County Schools Plan Technology Facilitators To Help With Flood Of New Devices

Thursday, March 20, 2014

County school officials gave a presentation on Thursday to the School Board's technology committee, laying  out its goals for the next three years, including hiring technology facilitators to help teachers give their curriculum a technology upgrade.

One committee member said, "We don't currently have the structure in place to adequately train everybody with access to all the devices that are flooding in."

But all of the new technology available to students has brought other issues as well.

Teachers must keep students from using their phones during class as well as determine which sites students can access when they are allowed to use devices on school Internet.

Superintendent Rick Smith said, "It's a behavior problem, not a device problem. We have to decide how we hold people accountable to that." He said some teachers had a "parking lot" for cell phones as soon as students walked into the classroom.

However, it was pointed out that even though social media can be a distraction, it also holds much untapped potential as far as education goes. Committee members said some teachers were using Twitter to allow students to interact and share information pertaining to the lesson.

While some schools have yet to be upgraded, some teachers have already "flipped" their classrooms. These teachers film their lesson, allowing their students to watch it on their own time. This allows them to use their class time in a more hands-on manner. Students no longer spend lengthy amounts of time listening to lectures only to struggle with homework problems later. Instead, they do the practice work in class where they are able to receive help from their teacher.

Superintendent Smith said, "The more we engage the student, the less discipline we'll have to have."

In the Technology Implementation Plan, six specific goals were set.

The first is targeted professional development, providing teacher support and training on technology integration. To accomplish this, the Board seeks to create a Professional Learning Department and hire 25 technology facilitators.

The second goal is upgrading infrastructure such as wireless internet connections and bandwidth.

Third is equal device access for all students through leasing options and providing devices for students who can't afford their own.

The fourth goal is PARCC preparation and assuring there will be available tech support during testing times.

Fifth is the development of electronic media. This goal includes teaching students to use social media appropriately as well as making digital lessons available to teachers. The Board also wants to take greater advantage of Cloud Computing.

The sixth goal is to improve internal and external communication channels between all stakeholders.

The last goal is to find more technology funding sources, such as grants.




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