When Payson Unified School District teachers return to their classrooms today, they will be faced with the challenge of incorporating even more technology into the education process.
Technological challenges in public schools must also be shouldered by administrators, students and the state and federal government.
Among the new technology in the Payson district is a data-driven, decision-making software -- Galileo -- that will allow teachers to better evaluate the performances of their students. The software will compare students' achievement against benchmark testing on AIMS skills. The schools in the district also are moving toward becoming more wireless and having access to more Internet connections. At some schools, EdLine allows parents to go online and check their children's scores and in some cases, the lesson plans being taught.
There is widespread agreement among teachers that technology must be an important part of the educational process. In recent years, teachers and administrators have worked to ensure students have state-of-the-art technology at their disposal.
But in the move to bring technology into public education, teachers must have a voice in what is the best way to incorporate those tools into their classrooms.
Programs must also be provided that help train teachers in the use of technology to improve their teaching and students' learning.
The most important part of the move to technology is not hardware, infrastructure, peripherals and networks. It's the human element -- allowing teachers to use what they feel comfortable with while training them to use technology effectively.
The information age has created a whole new set of obstacles for those involved with public education.
The state and federal government face the tasks of providing programs, like E-rate, that provide discounts and pay school costs for using technology.
Administrators must develop strategic plans about the goals and objectives of the use of technology with input from classroom teachers.
Teachers must make every effort to bring the full power of technology into their classrooms and help shoulder the responsibility of seeing it is used properly by the students.
And finally, the students must take full advantage of the resources offered them so that they can succeed in the 21st century.