Thursday, July 22, 2010

School chiefs say their biggest technological challenges are in rural homes, not schools

Three state school superintendents said at the National Rural Education Technology Summit Wednesday that their biggest challenge is integrating technology into rural homes, not rural schools. "North Carolina schools chief June Atkinson said one of her biggest battles is convincing parents and teachers that it's OK for students to learn virtually on their own schedule and read books on computer screens instead of bound pages," Ian Quillen of Education Week reports.

The chiefs also voiced a variety of challenges that weren't uniform across regions. Virginia Barry of New Hampshire "said it's difficult reining in a large number of forward-thinking districts to use technology to accomplish uniform, statewide goals," Quillen writes. "And in South Dakota, where more than half of about 150 districts have less than 300 students, state superintendent Tom Oster said distance has forced most residents to embrace online learning, but that the state—with only 123,000 PreK-12 students—is too small to independently fund research to support effective online learning."

"We don't have enough students in our states to develop these types of things in a vacuum," said Oster, speaking on behalf of several states, before "adding that those less-populated states are hoping the common academic standards movement will spark some collaborative research," Quillen writes. Educators also voiced concerns that many of the technologies they do have are becoming slower and out of date without proper maintenance and updating. Seizing upon students' increased use of mobile technology has also been difficult. ""The challenge has been to ensure that platform would be available through all kinds of multiple devices," Atkinson said. "To make sure that every child has that one-to-one [computing experience] is another cost factor." (Read more)

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I found a short press release from the White House about the Summit and the agenda at Didn't anyone take notes? Make a video? Get electronic copies of the PowerPoints and papers to post somewhere?

It seems ironic that information from a Summit on technology in rural schools is not available to schools in rural areas because the technology is not being used.