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Uniontown board discusses technology plan

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 2:39 p.m.

The new technology plan for the Uniontown Area School District is driven by educational outcomes, not simply by 'collecting stuff,' according to William Freas.

Freas, the district's technology director, presented the three-year plan to the school board at an agenda session Tuesday. He said past plans focused on how many computers the district had and how many were networked.

Freas said teachers sometimes felt inadequate operating the computers. The new plan offers more technical assistance, including 23 hours of computer training for each teacher and an additional 1,700 hours of technical support each year.

At the same time, the plan would increase the access every child has to a computer. While students at some of the district's schools currently can access computers only 45 minutes a few days a week, Freas said the goal is to provide access to every student for 45 minutes each day.

The technology plan was drawn up by a 15-member committee that included teachers, administrators and community leaders.

Chris Decker, a community member on the committee, warned school board members that once students increase their use of the computers, 'the need for tech support will increase geometrically.'

Board member William Rittenhouse said the district will have to look into how it will develop future technicians for the schools.

The technology plan is required every three years by the state Department of Education. Freas noted that by having the plan in place the district also is in position to apply for grant money to help fund the program.

The committee ran into a glitch in preparing the technology plan, however. Freas said the state originally had the school district scheduled to submit the plan in 2002, but later informed the district a clerical error had been made and the plan was due in 2001.

The board will vote on approving the technological plan at its regular meeting Tuesday.

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