- More teachers in the Fauquier County Public Schools are using technology regularly with students, thanks to a matrix that allows them to find software that address the skills their students are expected to master. Learn more about Fauquierâ€™s technology integration efforts.
- The Beaufort County (SC) Public Schools have a long-standing commitment to technology, including a policy of upgrading the technology infrastructure at all county schools to be sure that all students are able to use the latest technology tools.
- The first step in implementing the Portsmouth (NH) School Departmentâ€™s new three-year technology plan will be the hiring of a new technology director, a position the School Board eliminated in 2004, only to spend a year fielding complaints about technology problems.
- Teachers planning to offer an online course through the new Montana Schools E-Learning Consortium are waiting to see if the required 15 students sign up for the new program, designed specifically to meet the needs of the stateâ€™s rural students. Learn more about MSELC.
- Discussions about a â€œclean slateâ€ internet among network architects could result in a completely new internet architecture. The Global Environment for Networking Investigations, or GENI, will include a research grant program to fund new architectures and an experimental facility.
Matrix Speeds Technology Integration
In 2003, a Technology Planning Committee was formed in the Fauquier County Public Schools, made up of parents, educators and business partners. They had hopes of creating "an instructional program which integrates computers and other technologies into all aspects of teaching and learning.â€ Though Fauquier had significant technology resources — computer labs in every elementary school and computers in nearly every classrooms, as well as classes based around technology at the middle and high school levels â€“ teachers and students alike agreed that computer usage was limited. Teachers found it hard to incorporate technology into their daily curriculum. To help, Fauquierâ€™s instructional technology resource teachers, known as ITRTs, created an online matrix that identifies all the skills students are supposed to have at each grade level and matches them to different software programs or computer games that address those skills. Students are able to explore and learn the content they need to cover while acquiring computer skills at the same time. When Virginiaâ€™s mandated testing program identifies areas of weakness, teachers can plan technology-based lessons that address those weaknesses. The ITRTs work in the schools helping teachers gain the skills they need to seamlessly integrate technology. Currently, each of the secondary schools has a full-time ITRT, while four ITRTs are shared among the county's elementary schools. The Technology Planning Committee is working to add ITRTs until each county school has its own specialist.
The Beaufort County (SC) Public Schools have a long-standing commitment to technology. Since 1995 the districts has spent about $32.5 million to wire buildings and mobile units, purchase computers and pay about 50 technology employees who work in the central office and in schools. The district currently has a computer with Internet access for every 3.57 students. Now, to make better use of its resources and to ensure that all students have the same access to technology, the district is moving to a more centralized approach to technology planning. Over the next five years, all new buildings will be wired, existing schools will be brought up to the same level of infrastructure as that found in the new buildings, and new computers will be purchased. The district estimates the wiring upgrades will cost between $5 million and $15 million over the next five years. Upgrades will ensure that students in older buildings are able to use the most current technology tools. The district is committed to purchasing technology that is most useful for students and teachers.
Source:The Island Packet
Technology Leadership Proves Important
One New Hampshire district learned the hard way about the value of its technology coordinator. When the Portsmouth School Departmentâ€™s technology director retired in 2004, the Board of Education eliminated funding for the position. But after a year of listening to complaints about various computer-related problems, the Board reallocated around $75,000 in the 2005-06 budget to once again fund the position. Though listed as a one-year position, the Board is committed to finding the funding to make the position permanent. Having a technology director will help the district move forward on the goals stated in its new three-year technology plan. The district is required to send a technology plan to the state Department of Education every three years in order to be eligible for technology grants. The major focus of the new plan is â€œintegrationâ€ — making technology part of regular classroom teaching in all subject areas. The plan also calls for reorganizing the technology staff, hiring a full-time technology integrator to work with teachers to bring technology to the classroom, and adding a database administrator. Once hired, the new technology director will also be responsible for revising the districtâ€™s technology curriculum, providing better technology training for current staff and making it a priority to hire future staff that are "technologically fluent."
Montana Schools E-Learning Consortium Launches
Virtual schooling has come to Big Sky country. The Montana Schools E-Learning Consortium (MSELC) began offering its first online classes this week. The consortium, supported by the Montana School Boards Association and the Montana Rural Education Association, was founded to provide more options for Montana students who live in isolated communities as well as offering students in larger districts the chance to make up missed classes or accelerate their path to graduation. While distance learning is not really new to Montana, MSELC is the first program designed specifically to meet the needs of the stateâ€™s rural students. All MSELC the courses are taught according to state standards by Montana certified teachers. Courses are free to students who are enrolled in participating districts. Some 45 school districts have joined the consortium and more districts continue to sign on. Teachers planning to offer an online class participated in training this summer at Montana State University, taking a short course on the software and online teaching techniques followed by four weeks of online study and the development of a lesson plan. So far, 54 classes are being offered through the MSELC, including 10 middle school courses and three elementary-level courses. Courses include a mix of traditional and elective subjects.
Beyond Internet 2
Discussions about a â€œclean slateâ€ internet among network architects at NSF, MIT and elsewhere have led to an initiative that could result in a completely new internet architecture. The Global Environment for Networking Investigations, or GENI, will include a research grant program to fund new architectures and an experimental facility. The GENI experimental facility will be "designed to explore new (network) architectures at scale," according to the SIGCOMM announcement. One of the features of the new architecture will be built-in security measures and support for ubiquitous sensors and wireless communications devices. Security will be very important and architects will need to balance competing demands for privacy and accountability. Too little privacy could erode confidence in e-commerce and private communication, but too much privacy could make it difficult to detect attacks on the network. A new internet could also be made to support the privacy choices of individuals and communities as sensors and communications devices become more ubiquitous. GENI will also bridge the gap between current high-speed research networks and ordinary internet users. The program will invite large-scale participation from individuals drawn by exciting new applications running on the network.
Source:Federal Computer Week