Schools compete to become digital
- By Eric Kulisch
- Sep 15, 2000
Digital School District home page
Two Pennsylvania school districts will split nearly $5 million next year
to serve as test beds for across-the-board technology use in education.
It's part of an ongoing effort championed by Gov. Tom Ridge to expand the
use of technology in the classroom.
A panel of national and state educational experts will announce in January
the best proposals for creating Digital School Districts, said John Bailey,
director of the state Department of Education's Office of Educational Technology.
Vocational/technical schools also are expected to participate in the competition,
The Ridge administration is challenging schools to partner with libraries,
museums, universities and other institutions "to think about lifelong learning
empowered by technology," Bailey said. This will require teaching professionals
to rethink and reinvent how they provide educational services in an integrated
way to better serve their communities.
The Pennsylvania legislature has funded the first half of the governor's
two-year, $10 million initiative. Part of the money will be used to run
workshops for superintendents and technology directors from the state's
other 499 school districts, Bailey said. The two districts will maintain
a Web site that documents each step of the transformation, recording the
successes achieved and the problems encountered.
Bailey's office is recruiting companies to donate products and services
for the endeavor by dangling the lure of future business from communities
that will learn at the feet of the high-tech schools.
The Digital School District models would take Gov. Ridge's technology
plan for education to the next level by showing how schools can offer:
* Software that can be customized to accommodate different learning
* Instructional management systems that help teachers track student
progress and involve parents through online reports about their child's
academic progress, attendance and homework.
* Distance learning, whereby students, teachers and parents have access
to educational resources and learning tools anytime, anywhere, and schools
are connected to educators, students and experts from around the world.
* Improved administrative management systems.