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Parents, students and teachers in the Oregon City Schools District are being urged to participate in a national survey about technology use that will help shape the district’s technology policy.

Nathan Quigg, technology director in the district, said the 2012 “Speak Up” national survey can be taken until the Dec. 14 deadline.

The survey allows teachers, students, parents, administrators, and technology leaders to provide input that will impact national efforts to promote the use of technology to transform teaching and learning, according to Quigg.

“The best part is Oregon schools will be provided targeted survey data which we can use to aid us in developing an updated technology plan to guide us through the next three years,” said Quigg.

Data will also be used to promote local efforts in developing and advocating for programs and initiatives that improve the district’s ability to prepare students for the world they live in today, according to Quigg.

“We are particularly interested in parent opinions and ideas about how their school is using technology to improve education and how our parents and teachers use technology at home for learning and communicating,” he said.

Since 2003, responses from the national survey have been shared with local, state and national leaders, said Quigg. The data is used as input by policymakers who are developing new programs, funding and policies for education, according to Quigg.

The district has previously participated in Ohio data surveys to gauge input on its technology policy, but they were discontinued.

“The state decided to jump in on the national survey to get Ohio data and compare it to national trends,” said Quigg.

Unlike the Speak Up survey, the state surveys never involved parents, just teachers and staff, he added.

The survey will help Quigg update the district’s technology plan, which he does every three years.

“Ours expires this spring, so I’ll be updating and writing a new one. I’ll be interested in getting the parents’ point of view. My gut tells me that the parents are ready to move and incorporate student technology. As a community, they’re ready for it,” said Quigg.

An example of the district’s technology policy includes the implementation of “Bring Your Own Device,” which provides Wi-Fi at the middle schools and high school, said Quigg.

“If a student has an iPod, or iPad or cell phone or Kindle, they can bring them in and use them. I think in the next couple of years, I foresee an initiative, if we can figure out how to fund it, in which every kid in the middle schools and high school will have some type of wireless device with access to the Internet. The prices are coming down. We have a lot of iPads in the district. In a perfect world, we could give every kid an iPad mini, which are about $300. That’s probably more than we can afford, but the prices keep coming down. In a year from now, we may be talking $200. If we can find a way to fund it, I can see a day soon where every kid has some type of wireless computer device,” said Quigg.

Technology over the years has changed the way students learn, he said.

“When I went to school, rote memorization was very important. I did well in school because I could memorize anything and regurgitate it on a test. Our kids are not growing up in that world. Memorizing is not important because with a wireless device, they can look up pretty much anything they want to know and get the answer within seconds. So what we need to teach kids is how to problem solve, and how to find information on the Internet, because it’s all available. It’s whether or not kids know how to get to it, and if they know what to do with it once they find it,” said Quigg.

Apple, Inc., he added, is already working with three major textbook publishing companies to create textbooks for the Ipad, which are interactive.

“So instead of just reading about science, I can see an experiment on a video in the book, which is pretty powerful. I could rewind it and watch it as many times as I need to understand it,” said Quigg.

By 2015, the state will require schools to provide all proficiency tests on computers.

“That means I have to have a computer for every kid to take the test. If they all have their own tablet device that meets the specifications, then I don’t have to worry about it,” said Quigg.

Project Tomorrow, which developed the survey, has already registered all Oregon schools to participate, according to Quigg. “All we need to do now is get parents, students and staff to go online and take the survey at www.speakup4schools.org/speakup2012/,” said Quigg. The survey, which should only take about 15 minutes to complete, consists of a series of multiple choice questions and an open-ended question for a write-in response. The password for students and teachers is posted on the district’s website. Parents do not need a password to complete the survey.

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