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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Maine ed tech official: ‘It takes the teacher to make this work’

"Students Come First" Technology Task Force member Christine Donnell asked Maine educational technology coordinator Steven Garton, "We have encountered some resistance to this legislation. ... Can you help us learn from your experiences, how we can overcome these bumps in the road?" Garton responded, "This has never been a replacement for teachers, and I don't see how this, I think the fear of technology coming in and taking over for a teacher is something that's been out there, but it takes the teacher to make this work, it takes the teacher to use it."

Garton said the best "virtual schools" have found that "in order for it to work, the student-teacher ratio actually has to be less, because they have to be communicating more with each student." He said there's some fear that online learning will turn public school classes into a "university lecture hall" type setting where hundreds of students listen to one teacher. "In the public school setting, that's not really what the people are looking for," he said. "They found that the students do not perform. ... We really haven't had that problem in Maine."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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