Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Building a Technology-Rich Community

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Building a Technology-Rich Community

Article excerpt

In April, six state educational technology directors from across the United States came to Washington, D.C., to launch the second annual "SETDA National Leadership Institute 2003 Toolkit: States Helping States Implement No Child Left Behind" (online at www.setda.org/Toolkit2003). The six directors represented the collaboration, idea sharing and leveraging of resources of more than 100 state educational technology leaders who came together to create shared tools to help them meet their goal of improving education through the effective integration of technology.

This is what SETDA, the State Educational Technology Directors Association, is all about: Bringing together leaders to collaborate, grow as learners and provide a national voice about the use of technology to improve student learning. Founded in 2001, SETDA (www.setda.org) is the principal association representing the state directors of education technology. SETDA's membership includes educational technology directors and staff" from the state departments of education of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. As members of SETDA, state leaders work together to assess, analyze and propose recommendations on how to improve student learning through technology.

Leveling the Playing Field

The issues that face state educational technology leaders are not unique in the education community, but some of the strategies and tools that they use in maximizing opportunities for all educators and learners probably are. Technology is more than just a tool in education--it provides opportunity in both instruction and administration to improve learning for all students. It levels the playing field by providing resources and experiences that otherwise would not be available to many children. It also provides learners with the tools and skills they will need to enter the work force of the future.

Coordination of instructional and administrative education technology requires leadership at all levels. Leaders can help policy-makers, educators and the community understand and support the power of technology. Leaders can build strong educational programs using technology by building partnerships; leveraging and providing resources; and ensuring that an educational technology program includes not only the hardware, soft ware and infrastructure, but also the professional development, data management and integration resources to make it succeed. …

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