Some Connecticut schools are computer-ready but lack enough teachers who are computer-savvy. Others are still waiting to get money that will put them online.
A new state commission that met for the first time Aug. 22 will oversee education technology and decide how to dole out about $32 million to make sure all Connecticut students have access to computers and teachers trained to use them.
“In bits and pieces, we have schools that are wired and we have some teachers who are well-prepared to teach the technology,” said Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell. “But we’re trying to take a comprehensive approach to make sure all our schools and all our students are cyber-ready.”
The General Assembly this year passed a law calling for the formation of the Commission for Educational Technology. Along with setting up the 20-member panel of education, computer, and business experts, the Legislature appropriated $32.5 million for the group to distribute this year. The money will be handed out in grants for computer wiring, teacher training, and creating a digital library that can be accessed through the internet.
The legislation is part of Rell’s push to get every public school classroom hooked up to the internet by 2004 and make every student computer-proficient by the sixth grade. When it’s over, Rell expects the plan to cost about $105 million.
Ashish Deshpande, chief technology officer of New Haven-based Metaserver and a member of the commission, said Connecticut businesses will benefit from the plan. Deshpande said he meets many young people whose career goal is “to get out of Connecticut.”
“If technology companies are more involved with the education system, it increases our visibility,” he said. “Connecticut is an up-and-coming place for the technology industry, and we can help get more kids exposed to it.”