Using Technology in the Idea Capital of the World

On a recent visit to Hardin County Schools’ Bluegrass Middle School gym, there was a sign overhead that said “If you believe in yourself, anything is possible”. And as I entered the gymnasium that was filled with students from all the area schools, I saw that message being put into action.

At the first ever Hardin County Technology Fair, students were able come together and display their current technology based projects, which included everything from digital photography (some of which had actually been entered in state competitions), to computer-based language translation programs. I watched as a student demonstrated how to use a new remote system that uses video to feed live classes from one location to the other. Some students showed how they are using technology and the internet to communicate with our soldiers who are deployed overseas. Each booth was very diverse, but one thing was clear: each student was well-versed in the technology that was before them.

This is the new generation. No longer is technology reserved for only a select few. The world of laptops, cell phones, video feeds and computer programs has become the norm, in both our personal lives and our careers. I think it’s wonderful that we live in a region where local school systems recognize that and make sure our students get every benefit that technology can provide.

To become ‘The Idea Capital of the World’, I think that it’s imperative that we continue to progress in this direction. We must promote an education system that is not only aware of the opportunities available, but is also creative in the ways it recognizes and develops natural talent in our students. If we do that, I believe that our abundance of local talent will not only flourish, but will do so in our area instead of having to leave in the pursuit of bigger opportunities. With technology you can pursue those big opportunities from anywhere. Why not here?

I’ve heard from too many people that upon graduating college, they were forced to leave their hometown just to get a job in their field of choice. But, as the tech fair proves, initiatives are being taken to foster a high tech culture right here.

In LaRue County, they have instituted a program called Laptops of LaRue, which has made laptops available to every high school student for school use. They are able to use instant messaging to communicate questions to their teachers, as well as access programs like dyKNO, Moodle and OneNote. This is allowing the class to communicate electronically and keep track of homework and assignments, as well as giving them the ability to keep electronic binders for their classes. Not to mention the ability to use online encyclopedias and even search engines like Google or Yahoo to gather even more information on topics being discussed in class. This program is literally putting huge quantities of information at the students’ fingertips.

Colleges and Universities in the region are following similar paths, but access to technology doesn’t end in the public schools or even college. Adults who have not been exposed to technology the way in which these young students I’ve profiled above also need training opportunities in order to stay competitive. And communities throughout our region recognize that.

Whether it’s the Lifelong Learning Center in Scottsburg; the Adult Education Center in Brandenburg; the Community Learning Center, Salem; or any other number of venues throughout the region, communities are providing access and opportunities for people at all stages of their professional lives. It is becoming the norm not the exception.

What do you think, Readers? Would you like more information? Want to get involved? Do you know someone who is promoting a great idea or organization?  Let’s hear from you!

Until next time,
Jen