U.S. Rep. Debbie Stabenow and local educators gathered at Michigan State University on Sept. 8 to show off how technology is reaching Lansing-area students. The presentation was part of School Modernization Day, a national effort aimed at updating aging schools.

“I think as we look at the jobs of the future and preparing children for the world they have to face, meeting the challenge of bringing technology to the classroom is critical,” said Stabenow, D-Lansing.

Educators face the challenge of finding a way to guarantee students the tools and knowledge needed to navigate the world’s technological landscape.

“In the future, that’s all there’s going to be,” James Pates, a sixth-grader at Dwight Rich Middle School, told the Lansing State Journal. “The world is going to be operated by computers.”

One initiative highlighted during the forum was a “Computer Clubhouse” scheduled to open by November at Dwight Rich. The after-hours computer lab is designed so students can communicate electronically with students at nine other Michigan middle schools.

Michigan State got a two-year, $4 million grant to establish the network. The university also has received a grant to give technology training to teachers at all 43 schools in the Lansing district.

“This way, we’ll have two teachers in each school who really know how to use what we’ve got,” said Blaine Morrow, the district’s coordinator of networks and technology training. “Hopefully they’ll become the technology leaders in their buildings.”

Other local initiatives highlighted during the program included NetDay, a volunteer effort to electronically wire 29 Lansing schools for Internet access, and Computers for Learning, a government program that asks agencies to donate used computers to schools and nonprofit agencies.

Links:

Boston’s NetDay
http://www.netyearboston.org/