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ERIC Number: EJ850560
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun-1
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0192-592X
More than Machines
Fox, Christine
T.H.E. Journal, v36 n6 p23-26 Jun 2009
Fourth-grader Nicholas is a homebound cancer patient who attends Plainview Elementary School in rural Chesterfield County, South Carolina. This year he was provided a laptop and webcam as part of Chesterfield County School District's Student Technology and Education Proficiency (STEP) initiative. Prior to the implementation of the STEP program in 2007, this kind of direct virtual participation would have been impossible. In his several previous homebound experiences, Nicholas was isolated, working independently with little to no communication with his teachers or fellow students. Nicholas' experience offers a glimpse of what Chesterfield's STEP program has made possible. Much more than a laptop program, it is a model example of a comprehensive approach to improving teaching practices through the use of technology. The goal, according to John Wagnon, the district's educational technology director, is "to help improve academic achievement and technology literacy scores through increased student engagement." The initial STEP funding came from Title II-D of the No Child Left Behind Act--Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT)--and provided each sixth-grader at Plainview Elementary School and McBee Elementary School and each seventh-grader at McBee High School with a laptop computer for use at school and home. Another striking model of the success of comprehensive technology integration is found in Pennsylvania, where state money goes to finance equipment, infrastructure, tech support, and professional development for schools participating in Classrooms for the Future, an initiative that puts advanced technology tools into the classrooms of high school students across the state. Chesterfield County and Southern Columbia are both now working to maintain their programs despite the expiration of their initial grants, finding ways to stretch their resources while applying for new grants to support their programs. Together the two districts demonstrate that no matter where school districts find their funding, whether at the federal or state level, the imperative is having a comprehensive plan that accounts for more than just the distribution of machines, but creates a technology-rich learning environment that is supported by ongoing professional development, technology coaches, high-quality curriculum, sufficient broadband access, and administrative leadership.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina; Pennsylvania; South Carolina; Texas
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001