Federal education official says technology, early learning can unlock a child's potential

Published: Tuesday, April 1 2014 7:20 p.m. MDT

Those first steps, she said, include upgrades to school infrastructure and efforts to improve technology access for all families. In addition, it's critical that educators be trained on the effective implementation of new technology, Doggett said.

"It isn’t just technology, and it isn’t just software. You’ve got to invest in your people," she said. "If you’re not going to provide the training and the support for the teachers and the parents to learn to use the technology, then it’s really been wasted."

Policymakers in Utah traditionally prefer to begin new initiatives with limited pilot programs and structured implementation as opposed to rapid statewide rollouts. Doggett said a slow and steady pace, coupled with rigorous evaluation, is responsible when considering the finite resources available to schools.

She also said national polling shows overwhelming support for a dramatic expansion of early learning initiatives, and, each year, new students are entering the public education system potentially underprepared.

"We need to act now," Doggett said. "We can't waste time."

Hulterstrom said educators need to be proactive about implementing technology and providing opportunities to students, even if state and federal funding are slow to arrive.

"Do not wait for money," he said. "We need more money. We want more money. But I think we too often use that as our excuse not to do what we need to do now."

Email: benwood@deseretnews.com, Twitter: bjaminwood

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