Niagara Gazette

Local News

June 13, 2013

Falls school board talks tech

Niagara Gazette — One of the major driving forces in education in the 21st century is technology, whether it be in the classroom or behind the scenes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Niagara Falls City School District.

Or, at least, such is the opinion of many of the district's chief administrators, who presented the city's school board with an update to its technology plan Thursday.

Part of the update focused on what board members and the general public can expect technology-wise from the district's capital improvement project, called the Inventing Tomorrow project, as work begins to ramp up this summer.

"We look at technology as the great equalizer in education," Superintendent Cynthia Bianco said. "Look at our STEM labs we're building in our capital project. When we went to the state, we were the first to propose these. Now everyone's doing it. And the same thing with our SMART Boards in the last capital project. Others had them in individual schools, but we were the first to have them district-wide."

Together with the STEM — which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — labs, the capital project is also scheduled to make wireless internet technology available to students throughout the district in each of the district's schools.

It's all part of a plan to ensure each student has the ability to take the state's standardized tests on a computer if the examinations ever become digital, a move some expect possible as early as 2015.

Accommodating the new testing wouldn't just require internet access for all students, it would also require the district to provide computers to each student enrolled in the buildings so they can take their tests. They all must meet specifications set forth by the online test creators, which led Administrator for Information Services Darlene Sprague and her technology task force to develop a plan.

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