School Technology For $1.7 Million

Posted: March 12, 1992

A five-year plan designed to further incorporate computer technology into the curriculum of Lower Merion schools will cost the district more than $1.7 million over the next five years.

The District Technology Committee presented the plan with the aid of a Macintosh computer projected onto an overhead screen at a school board meeting Monday night.

"We are not looking to teach the students technology," said William Dolton, a math teacher and committee member, "but to incorporate technology into the achievement of curriculum goals."

When Board Vice President Mary A. Wright balked at the cost of the program, district Superintendent David W. Magill said, "The question is not, 'Can we afford to do this?' but 'Can we afford not to?' This is an expense any quality school district must incur."

Projected costs for the program include $310,000 every year for the next five years to purchase new computer hardware, and $50,000 every year for the next three years for staff development.

During the next five years, the program calls for the replacement of Apple II equipment with Macintosh systems, except for the business department in the high schools, which will continue to use an IBM-type system.

The curriculum focus for the next two years will be on the use of word processing as a tool in writing. During the third, fourth and fifth years of the program, the focus will turn toward developing research, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills using computers.

Alan Rosenau, director of secondary education, presented an evaluation of Lower Merion High School by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

The Middle States Association evaluates its member schools every 10 years and then presents them a list of commendations and recommendations.

Although the report was generally complimentary, the association recommended that the library be integrated more fully into the curriculum.

The association also found that "The only significant fault in the academic program is the absence of technology as an instructional tool," and recommended that a plan be developed to "provide the hardware and software necessary to integrate the trends of the 1990s into the school's learning processes."

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