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EM school district spent $526,000 on last 3-year tech plan

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND — The Elk Mound school district spent $526,000 on the last three-year technology plan and could spend a similar amount on the 2013- 2016 technology plan.

The Elk Mound Board of Education discussed the three-year technology plan at the board’s April 22 meeting.

The school district is required to have a three-year technology plan, said Eric Hanson, technology coordinator and principal at Mound View Elementary.

If the school board approves the plan at the meeting in May, the plan can then be submitted to the state Department of Public Instruction, he said.

A tech plan is necessary for a variety of funding reasons, including discounts on Internet service and library funding, Hanson noted.

Students, teachers and parents were asked to fill out surveys about technology; the school district also conducted a learning assessment for technology skills, he said.

The technology plan has five main goals and has objectives and activities to achieve the goals, Hanson said.

The technology plan covers three years but incorporates ideas for five to 20 years.

“The problem is, we don’t know what technology will be available 20 years from now,” Hanson said.

“Hopefully we can identify skills kids are going to need for the 21st Century, such as problem-solving skills … that we can incorporate into our instruction for whatever we are teaching so the kids can use technology,” Hanson said.

“We can’t predict what devices will be used, but hopefully we can predict what skills they are going to need,” he added.

The last three-year technology plan spent $526,000 for software, hardware, infrastructure, and training.

The school district should develop a good educational plan that incorporates technology rather than focusing on specific educational goals just for the technology, said Dr. Ron Walsh, district administrator.

“It’s not stand-alone. It’s going to be a big part of it, but your focus should be: what are your educational goals?” he said.

“The plan is meant to be a general guideline for us,” Hanson said. “Our budget is going to dictate what we can do.”

The Elk Mound Board of Education is expected to consider the three-year technology plan for approval at the next regular meeting on May 20.