With shrinking budgets and increasing demands to track and support student progress, train staff, customize each learner's instructional experience, and keep pace with the newest workplace technologies, the smart allocation of funds is more essential than ever for schools. With that in mind, we have chosen to focus on the bottom line in this month's cover feature, "Top 10 Returns on Investment."
In this article you'll find we've interpreted the word "technology" very broadly. The investments we recommend range from staff support positions to online subscriptions, high-speed Internet access, and even the basic technology of classroom microphones. Given the present belt-tightening climate in education today, agreeing on this year's top 10 theme was not a difficult editorial choice. However, given the diversity of circumstances in schools and districts, determining which investments might work for all was a bit more of a challenge. For instance, in an ideal world, every school would have an on-site dedicated staff development professional and a full-time tech support person as well. In "Shoring Up Your Staff," author Judy Salpeter profiles some ambitious districts who've found the means to experiment with this arrangement. But in the full text of this article (for which we send you to www.techlearning.com/story/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=52601632), she also moves beyond this model to look a range of additional ways districts can provide both timely professional development and tech support through teams, student mentors, help desks, and other means.
In addition to the 10 finalists, we thought you might be interested to know about the runners-up. Almost making it were tablet computers (see Product Spotlight), Voice over IP, mobile labs, digital whiteboards, and online authoring tools. Stay tuned for more on those solutions as we continue to cover them in Reviews, Trend Watch, and other departments throughout the year.
And lastly, we received so many-and so many impassioned-responses to September's QuickPoll question about the appropriateness of the super-high salary of new Miami-Dade superintendent Rudy Crew (see details on this month's Back Page), that I'd like to end this column with some additional remarks worth noting.
"If he knows how to turn around a major at-risk school district, no amount of money would be too much for his salary."
"This salary is ridiculous, especially in a school system that cannot afford to give its teachers a raise."
"My questions are: Who is checking to be sure he is earning his keep and what are the ramifications if he doesn't come through?"