’s first Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) school, students take online college courses, often never meeting their professors in person. In one class, a P-TECH student designed an affordable housing unit that could have been built and implemented in Norwalk.
Thanks to digital learning and an engaged student body, the high school now boasts a graduation rate of almost 100%, and has enabled nearly 20% of its students to graduate with AAS degrees in mobile programming or software engineering – which students can and then transfer to a four-year college or enter the workforce with the skills they need to succeed.