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Technology has changed our lives drastically over the course of the last 20 years. From the advent of the internet, to the use of smartphones, social media networks and the use of cloud computing, tech’s impact is clear.

But in what way is technology being used to transform the classrooms of today into the learning centers of tomorrow? Is today’s rapidly advancing tech being implemented in ways that allow students from various communities and different walks of life to take full advantage of its benefits?

On Thursday, Kamila Thigpen, Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager Alliance for Excellent Education, and Kathy Cook, the Dean of Technology at the College of Education University of Phoenix, joined Roland Martin on “NewsOne Now” to discuss how tech is changing the game in classrooms across America.

Thigpen explained that in many classrooms there are “one-to-one device programs” that allow every child to have access to a computer, tablet, or laptop. She believes that what transforms education is “people, instructional practice, and systems.”

“All those things have to be in place in order to really make a difference,” said Thigpen. “You have to have teachers that are highly trained, that understand how to integrate, understand how to make learning relevant, make it engaging for children. You have to have systems — infrastructure in place — the broadband, the network support … and you have to have the right systems in place to do it.”

She added, “When all those things are in place, then you really start to see the change.”

Kathy Cook told Martin, “Technology is part of these student’s lives on a daily basis, so using a variety of social media and digital tools in their daily lives, that needs to be brought into the classroom.” Cook believes this can be done “very effectively.” She later added that implementing tech in today’s schools can “open up the classroom,” allowing “limitless” possibilities.

Martin brought up the issue of cost being a prohibiting factor in taking tech to the classroom, where if affordability becomes an issue, students who lack access to technology are at a “disadvantage compared to other students.”

Thigpen said, “When we talk about those children growing up and being prepared to be 21st century citizens, to take on the jobs of tomorrow … how technology is used really makes a difference, and we have to make sure it’s in the classroom — one — and it’s being used to promote critical thinking, problem solving, and those kind of skills.”

Watch Martin, Kathy Cook, Dean of Technology at the College of Education University of Phoenix, and Kamila Thigpen, Digital Learning Policy and Advocacy Manager Alliance for Excellent Education, discuss how technology is changing the game in America’s classrooms in the video clip above.

For more information about the program, or to register, visit www.phoenix.edu/dream. You may also review the eligibility criteria for being considered for one of the 40 full-tuition scholarships UOPX will award in either education, health care, or criminal justice.

Below, watch the following NewsOne.com web exclusive video from the University of Phoenix. You’ll see alumni share their experiences of attending UOPX and achieving their dreams of becoming college graduates.

Those who share their stories above include Tony Drees of Denver, Colo., who earned a Master of Management degree; Curtis Sampson of Chicago, who completed his studies to become a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership; Denise Washington of Kalamazoo, Mich., who also earned a Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership degree; Gail Marquis of Jersey City, NJ, who earned her MBA; Current doctorate learner Evelyn Banks from Memphis, Tenn.; MBA, Michael Johnson from Madison, Wis. and Amir Johnson from Stuart, Fla., who earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Management.

Be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, weekdays at 9 a.m. EST on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.

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