Put Learning on a Mission This School Year

09 Sep 2015 | Charles Herget

Tagged: Aspire Mentoring Academy, Possibilities, Aspire,

The first day of school was one of my favorite days of the year. There was always an air of excitement and possibility as I arrived at my new classroom armed with my “tools”—the pencils, pens, calculator and notebooks that would help me tackle new ideas and challenges.

I’m not sure if the latest tablets or smartphones have as much computing power as Apollo 11, the first spacecraft to land on the moon, but I bet they’re close.

The world has changed quite drastically since then. My kids go to school with different tools to learn different skills than I did. They are spending more time perfecting their coding skills than their cursive handwriting. Students today have the opportunity to excel and create like never before. However, they need to have access to the technology that allows for this and they need to be trained to use it.

AT&T, as part of its AT&T Aspire initiative, is helping to make this a reality by investing more than $20 million in students and teachers this fall. From new tools that let students learn on the go—so students can learn whenever and wherever they are—to using apps to make the curriculum more appropriate, there are many ways that mobile technology can benefit students, educators and parents. Here are three:

  • A more personal learning experience: Technology personalizes our daily lives and now allows teachers and parents to do the same for each student. By using online curriculum, students can learn at their own pace, go back to review content, ask questions and interact in new ways with their classmates and teachers. We’re rolling out new resources and an innovative teacher training program with Curriki, an online community that aims to personalize learning to help students reach their full potential. Middle- and high-school students will have access—at any time and free of charge—to Curriki’s new suite of math content. And, middle-school teachers will gain access to a self-paced training program to lay the groundwork for students to learn coding skills.
  • Support and guidance anytime, anywhere: Mobile tools keep us connected almost all of the time. This not only allows students to learn wherever they are, it can also help them stay connected to caring adults when they need support. We’re investing in Get Schooled’s “Text for Help” Virtual Guidance Counselor program. Research shows that helping students motivate themselves to succeed at school makes an impact on their likelihood of graduating and pursuing their dreams.
  • Attention to social and emotional health: When anyone is frustrated, worried or anxious, it is distracting. For students, their learning suffers. We’ve worked with Momentous Institute and its nationally acclaimed Momentous School to develop three free apps that can help students manage stress and other emotions. Breathing Bubbles, Settle Your Glitter and Pass the Drop allow students to take a moment to recognize their emotions and refocus on the task at hand.

I’m not sure if the latest tablets or smartphones have as much computing power as Apollo 11, the first spacecraft to land on the moon, but I bet they’re close. It’s incredible what was accomplished on that mission – with that technology. Now imagine what every student could do with that level of technology in their hands.

Companies of all sizes have transformed their business by utilizing technology – it’s time for education to do the same. Stay tuned for more information on what we have coming throughout the year.

About the Author

Charles Herget



Charles is the Associate Vice President of Education Leadership at AT&T and is in Dallas, TX.

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