Teachers, Technology and Training: NY Talks: A National Technology Initiative Takes Root in New York State

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INTRODUCTION

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded a generous grant to help superintendents and principals improve student learning in schools and districts across New York state. Administered by the Magellan Foundation and jointly awarded to the New York State Council of Superintendents (NYSCOSS), the School Administrators Association of New York State (SAANYS) and the New York State Education Department, the grant is part of the Gates Foundation's national, three-year State Challenge for Leadership Development program, a $100 million effort to transform schools for the 21st century.

The idea of the national initiative is to offer quality professional development to superintendents and principals with a view to raising their knowledge and skill levels using technology. TALKS refers to technology, achievement, leadership, knowledge and skills, the cornerstone dimensions of this leadership development program.

A PROGRAM SERIES OF EVENTS

The design of the technology initiative includes a series of events in two phases. The first phase was a multi-day conference held simultaneously in Syracuse and Brooklyn, New York, followed by the second phase, six regional follow-up events coordinated by the Leadership Academies of the New York State Education Department.

Phase One was conducted July 28-30, 2002 at the Syracuse OnCenter and the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel. It included outstanding speakers on technology and school change as well as informative sessions in the use of a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA). In fact, each participant received a PDA loaded with specialized software for schools, as part of program registration.

Phase Two will involve regional workshops focused on data-gathering and decision making with training sessions on how to maximize productive use of the PDAs distributed during the opening sessions.

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS AND SESSIONS

Michael Fullan, Alan November and Ian Jukes provided first-rate presentations to attendees with sound suggestions for implementing technology-based change strategies. Michael Fullan is Dean of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto and is a recognized expert on school reform. …