Technology an essential part of education

Published 5:17 pm Friday, February 19, 2016

The Lunenburg County School Board recently approved the system’s technology plan for 2016-2018 as a required update to the Department of Education’s Technology plan.

The multi-page plan, posted on the system’s website, outlines the system goals and intentions as it integrates technology into the classroom and teaching.

Frances Wilson, the system’s director of student services in the system’s technology department, told the school board at their Monday, Feb. 8, meeting approving the plan was “basically a compliance issue.”

“The reason for having the board approve the plan was to make sure that our plan is aligned with the Virginia Department of Education Technology Plan, which was realigned for 2016-2018,” she said. “Ours was tweaked to make sure it was up to date.”

It may have been simply a compliance issue, but it highlights what technology has become to school systems, and education ­­­— essential.

The executive summary of the system’s technology plan gives a clear idea. It notes that despite being one of Virginia’s smallest counties, “this fact does not deter progress and bold commitment to achieving high standards through research-based instruction and a strategic placement of technologies in order to support instruction.”

A section on the system’s vision and mission makes it even clearer: “Students have access to a plethora of information related to the skill they are learning. Research, once limited to classroom text, is now readily available as multimedia content from all over the world, the moment it is published.”

Virginia’s education department created Educational Technology Plan for Virginia 2010-2015 to serve as a guide for the state’s school systems with five areas of focus.

Among the areas addressed: educators employ multiple ways to engage students in learning through technology, and “this engagement should reflect student learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and personal interest; and students should not use technology tools just to replicate paper-and-pencil activities and “Tools should extend capabilities to perform functions that would be difficult, if not impossible without technology.”

Meanwhile, Lunenburg has undertaken a number of initiatives, including connecting the high school and middle school on the same network using a fiber link between the schools; and having computer labs at each of the schools, and interactive Notebooks as instructional support schools.

The Lunenburg County Public Schools Educational Technology Plan 2016-2018 drew its goals, objectives and target areas from the state plan, but local stakeholder groups — such as administration, faculty and students — also “strongly influenced development of this plan.”