On Thursday, October 26th, four ALET members sat before the Alabama House Ways & Means committee ready to talk technology. Anthony Kingston, ALET’s new Advocacy Chair, led the three current technology directors in describing how his former system’s (Jacksonville City Schools) One-to-World program impacted students. Heather Bender shared how Huntsville City Schools had made the digital transition to both devices and online content. She also talked about a recent grant she wrote to obtain WiFi devices for home use for students without service. Dr. Westbrook explained how Florence City Schools’ Virtual School has enabled students to take more courses, such as fine arts, or to work during the day, while staying on track to graduate. Throughout, the group stressed professional development. Supporting teachers and helping them to transition to new practices that were not possible without technology has been a key part of each of their programs.
The panel also discussed their concerns about cyber security, technology staffing, and how new teachers need better preparation for the digital classroom. HWME Chairman Bill Poole and his committee members were quite interested in these issues and in hearing more about any proposed solutions from ALET.