Michigan teachers can tap tech
- By Eric Kulisch
- Jan 04, 2001
Teachers in Michigan public schools soon could start to reap the benefits
of a $110-million program to provide them with personal computers and related
The Teacher Technology Initiative is designed to deliver resources to
support teaching, learning, professional development and communication.
The computers will enable teachers to provide lesson plans online, access
chat rooms to share best teaching practices and correspond through e-mail
with parents about their child's progress.
State officials late last month approved five vendors Apple Computer
Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Gateway Inc. and IBM Corp.
from whom school districts can lease or buy laptop and desktop computers.
Depending on when school districts complete the application, computers
could be delivered as early as February, state officials said.
School districts can receive up to $1,200 for each eligible educator
to cover the cost of computers, software, remote Internet access and Web-based
The computers will be loaned to teachers for three years. School districts
will decide at that point whether to continue loaning equipment or use it
for other purposes. Dial-up Internet access for teachers at home will be
covered for one year.
"This is [a one-time] investment to kind of prime the pump," said Jamey
Fitzpatrick, vice president for development and education policy at Michigan Virtual University, which is administering the program.
"It's important for individual teachers to have access and connectivity
at school and at home. In the future, they themselves or school districts
will have to look at providing a more long-term, permanent solution," he
The initiative, which was approved in July, also covers other technology
needs. Individual schools may apply for improvements such as instructional
software, online information services, scanners, printers, data projectors,
digital cameras or network infrastructure.
Interested teachers must sign up for the program by June 2001. Teachers
can take free basic computer and Internet classes through MVU during the
next 18 months to strengthen their technological competence.