Task force to explore best use of tech in Lenox classrooms

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LENOX — The public school district's new superintendent is convening a task force of faculty, staff and several parents to figure out the most effective use of technology in classrooms.

"We have a plethora of technology in the district, we're very well equipped," said Kimberly Merrick, who succeeded Timothy Lee as superintendent July 1. "And if we're not, we find ways to give teachers and students what they need."

The issue to be explored, she explained, is how to best employ all the available technology equipment for academic instruction.

Merrick described the task force as a "collaborative effort with teachers sharing with other teachers their ideas, and what they do in the classroom. We'll see where it goes. I'd like to see what the community thinks."

Her hope is that faculty members excited about using technology in their courses "radiate their enthusiasm to others, so it's kind of contagious." But she pointed out that "there's no obligation to be using it, no initiative in that direction, it's really about sharing ideas."

The task force will meet monthly through May, with the first three sessions set for Oct. 11, Nov. 15 and Dec. 13 from 3:45 to 5 p.m. at Town Hall. Schedules are subject to change, based on members' preferences.

"Since technology is a critical instructional component for all five academic programs, and in every grade level and content area, we are looking for a diverse group of members representing each of the unique aspects of our school district," Merrick said.

The Instructional Technology Task Force is designed to explore the "always-on" nature of the internet, she said. "The proliferating use of mobile access devices provide Lenox and districts across the Commonwealth with an outstanding opportunity to create learning experiences that are available any time and in any place."

The district aims to make sure that all students have equal access to technology-assisted learning, especially those "who have faced historic and persistent disadvantages, or students who are gifted and require higher-level, enriched learning opportunities." the superintendent added.

Task force participants will be asked to prepare an instructional technology plan for the next three years, through 2021.

"I'd like it to be very teacher-driven," Merrick said. "I'd like them to act as leaders in the district and hear where they'd like this to go; it's not about me and my vision."

Those interested in joining the group are asked to email the superintendent at kmerrick@lenoxps.org.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.


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