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If you haven’t read the new MacArthur foundation report Living and Learning with new Media (http://, which discusses how our kids are using social networks and tools to connect, you might want to consider it sooner rather than later. In a nutshell, the study found that kids are using online social technologies in impressive numbers to stay connected to the people they already know and, more importantly for us, to connect to other people around the globe they don’t know but with whom they share a passion or an interest.

Many district administrators are finding that they can save money on computers by buying preowned ones instead of new ones. The practice has other benefits as well: It allows districts to give more computers to more students who need them, and it also promotes good environmental practices by keeping the machines out of landfills, where they otherwise might wind up.


Document camera

Hardware, $799

Going back to school means something completely different to today’s IT administrators.

Giddings, Texas, is a small town located in the middle of a very large and rural state. “We’re pretty much an agricultural, oil and gas type community,” says Michael S. Kuhrt, superintendent of the 1,900-student school district.

In the digital world we live in, being a “viewer ” is past. Web 2.0 tools—social networks, wikis, blogs, voicestream, YouTube, Google Docs—allow users to be participants. Instead of creating isolated users, such technologies foster community and collaboration.



Most school districts face more mandates and less funding each year, so many search for solutions to save across the board. The Alvarado (Texas) Independent School District turned to technology to save money. The district, which has 500 staff members, 11 of whom are IT, sought to find a way to leverage technology to help bridge the gap in business processes that can in part lead to high overhead operational costs. And the district wanted to streamline the business process of paperwork when a student enrolls and fills out paperwork to get network accounts.


The growing use of online teaching in the nation’s public schools has placed a related burden on district administrators to ensure that they use high quality and highly qualified instructors.