Oct 31 2006

Striving for Success

Teacher training is of paramount importance to North Carolina’s Moore County Schools and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education.

Ever been at the bottom of the list?

It’s not so great. No one likes to come in last. As the last kid routinely picked for dodgeball, kickball and red light/green light teams in every physical education class, I can empathize with Moore County Schools. Three years ago, the North Carolina school district ranked 111th out of 117 schools in the state for its technology usage. By the end of the last school year, the district jumped to 16th on the list due to persistence, smarter buying decisions, working with teachers to generate tech-savvy lesson plans and offering training for any teacher who needed it. As CDW•G’s Teachers Talk Tech survey shows, training is critical for technology tools to transform the educational environment: That played a big part in Moore County’s success story on page 32.

One-third of teachers surveyed said that they don’t receive any training, and almost as many said they get little to no training on integrating technology into the classroom. Accordingly, we wanted to spotlight a school district or organization that earned a Tinfoil Star for its emphasis on training: the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education. Three years ago, administrators there kicked off an in-service weekend to focus on technology planning and staff development. Not every school can afford a similar getaway, so we’ve shared their best practice advice with our readers; see the story on page 26.

The topic of monitoring the campus environment closely is a difficult concept for some. Still, it’s increasingly a part of prudent approaches to student and staff safety, and assuaging parental concerns. Spotsylvania County Schools and Frisco Independent School District are two prominent examples. Both schools rely on IP-based video cameras that connect directly to the schools’ local area networks. For more on how these schools are seeing a reduction in fights, vandalism and petty crime , turn to page 20.

In Tech Insights on page 24, we cover a topic that aptly describes a problem most IT managers face on a daily basis: managing ad hoc projects. Charles Baker, an Ed Tech reader and school district network administrator, asked Ed Tech to share best practice insights on this topic because getting end users to understand how projects are prioritized is a critical issue for him and others in his role.

We hope you’ll enjoy this issue and keep us in mind when you’ve got a pressing tech question to ask or solution to a problem that you’d like to share. To send your ideas, suggestions and questions, visit www.edtechmag.com and click on the “feedback” button.

Editor in Chief