Texas schools are expanding the reach of technology
Monday, October 14, 2013
Texas has a nationwide reputation for having good schools that show both academic excellence and all-around development of students, compared to most other states. The Texas Education Agency is working to integrate technology with the needs of students, teachers and librarians, thus creating a 360-degree learning advantage.
The Texas Long Range Plan for Technology, 2006-2020 was adopted by the State Board of Education in November 2006 as a comprehensive program to bring about technology literacy in students. The specific curriculum for this program has been named Technology Applications, which incorporates the key features of the plan.
As stated in its mandate, the purpose of this program is to equip students with advanced digital knowledge and prepare them for future technologies by bringing in the latest to them at the earliest. The program also makes available the latest teaching tools so educators can use them to instruct and prepare their students for a digitally advanced future.
The focus of the program is to not just equip students for the future, but also to encourage a deeper engagement in academics. Accessibility to digital tools and resources 24/7 will enable instant information reach, which will enhance knowledge gain and lead to better performance.
The use of technology and its increasing presence in education has been instrumental in bringing about interactive learning. This means higher student participation in the entire learning process as compared to the earlier one-sided delivery of instructions.
This method also allows individual strengths and learning styles to flower while catering to various students' needs and paces at the same time. All students will have an equal opportunity to make most of the information around them and perform to the best of their ability.
It also allows parents to become more directly involved in their child's education with instant access to their curriculum and progress, and with advanced learning resources at their disposal to help them aid their children in their educational endeavors. There is now enhanced collaboration and increased communication between the school and home, and even the community. This way there is a ready and open forum to assess progress, put in suggestions and prepare children for economic and career implications.
Along with the expansion of the technology, there has also been improvement in the human infrastructure in Texas schools. There is not only a healthier teacher-student ratio, but also a trained teaching workforce who can anticipate changes, use the technology and prepare their students to perform well in future.
All traditional boundaries of education have been reworked to facilitate the incorporation of the newer systems. The convergence of various technologies has expanded the available learning options from traditional modes to broader learning environments leading to more comprehensive absorption of knowledge.
There are some drawbacks to the plan. State and district funds are not enough to help schools equip themselves with the latest tech tools and gadgets. There may be large information technology planning and purchases, but by the time the funds are allocated and disbursed, the equipment and software may be outdated.
The downside of technology is that it changes too fast and becomes obsolete in no time at all. This leads to another issue of keeping the staff trained and on top of these changes so that they can implement these tools, impart the right knowledge to their students and maintain as well as manage technology.
Schools have roped in parents to help them get the latest technological tools. With the PTOs in the forefront of action, parents are asked to contribute to technology funds for their child's school. There is no minimum or maximum limit, and there is no compulsion, but they are encouraged to donate whatever they can to help their own children.
For every final figure collected by the school through these fundraising efforts, the districts make an exact match. The consolidated amount is then used by each school to upgrade their technological infrastructure for the school year.
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Is this technology program working for Texas schools?
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