Maryland is relying more heavily than in past years on federal money to run a variety of educational technology initiatives aimed at improving teachers’ and students’ technology skills as well as harnessing the powers of online learning.
While the state did not allocate new money for technology for the 2004-05 school year, schools received increased aid under a 2002 Maryland law that mandated more state funding for school districts. Districts are expected to use a portion of that money to move forward on educational technology, says Jayne E. Moore, the state education department’s director of instructional technology. Under the law, districts received $304 million more in 2004-05 than in the previous year.
Moore says the education department is also using some federal funds to pay for competitive technology grants that are available to the state’s 24 school systems. During the 2003-04 school year, nine such grants were awarded to cover a number of educational technology purposes, such as the development of online courses, Internet-based professional development for teachers, and the creation of digital academic content.
Maryland is in the process of revising its technology plan, which serves as the foundation for development and funding of educational technology programs on both the state and local levels. The plan was crafted before the No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001, Moore says, and therefore needs to be better aligned with the demands of the federal education law as well as state goals, district needs, and new trends in technology.
The state also planned to put online in March 2005 its technological inventory, a progress report on technology resources in Maryland schools, according to Moore. The data, completed annually by each school, measure progress toward specified targets in key areas, such as student access to the Internet, availability of technical support in schools, the level of teachers’ technology knowledge and skills, and student use of technology.