Can Technology Lower The National Dropout Rate?
Shannon Flynn is a freelance blogger who covers education technologies, cybersecurity and IoT topics. You can follow Shannon on Muck Rack or Medium to read more of her articles.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, high school students were dropping out less frequently than in past years — in 2005, the dropout rate was 10% and about 5% in 2018. Unfortunately, the numbers seem to be increasing as the pandemic continues to impact the education system.
With more educational institutions transitioning to hybrid learning environments, it’s become easier for students to fall behind on their assignments.
Some students, especially those at a lower income level, may have trouble accessing the technology needed to complete their work. Whether it’s missing a laptop or not having a decent internet connection, some students find the transition challenging.
As technology advances, it’s possible that it can be used in decreasing dropout rates and increasing graduation rates amongst high school students. Let’s explore some of the ways in which technology can lower the national dropout rate.
COVID-19’s Impact on Learning
It’s no secret that educators were forced to make adjustments to their traditional teaching methods in the last couple of years. Whether it was hopping on Zoom to meet with their classes or digitally assigning work, the role of technology became that much more significant.
Now, trends in education show us that an increase in absenteeism and the digital divide are contributing to a decrease in graduation rates. In addition, there are concerns regarding the national literacy crisis. The pandemic has intensified the literacy gap in high school students, but leveraging technology may be a feasible solution.
One education company trying to increase graduation rates in the country is Stride K12’s Graduation Guarantee Program. The program guarantees that eligible students enrolled in their schools will graduate with a diploma with no extra costs to their families. More programs and initiatives need to be implemented if we want to see more students graduating.
Emerging Technology to Lower the Dropout Rate
Here are some examples of tech that can positively impact early learning to help bolster students’ learning experience and allow them to achieve their academic goals. In doing so, dropout rates will likely decrease and help push students forward in their education.
Hero by Schoolmint
Hero is a cloud-based tool that educators can use to monitor their students’ attendance, give warnings for inappropriate behavior and keep track of behavioral improvements over time.
The student behavior management tool is already used in schools, like Boynton Beach School, Cleveland School for the Arts, Indian Springs High School and Finger Lake Elementary. Some examples of changes these schools experienced by using Hero are decreases in tardiness and growing enrollment.
The best part? Parents have access to the system and can track their child’s progress in class. They’re alerted to any issues that arise, and they can effectively communicate with their child’s teacher.
On the other hand, when students show signs of positive behavior, they’re rewarded using a point system. The ultimate goal is to show students that good behavior earns them rewards, while poor behavior may earn them detention or even suspension. Hero believes that positive reinforcement can help foster an improved school environment for students to learn in.
Using Data Warehouses
To keep students’ attendance under control, Sunnyside Unified School District in Arizona began collecting student data regarding missed days. They stored this data in large data warehouses and used it to their benefit.
For example, say a student missed multiple days of school in a row. Once that data is captured, educators can then reach out to the struggling student and encourage them to return to classes and stress the importance of attendance.
In addition to attendance data, grade information is also collected. If a student is failing due to missing school, there’s another opportunity for educators to intervene.
iStudiez is an award-winning app available to students with Apple or Android smartphones. It’s an app that is easy to use and helps students stay organized and on top of their various school assignments and papers.
When organization is prioritized in a student’s life, the chances of them succeeding academically are higher. Rather than use traditional pen and paper, students complete their assignments online through the app and receive grades and feedback.
If a student feels engaged through iStudiez, the less likely they are to contemplate dropping out. If school becomes too overwhelming for struggling students, they can use this tool to help mitigate the risk of dropping out.
Over 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year, and educators do their best to lower that figure. Technologies such as the ones listed above will play a critical role in reversing these rates and getting more students across the final finish line.
Reduce High School Dropout Rates with Technology
Using technology to positively impact students’ learning experiences will help reduce the dropout rates across the country. While it’s challenging to pinpoint why students drop out, implementing programs that use new technology, like cloud-based systems or data warehouses, may be a viable solution to this ongoing problem.