Pennsylvania Rolls Out Interactive Technologies to 231 Districts

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Technology provider CDW Government reported this week that it's completed implementation of technology programs for some 231 school districts across Pennsylvania as part of the state's Classrooms for the Future program. As part of the initiative, nearly 82,000 laptops and more than 4,000 interactive whiteboards have been deployed in 257 schools over the last two years.

The program has also included implementation of technology-based teacher professional development and various other technology tools for enabling technology-based learning.

Pennsylvania's Classrooms for the Future program, in its second year, is an effort at school reform in the state that aims to infuse technology in students' educations and provide training and support for teachers. The state's Department of Education describes the program this way: "Classrooms for the Future is about recognizing and embracing the need for high school reform, enabling teachers to use technology as an effective tool for educating students, and preparing students to enter and successfully compete in the ever-expanding high-tech global marketplace."

According to financial information (PDF) published by the Pennsylvania DoE, the budget for the 2008-2009 school year includes $90 million for equipment and $20 million for teacher training, with the goal of deploying "100,000 laptops in English, math, science, and social studies classrooms" by the end of the school year.

Under the initiative, the Hamburg Area School District recently rolled out interactive whiteboards in one high school and now plans to deploy them district-wide by the end of the 2008-2009 school year.

"Our teachers are in awe of the interactive whiteboards' capabilities," said Cheryl Potteiger, assistant superintendent for HASD, in a statement released this week. "The whiteboards offer assessments, resources and dynamic instructional tools that encourage teachers and students to collaborate and interact."

Also participating in the initiative, the School District of Jenkintown has taken a different approach, implementing an online learning portal called DrakePond, which includes wikis, blogs, and other collaborative and media-sharing features.

"The teachers and students at the School District of Jenkintown have embraced Classrooms for the Future by taking a collaborative and interactive approach to learning," said Jim Cummins, director of technology for the district. "To facilitate this approach, our Classrooms for the Future coach created the DrakePond, an online learning portal that supports each of our high school's subject areas."

Further information about CDW-G's support for the initiative can be found here.

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About the author: David Nagel is the executive editor for 1105 Media's online education technology publications, including THE Journal and Campus Technology. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com.

Proposals for articles and tips for news stories, as well as questions and comments about this publication, should be submitted to David Nagel, executive editor, at dnagel@1105media.com.

About the Author

David Nagel is the executive producer for 1105 Media's online K-12 and higher education publications and electronic newsletters. He can be reached at dnagel@1105media.com. He can now be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THEJournalDave (K-12) or http://twitter.com/CampusTechDave (higher education). You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=10390192.

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