Home / Education Philosophy / Education and Technology: Finding a Balance at Compass


As I wished my New Year’s Eve party guests a happy new year, a family friend cornered me.  “Brandee, I’ve been really meaning to talk to you about kids and computers.”  Even though I successfully maneuvered away (who wants to talk shop on New Years?! :), he found me later and asked each of the questions that he and his wife had prepared for me about technology use in his child’s elementary school.  Without a doubt, this topic is at the forefront of many parents’ thoughts.

School has looked the same from generation to generation until pretty recently.  Now, even younger parents in their 20’s and 30’s are saying, “Woah woah woah…. teachers didn’t use devices for instruction back when I was in 4th grade.  What’s up with all the screen time?”

At Compass, we are being mindful about mixing in the technology into our curriculum.  We want Compass to lead the way in keeping nature-based education and in-person collaboration at the forefront of the student experience.  We get our kids outside even if the ground is covered in snow or mud 🙂  At the same time, technology offers us incredible tools that weren’t available back when we were in elementary and middle school.  Finding the balance between the two is the million dollar question.
Here are some frequently asked Questions about technology at the Compass School.Q:  What are the advantages of blended learning anyway? 
A: At Compass, we are using technology to personalize learning for students.  Kids who are ready to fly through lessons can move at their own pace.  Teachers can customize their lessons to be above grade level while their peers are working on grade level skills.  Teachers can more easily see who needs additional support and can bring them together for small group instruction targeted for just the kind of help they need.Q: I’m scared that my child will only know how to work with a screen and not with peers or teachers because that’s the only practice he’ll get. 
A: First, you’re not alone – many parents share your fear.  I do too, which is why we’re paying close attention to blended learning implementation at Compass.  I walk through classrooms every day and this is what I see: if technology is being used, the teacher is conferencing at his/her table either one-on-one or with a small group of 4 students or less.  At the same rate that we’re increasing technology time, we’re also increasing face time with the teacher.Q: Even if there are a lot of academic benefits, I worry about the safety of our kids out there in Cyber Space. 
A:  I think it’s good for all of us to have a healthy fear of the Internet. It keeps us checking, supervising, peeking over our kids’ shoulders.  Beyond close supervision, the best thing we can do is empower our kids and ourselves with information.  Here are some resources that might help:
  • Common Sense Media: This website is an amazing resource for parents and educators.  It has resources like how to have “the talk” about the Internet with your child.
Let’s keep the blended learning conversation going.  Let’s figure out how to do this together in a way that propels learning forward while also keeping the wonderful nature/in person balance that we value.