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Baltimore County Schools Get Presidential Nod For 5-Year Digital Upgrade Plan

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Gigi Barnett anchors the Weekend Morning Edition with Meteorologist...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ)—An aggressive five-year digital upgrade is underway in Baltimore County schools. As a result, the district’s superintendent got an invitation to the White House.

Gigi Barnett has more on how the technology will transform the classroom.

A laptop or tablet in the hands of every student. That’s the five-year goal of Baltimore County school leaders.

It’s a goal that President Barack Obama recognized Thursday. In a special ceremony at the White House, President Obama named Baltimore County school superintendent Dr. Dallas Dance as one of 10 “champions of change.”

It’s a national award given to educators using state-of-the-art technology to boost learning.

“Today’s champions of change are helping to give our students what every parent wants for their child: the chance to go as far as their talents and hard work will take them,” the president said.

Baltimore County is just in the first year of its five-year goal. But when it’s complete, the district says its five-year plan keeps the old fashioned methods of teaching in the classroom. That means paper and pencils stay.

“Our approach is not just about digital everything,” said county’s executive director of digital learning Ryan Imbriale.

Imbriale says more technology in schools gives parents and teachers a better idea of which students are grasping the lessons and which ones need a little more help.

“What we want to have happen from this digital conversion is to ensure that parents can reinforce that work at home and they have those resources that students can go online, and if there’s a skill that they need to be reinforced with, they have the access to do that over and over again,” he said.

Back in June, Obama rolled out a plan to bring national high-speed Internet to 99 percent of the nation’s classrooms in five years. Only about 20 percent of schools have it now, so that means Baltimore County is right in line with the national plan.

Baltimore County school leaders are also partnering with libraries, so students who don’t have computers at home stay plugged in to their lessons.

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