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Technology in Rural Schools: Harnessing the Power of Community
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm EDT
Presented by Donald Benton, Assistant Commissioner, Research and Technology, Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education; and Dr. Mary Wegner, Superintendent, Sitka School District, AK
Hosted by Dr. Beth Holland, Digital Equity and Rural Project Director at CoSN
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For the final webinar of the Technology in Rural Schools series, CoSN’s Beth Holland hosts Donald Benton, Assistant Commissioner, Research & Development in the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education; and Dr. Mary Wegner, Superintendent of the Sitka School District in Alaska, to discuss the challenges and benefits of harnessing the human power of community to truly take the digital leap. Rural districts often exist within close-knit communities that are highly invested in their local schools, and district leaders can take advantage of this engagement by including parents, students, staff, business leaders, and community members in their technology initiatives. However, they also face unique challenges as they strive to find and retain different talents and skills – particularly given remote geographic locations.
This recorded edWebinar will be of particular value to superintendents, assistant superintendents, district technology leaders, and school leaders in rural schools.
About the Presenters
Donald Benton serves as Assistant Commissioner of Research and Technology for the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education. In his role, Donald oversees technology initiatives and resources such as DESE’s Ambassador Academy, Arkansas Digital Sandbox, and Student GPS dashboards as well as the Arkansas Public School Computer Network. Before joining DESE in September 2018, Donald served as an assistant professor in educational leadership at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. He also has been the director of the Hot Springs Technology Institute and founded Schools Without Walls, which provides mobile technology and online learning professional development for technology leaders and educators. He previously served as the director of technology and information, information technology security officer/disaster recovery, technology plan developer and E-Rate coordinator at the Hot Springs School District. Donald has a Bachelor of Science in education, a Master of Science in education, and an Education Specialist in district-level leadership from Henderson State University. He is pursuing a Doctor of Education in educational technology from Boise State University.
Dr. Mary Wegner serves as Superintendent of Sitka School District in Alaska. She seeks to transform the learning landscape to be relevant for today’s learners while ensuring equity in educational opportunities. The Sitka School District is a proud member of the League of Innovative Schools. Mary was honored to be invited to the White House Summit on Technology in Education where President Obama shared Sitka’s story of success in his address. Mary serves on numerous committees and boards that have impact in Sitka and Alaska, as well as at the national and international levels. A few examples include serving as a Trustee on the Alaska State Council on the Arts, being a member of the CoSN Rural Advisory Panel, and sitting on the Board of the International Society for Technology in Education. Mary is passionate about her work on the state and national level in the area of advocacy to promote digital-rich learning environments and the value of public education to society. Mary also works to end homelessness in her home community.
About the Host
Dr. Beth Holland serves as Digital Equity and Rural Project Director for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). Over the past 20 years, she has taught in K-12 classrooms, served as Director of Academic Technology in a PS-8 independent school, designed professional learning programs for schools around the world, and developed leadership programs to support systemic change. Additionally, she is a prolific writer, researcher, and speaker. Dr. Holland holds an Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) in Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s degree (Ed.M.) in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard University, as well as a bachelor’s degree (B.S.) in Communications from Northwestern University.
Join the Tech for Rural Districts community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.
CoSN (the Consortium for School Networking) is the premier professional association for school system technology leaders. CoSN provides thought leadership resources, community, best practices and advocacy tools to help leaders succeed in the digital transformation. CoSN represents over 13 million students in school districts nationwide and continues to grow as a powerful and influential voice in K-12 education.