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THE GAYLE MANCHIN REPORT: August is Educational Technology Month

Posted by kinchendavid on August 5, 2006

By Gayle Manchin
First Lady of West Virginia

Charleston, WV   — August is the month we begin to realize that summer is drawing quickly to an end, and in a few short weeks, students of all ages will be beginning a new and exciting school year. West Virginia schools realize that learning today means preparing students for the future by promoting learning skills for the 21st Century.

One of the best ways is to provide them with the tools they’ll need for work, play and lifelong learning. The most basic of today’s tools is a video iPod. Putting these into the hands of students promotes learning 24 hours a day / 7 days a week and helps them prepare for the future.

Whether it is a superintendent, technology specialist, principal, classroom teacher or student, developing technology skills is fundamental to success. Educational technologists have been spending far too much time, energy and money on bits and bytes. We need to shift the focus from systems to people, and that takes progressive strategies and leadership. When we begin to put people first, we will finally realize the fruits of our technology investments and our assessments will begin to reflect our accomplishments.

Some months back, Michael Cox, a chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank, predicted to a group of students that they would have at least five jobs after they graduate, four of which haven’t been invented yet. For the old “Digital Dinosaurs” like me, it is a wake-up call that we cannot ever look back, but must continue to be visionary and creating opportunities outside the box. The Governor’s Office, under the direction of the Educational Technology Advisor, Nancy Sturm, conducted a statewide Web Page Design Competition for high school students to promote just that type of agenda.

Wallace E. Boston, President and CEO of American Public University System (APUS) in Charles Town, sponsored the competition and provided the wonderful awards we presented to the winning students and teachers. Prizes, totaling more than $10,000, were presented at the Governor’s Mansion at a luncheon honoring the students, the teachers, their families and the schools. Each student and teacher received a certificate and a self-monogrammed Video iPod. They were overwhelmed but extremely excited with their awards. APUS is the only totally online university in West Virginia and serves more than 16,000 students worldwide.

This competition will be replicated next year and will again be sponsored by Wallace E. Boston and APUS. The criteria for school year 2007 will center around using iPods for instructional purposes. High School students will be asked to design a Pod Cast using content information from a specific course of study. The students were already talking about the possibilities as they left the mansion for their trip home.

It is with great pride that I announce the winners of our very first Governor’s Technology Competition: 1st Place: Harts HS, Phyllis Kirk – teacher; 2nd Place: Buckhannon-Upshur HS, Rebecca Nesbitt – teacher and Daniel Nesbitt – teacher; 3rd Place: Hedgesville HS, Sharon Dove – teacher; and, 4th Place Tie: Putnam Career and Technical Center, Lynne McNiel – teacher and Berkeley Springs HS, Curt Heldreth – teacher/advisor.

Congratulations to our schools for their support and encouragement to their students!

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