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BOCES grant to benefit schools countywide

A grant ceremony was held at 3 p.m. Sept. 29 for the $2.1 million grant that has been officially awarded to Madison-Oneida BOCES and the Mohawk Regional Information Center that will benefit 156 schools and more than 72,000 students in Central and Northern New York.

Assemblyman David Townsend attended the ceremony to celebrate the enhanced learning that's on the horizon for area students.

"Implementing this learning system, is the wave of the future," Townsend said of the new technology that will be utilized throughout Madison, Oneida, Jefferson, Herkimer and Ostego counties.

Understanding the importance of innovative learning in the region, Assistant Director for Technology at the Mohawk Regional Information Center Tracy Rowlands said she is excited to see an increase of writing literacy thanks to the EETT grant. She said the use of Web 2.0 tools and collaborative learning will be a part of the new supplemental courses.

"The technology is in their hands and we want to make sure they can use it," Rowlands said.

Beacause several avenues of technology will be implemented, Rowlands said students will utilize the tools on school campuses to learn how to use them intelligently and in a secure manner. The idea of using a group online classroom chat or video conference would help a large group of students in several counties learn in a collaborative manner, she said. Students will start using research based technology, Wikis, blogs and other technological learning tools.

"Our job is to prepare our students for what's ahead, even if it's unknown," Rowlands said.

One of the many regional teachers that will be able to use the new learning tools, Oriskany Central School District music teacher Lisa Davis, said she is looking forward to the time when music will be a "core subject." She said there different ways technology has already been incorporated in her students' seventh grade cirriculum.

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