Members of the legislative interim committee charged with examining school funding met today (Monday) in Pierre with an agenda packed with presentations on technology’s impact on instruction.
In addition to studying technology’s relation to teaching, the committee has been asked to look at how the school funding formula affects a district’s decision to seek an opt-out or utilize special tax levies and funding’s effect on graduation.
Monday’s presentations included a look at technology’s evolution in school, mobile devices increasing role in classrooms and the operation of the South Dakota Innovative Lab schools among other topics.
The common theme among the presentations was the devices were available and for the most part affordable, but the proper infrastructure and time for teacher training needed to be in place as well.
“There’s other problems than just dumping money into computers,” Pierre School District’s Technology Coordinator Bryan Lynn said.
Presenters noted that districts had seen bandwidth upgrades, but as technology became more prevalent so too did the chance for disconnection or other technical issues if the infrastructure wasn’t up to the challenge.
“Nothing is happening without bandwidth,” Northern State University’s E-Learning Principal Mary Cundy said.
Along with increased bandwidth was the suggested need for increased teacher training to ensure technology in the classroom is effectively utilized.
“Technology is one of those things you’ve got to spend a lot of time on,” Georgia Morse Middle School (Pierre) Principal Troy Wiebe said. “Kids are digital learners. They expect (technology) in the classroom.”
Committee members briefly discussed the need for more paid teacher training hours and specific state funding for technology in schools.
The committee will continue discussion tomorrow (Tuesday) following presentations focusing on programs across the state aimed to help students graduate.
The committee is scheduled to reconvene at 8 a.m. You can listen to live audio of the meeting here, (click the SDPB icon to launch).
Check the ASBSD Blog again tomorrow for updates.