Pennsylvania Expands 'Classrooms for the Future' to 543 High Schools

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Pennsylvania is expanding its Classrooms for the Future program to 182 more high schools in 152 school districts for the 2008-2009 school year, bringing the total number of high schools in the program to 543 and the total number of participating districts to 453.

Pennsylvania's Classrooms for the Future program 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."

"Teachers and students alike have praised Classrooms for the Future for reinvigorating our high school classrooms," said Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell, in a statement released Thursday. "It not only is making our high schools more engaging, vibrant places to learn but, just as importantly, it is helping to ensure that our students are primed for success beyond high school."

Over the previous two years, nearly 82,000 laptops and more than 4,000 interactive whiteboards have been deployed in 257 schools under the program. The program has also included implementation of technology-based teacher professional development and various other technology tools for enabling technology-based learning. For 2008-2009, the program will provide $45 million for the purchase of laptop computers, Internet access, and software for core subjects.

Funding for the project, now in its third year, totals $155 million to date. For the 2008-2009 school year, funding for individual districts ranges from a low of about $50,000 to a high of more than $4.5 million. State documents report several indicators of success for the initiative, including increased engagement of teachers with small groups of students, increased attendance and participation, increased use of activities requiring "higher-order thinking," increased project- and problem-based learning, increased levels of teacher preparation for the subjects they teach, and others.

Further information about the program's plans for 2008-2009 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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