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Governors, execs meet on schools

High-tech executives meet with governors to recommend a course of action for incorporating technology into schools.

Incorporating technology into education tops a lot of priority lists in government--but officials also face a quandary in how to make a significant investment in it with limited resources.

Governors from Iowa, Kentucky, Washington, and Wyoming Wired schools: It takes a village met with high-tech executives at a conference today to get some advice on the matter. "The Challenges of Technology--An ECS Forum for Governors and CEOs," held in Portland, Oregon, brought together the governors and 14 chief executives and company presidents during the annual meeting of the Education Commission of the States, a nonprofit, bipartisan organization that seeks to help legislators develop improved education policies.

The tech executives said the governors should understand the return on investments into education technology before making the investments.

"This meeting gave us policy makers an opportunity to have a frank discussion with technology industry leaders and hear the issues CEOs feel are important," Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said in a statement. "It also gave the CEOs a better perspective about the complexities inherent in education--they came away with a better understanding of this market."

Other recommendations from the executives included the following:

  • State officials need a clear goal about how technology will be used to enhance education.

  • Once the goals are clear, officials have to keep track of results on a regular basis.

  • Educators and staff must be trained to use technology effectively. Schools need staff for tech support, but that can be done through outsourcing or hiring personnel internally.

  • State standards for teacher development should be rigorous and must include the ability to incorporate technology into classroom work.

  • A balance has to be struck between investing in equipment and investing in training.

  • States should have standards for what hardware and software districts and schools can purchase.

  • Technology must be accessible to all students regardless of socioeconomic group. Government has to be watchful that there is not a gap between "haves" and "have-nots."

    Forum participants included executives from Jostens Learning, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Computer Curriculum Corporation, Digital Education Systems, the Learning Company, US West, and Gateway, among others.