Boulder Valley School District

It’s not just black or white: Stakeholder engagement on the benefits and risks of technology

technology-forum speaker in front of groups
Randy Barber

“It’s a way of life with technology. Everything is more efficient, and by using technology we can invent and make new things that help every day. If children grow up using computers then they won’t have to learn later, they can go straight to inventing.”

These aren’t the words of a software engineer or university professor. They are the words of a fifth-grade girl at Bear Creek Elementary.

Over the past few months, BVSD has engaged parents, teachers, staff, and students to hear perspectives on both the benefits and risks to technology.

The two parent technology forums, each attended by over 30 people, provided a great opportunity to discuss issues around technology.

“What I enjoyed most about the forum was that those that came in only seeing the risks and those that came in only seeing the benefits, when we got to talking we realized that we agreed on many of the same risks and benefits. It doesn’t have to be a black and white issue,” said Centaurus parent Lisa Chinnery.

It was also extremely beneficial to hear from educators about the benefits and drawbacks of technology in the classroom.

One of the frequently mentioned benefits included the ability with technology to differentiate instruction based on data and provide targeted instruction to those who need it. Science and engineering teachers emphasized that technology is such an integral part of their classes, allowing students to do virtual simulations, advanced data collection, and online labs that help bring content to life.

But educators also acknowledged the risks and what they, and the district, could do a better job of.

“I appreciated the opportunity to interact with parents [at the forum], and I agree that we have more work to do to address their legitimate concerns. As a teacher, I also think we need to do a better job of sharing our own stories about how we are actually using technology in the classroom,” said fifth grade Bear Creek teacher Beth Ellis.

BVSD compiled all the feedback received and presented recommendations to the Board of Education on January 22. This isn’t the end of the conversation around technology, but one that will continue in partnership with parents, educators, and students.


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