Drew Meklinsky and Noah Scholnick Proposal on Technology in the Classroom


Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Our infographic: Technology in the Classroom


Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).






Describe the specific issue or problem, being sure to provide sufficient context so that someone less familiar with the issue has a sense of the bigger picture, but know that your focus here is on a more detailed spelling out of the specific problem or issue that you’ve identified. (250 words minimum)

As technology continues to develop and become a bigger part of our lives, many have debated what role technology can play in education and whether it is more of a benefit or a distraction. The Michigan State Board of Education approved a plan in 2009 that sets the standard for what level of digital literacy students should have, but makes no mention of how technology should be worked into the classroom and how it can be used to better educate students across the state. For example, the plan states that by the end of 2nd Grade, students should “use digital resources (e.g., dictionaries, encyclopedias, graphs, graphical organizers) to locate and interpret information relating to a specific curricular topic, with assistance from teachers, school library media specialists, parents, or student partners.” While it is great for the future of the state that students are being encouraged to learn technological skills early on, the State Board of Education is missing out on a great opportunity to further improve education by integrating technology into the classroom and educational experience. The State should be doing everything in its power to improve the quality of education, especially taking into consideration that as a state, Michigan ranks 37th in high school graduation rate, 38th in NAEP Math Scores, and 31st in NAEP reading scores. Research has found that technological instruction can lead to a student’s learning objectives 30-80% faster, which could potentially boost the poor educational results in Michigan. In addition to more effective communication, technology has the potential to save schools significant amounts of money, with E-books having the potential to save schools between $250-$1000 per student per year, which would add up to very significant savings, especially in lower income school districts. There are several limiting factors in improving education technology, such as the fact that only roughly 70% of public schools have sufficient broadband to accommodate students, with results in Michigan likely to be worse than 70% given Michigan’s outdated and ineffective infrastructure. As we move forward with our proposal, we look to come up with a specific way that the state of Michigan can implement technology to better the education available, leading to a brighter future for residents of Michigan.






Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.


Providing or allowing for students to bring in their laptops for classroom activities has been a debated controversy over the years. On one hand, access to the internet and technological tools such as editing systems, presentation builders, and faster note taking capabilities have great benefits. On the other hand, students have tendencies to be distracted by non-academic resources, especially social media websites. Thus, in order to maximize efficiency while using technology in the classroom, we recommend that teachers in the state of Michigan, those of whom allow for such in-class usage of technology, require students to download website restriction applications to prevent them from visiting social media during class-time. A survey conducted by "Stop Procrastinating" showed that 36% of people lose an hour or more of productivity a day being distracted by social media, with a part of that time credited to during school. However, there are many internet restrictive apps that educators could easily install on all devices provided or make sure students do so if they bring in their own. Just to highlight a few: "Freedom" lets users set a time they want to be blocked from the internet for up to 8 hours. "Self Control" allows you to block specific websites for a set amount of time (perfect for social media websites). "TrackTime" does not stop internet access but rather “shows you how you spend your time online so you’re better placed to know if you should only block certain sites or take yourself offline completely.



A Gallup poll notes that 55% of US K-12 students are “engaged”, 28% are “not engaged,” and 17% are “actively disengaged” in the classroom. Smart Boards bring cutting-edge technology into the classroom so that students can be more engaged with the material. These touch-sensitive white display boards, with internet access, allow for students to take part in numerous activities including real-time games, touchscreen capabilities such as drawing, and interactive lessons. We recommend that administrators budget to purchase classroom smart boards in order to enhance student engagement and interest in the classroom. Through this technology, teachers can customize their lessons to the students with much higher accuracy than previously done. We recommend that a select few “test districts” be chosen to study the effects of students engagement and teacher opinions on the technology before scaling this to the state-wide level if this technology has not yet been implemented in a few schools already. SMART Technologies provides a range of products, some of which could serve better for budgeting purposes. The technology involves programs such as Smart Notebook, Smart Lab where you can create engaging activities in less than 5 minutes, Smart Response which is a quick and effective formative assessment creation system, and Smart amp which aims to bring group collaboration to the next level, just to name a few.



From personal experience here at the University of Michigan, we have seen first hand the benefits of a canvas based system. We recommend that schools contract with the company to provide this platform to all high school students. Canvas, or similar programs, provide an organizational structure that keeps students organized as well as teachers in tune with where students are at with their progress all on one platform. We would also like to explore the idea of even providing this with middle school/younger grades. This form of technology could help with a variety of issues that students experience including being unaware of assignments due to an unwillingness to keep a personal calendar. We believe this could deter students from missing assignments and thus create a more studious environment with better academic results.


Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.


Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.


Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?



The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.




(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).





(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?




Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  



These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.


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