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State Educators Applaud No Child Left Offline Initiative To Expand Technology In The Classroom

SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— As part of his No Child Left Offline initiative, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has created a task force which he said recommends the expansion of technology in the classroom.

"During the school day we have our students in every class connected to a computer for that part of the learning that will help them and then we will also have it after school," Torlakson said acknowledging what he called a real digital divide.

Eric Hines, Vice president of the California Teachers Association, agrees students need technology to prepare for the 21st century and the jobs they'll need, but that implementing a new blueprint will be difficult.

"I think the first challenge is to stop continued cuts to our education," Hines said referring to budget cuts and the loss of teachers over the past few years.

KCBS' Anna Duckworth Reports:

It's been more than a decade since a plan for using technology in California's public schools has been thoroughly updated. Under the new plan headed by Torlakson's Education Technology Task Force, smartphones and tablets, currently banned from use, could become tools for students in the classroom.

Torlakson said through low-cost purchases or low cost loans, students of lower income can connect to the internet just like everybody else and take that computer or tablet home.

Dennis Kelly, president of the United Educators of San Francisco, said the state would first have to work with teachers in professional development so they ensure students are integrating the technology into actual learning.

"It can't be just a source of entertainment and it just can't be useful in social media," said Kelly.

Torlakson concluded the word is out to parents and students to bring their internet connecting devices.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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