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Sandoval School District Discusses Technology Use in Schools

By Will Doolin, WJBD News

The use of technology in the classroom was on some minds Wednesday afternoon as the Sandoval School District held a Community Technology Forum.  The meeting will be held in the elementary school library.  

Marilyn Gimbel says the forum is part of the writing process for the district's technology plan that will be used to satisfy requirements for the School Improvement Grant.  She states they must have their technology plan turned into the district by the end of February so that it may be used in the grant writing process.

Gimbel says for a smaller school district, they are very fortunate to have the many uses of technology they have for their students.  "We are very fortunate because we are a poor district.  We have about 75-to-80 percent of low income families in the district.  Part of their problem is they can't afford internet.  They can't get online to get to some of these web-based programs, even to take a look at our webpage.  There's all kinds of assessment programs that they can do at home, but they can't because they don't have internet access", said Gimbel.  

Technology coordinator Mike Chontofalsky says with the grants the district has received, they have been able to purchase new software and technology equipment, such as new smartboards, two mobile labs with over forty computers and new carts, the iNow online student management system, and the STI assessment program.  The district is also in the process of purchasing 53 new iPads as well.

He states even with the new technology advances, there are even more challenges.  "One of the challenges that we have is that more and more of what we are doing is online.  The student management system is online, the grading and assessment is online.  Another program that we use is Auto Skills, for students who need help with math and reading, and that's online.  So there's a constant need for an increase in speed and bandwidth.  So that's one of the challenges that we have out here", said Chontofalsky.  

Gimbel and Chontofalsky state that the technology plan is more of a statement and analysis of how technology is used in the preparation of state testing.  They say by the 2014-2015 school year, the state will mandate all state testing to be taken online.  Currently the state is trying to assess what technology resources are in each school district in order to mandate and prepare requirements for future state testing.  

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