The panel admitted that finding low-cost ways to incorporate technology in the classroom with the economic downturn is difficult, but not impossible.
“We have really relied on free internet resources, and there are really a lot of them out there,” said Freeman. She pointed out Skype and free virtual libraries as some examples.
“The state of Virginia is definitely feeling the economy as well,” said Nichols. “As far as technology goes, there are a lot of free resources out there. There’s a lot of Web 2.0 tools. We’re always looking for resources that are out there that are high-yield [and] low-cost.”
The CoSN discussion also touched on how to reach out to faculty who aren’t as technologically savvy.
“We’ve had that over the last few years, and we have tried professional learning so they know how to use the technology,” said Freeman. She also said her district sets goals and checkpoints for everyone to reach within certain time periods.
Nichols said his district utilizes “lead learners” who are comfortable with a piece of educational technology to assist those who are not.
“That way, you’re all kind of learning this together, and you all get to that level of comfort,” said Nichols.
He added: “There really isn’t a division in our school arena now that hasn’t been impacted by technology.”
All panelists participated remotely in the discussion.