Q & A With E-Learning Expert, Dr. Jennifer Winward

Thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with our community, Dr. Winward! To kick things off, how would you describe the role of technology in learning?

Technology should only play a role in education if it’s executed in a way that intentionally enhances the effectiveness of learning.

What skill do you think is most crucial for today’s students to learn?

Based on what I’ve seen and heard, today’s students consistently need to work on their writing skills.

Dr. Jennifer Winward, Founder of Winward Academy

Do you think there’s a relationship between this deterioration in writing skills and the fact that teens spend so much time communicating informally on their devices?

The introduction of autocorrect and texting slang like “ur welcome” definitely don’t help youth learn and practice their writing skills. As formality has been removed from daily communication, we’ve seen those effects seep into students’ writing with a dramatic reduction in the use of standard English.

What was your goal in developing Winward Academy?

My goal was to combine the best of education with the best of technology.

How should teachers and parents balance personalized learning with digital tools and curricula?

As I noted earlier, education must come first.

A major struggle for parents is how to prevent tech from causing distractions in the classroom or during homework time. Do you have any tips for how parents can balance the good and bad of technology?

Absolutely. Here are three tips for how parents can strike a balance between the advantages and disadvantages of tech:

  1. Parents need to act as role models for how their kids use technology. If parents have their cell phones out at the dinner table, then that’s the example they’re setting of what’s acceptable.
  2. Parents should look for ways to balance online and offline activities. Technology can certainly bring people together (watching a movie, taking photos, playing a Wii bowling game), but it must be followed up with offline engagement like talking about the movie, making a photo collage, or spending a family Friday night at an actual bowling alley.
  3. Parents should also set limits for when and how much technology can be consumed. We must make sure that time on devices is not taking away from in-person communication and connection. Resources like OurPact can help parents set limits by blocking social media and iMessage during school hours and homework time.

How can families leverage the Winward Academy platform to provide more opportunities for their kids?

Technology like that offered in the Winward Academy platform ensures reliability and consistency of lessons with a resource that’s always accessible and accurate. This technology can be used to better prepare students and to ease the anxiety and stress surrounding test prep and the college application process.

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