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What Can W.Va. Do to Improve Classroom Technology?

Cecelia Mason
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has made progress incorporating digital learning into its schools, but a recently released report by the Alliance for Excellent Education says more can be done particularly in rural areas.

During its meeting Jan. 8, 2013 the West Virginia Board of Education heard a report outlining where the state has done well and where it can improve in offering digital learning.

The Alliance for Excellent Education used a Benedum Foundation grant to hire a consultant to conduct the study, which looks at how ready counties are to utilize technology in the classroom.

Chip Slaven, Alliance senior advisor, says West Virginia is strongest in the amount of infrastructure and technology tools available.

“But even in that category there’s still a lot of work to do,” Slaven said.

“When you actually survey school administrators in particular and teachers there are still clearly gaps,” he said. “There are times of the day when they can’t get on the internet or the computer labs are being taken up.”

Slaven said while many counties, particularly those in more urban areas, have done well at wiring schools, they haven’t done as well at:

  • Putting a plan in place to use technology to provide students with a flexible, more personalized educational experience.
  • Offering what’s called competency based learning, where each student only moves on after mastering a particular topic.
  • Offering additional professional development classes online so teachers can take them anytime.

The report is part of an Alliance for Excellent Education effort called Project 24, which encourages the integration of technology into education. West Virginia is the first state to make Project 24 a statewide effort. 

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