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      Bushland ISD pushing for technology upgrades

      School districts everywhere are all facing the same issue, making sure their teachers and students are keeping up with the twenty-first century. That means integrating the latest technology into their classrooms.

      Kids are playing on iPads, iPhones, and computers at home, then going to school and having to power down. But updating technology is expensive, and that's why Bushland Independent School District is looking at proposing a bond. It's this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education report.

      Currently, Bushland ISD has a capital improvement committee looking at what technology the district needs and making recommendations to the board. Right now, iPads, and smart boards and other current technology are scarce.

      "We have a clear understanding how kids learn today and we know that technology is a big part of that. We understand that as they leave Bushland ISD and go into any career field or go into college technology its essential," said Angie Watson, Director of Curriculum.

      Some of those needs are iPads, notebooks, and smart boards.But to do that, the district needs money and they're looking at a $3 million bond package to pass on to voters in the Spring. Officials say it's more important now than ever to update their technology.

      "They're really phasing out what we know as a normal textbook and they're going to instructional resources that are technology based. Textbooks we have nowadays are over 10 years old and with technology updates are made immediately," said Watson.

      To make these updates, teachers have to go through training, making sure they meet the National Educational Technology Standards.

      "What we focus on is blended learning. We had a training using Admotto which is an online classroom management system. There's apps that's available from any computer. And so a teacher can actually have 24/7 access to their students questions, homework, quizzes. By providing updating hardware and software staying up-to-date we're giving our kids the opportunity to learn more quickly," said Michelle Bellah, Technology Coordinator.

      Watson says that the state is looking at phasing out textbooks because it's less expensive, saving on printing and paper cost.