The Center for Rural Development recently co-sponsored a technology event in conjunction with the East Region Association of Technology Coordinators (ERATC). The event brought together several Eastern Kentucky school districts to focus on enhancing the integration of technology into the educational process. The effort aims to impact school curriculum, staff development and community relations. While the group is making a huge impact within schools, they also hope that as internet access within their region improves, it will help to extend their efforts even further. “One major concern in our area is the lack of broadband and what the community has access to outside of the schools,” said the event’s organizer Harold Morgan with Leslie County Schools.
The event’s initiative involved empowering schools and communities to become active in the educational process, as well as preparing them for a changing economy, workforce and digital world. “We feel student access is of vital importance as more educational opportunities move online,” said Larry Combs, Broadband Implementation Manager at The Center.
ERATC engages with communities and local governments to help guide and implement technology within their region. Focus areas include ensuring the continuous professional development of content and supporting the development and implementation of a rigorous curriculum. In addition, ERATC helps teachers integrate technology into their instructional practice and promotes team work and partnering at the administrative, teacher, parent and student levels.
This event is one example of many exciting things happening in the region that directly relate to The Center’s mission to provide leadership that stimulates innovative and sustainable economic development solutions and a better way of life for the citizens we serve. “The Center has a strong interest in online educational opportunities for students and their ability to participate in school activities from home,” Combs added. All of the school districts who participated in the event are within The Center’s 45 county primary service area. Districts that make up ERATC include Leslie County, Perry County, Hazard Ind., Letcher County, Knott County, Floyd County, Pike County, Pikeville Ind., Lee County, Breathitt County, Jackson Ind., Jenkins Ind., Magoffin County, Wolfe County, and Owsley County.