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STEP Initiative Spurns Digital Learning at Tohono O’odham High School

Mountain (DST)
Students in a classroom using laptops.

On this Digital Learning Day, we’re providing an update on the impact of the technology upgrades and increased virtual capabilities provided by the Bureau of Indian Education for students and staff. The BIE’s efforts across the country have reduced the opportunity gap, increased student self-advocacy and empowered Tribal leaders for future generations.

Our school received improved digital connectivity and updated IT infrastructure, including increased internet capabilities and speed. Each student now has a dedicated laptop or tablet, bringing our classrooms to a one-to-one tech ratio. The 2023-24 academic year is the first time we have used these expanded technologies and digital learning strategies, and our students have exceled in their academics and creativity.

Our students transitioned well into using a new online learning system and strategies that bring together technology and in-classroom experiences. Students are able to engage more and complete their assignments faster. These new strategies have provided our students opportunities to expand their creative thinking and independent learning skills.

Remote learning is now possible, and our teachers have taken advantage of it this school year. Students have continued to attend class virtually despite circumstances that made in-person learning difficult or impossible, meaning fewer missed days.

Overall, communication has improved between students, staff and families in our community by making collaboration easy. Caregivers can check on their student’s grades and communicate at any time with their child’s teacher in one digital space, leading to increased parent and guardian involvement.

Thanks to new technology and skills for both students and staff, our students are better prepared for life beyond school with the ability to merge digital and in-person experiences at post-secondary educational institutions and in the workforce.

In a world with digital technology at everyone’s fingertips, these improvements have bridged crucial gaps to propel our students’ educational experience into the 21st century.

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