If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow.

- John Dewey

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Congressman Pays a Visit to Lawrence Intermediate School to See New Technology Program in Action

By Michael Ratcliffe
Published January 22, 2011

During a recent visit to Lawrence Intermediate School, U.S. Congressman Rush Holt got an up-close look at how the Lawrence Township public school district is using a $1.4 million grant to improve students' learning opportunities and help them become proficient with modern technology.

The grant, awarded to the township last June by the New Jersey Department of Education through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, covers two years of funding for a program at LIS called Talent 21 – Teaching and Learning with Essential New Technologies in the 21st Century.

Holt, a Democrat who represents New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, which includes Lawrence Township, toured several sixth-grade classrooms on Jan. 13 to speak with students and watch as they used the individual laptop computers they were issued as part of the Talent 21 program.

About 300 LIS sixth-graders started the current year each with a “mobile computing device” that they will each carry with them into the seventh grade and use throughout the 2011-12 school year. Next year’s incoming class of sixth-graders will each receive a new Dell Netbook purchased with the grant.

“Rep. Holt said he appreciated the opportunity to visit with Lawrence students and see how they are benefitting from technology in the classrooms. He said that the new technology program provides equity and connectivity among the students,” according to a Lawrence Township Public Schools news release.

The district said some of the benefits of students each having their own laptop through the Talent 21 program are “more technology access during and after school, use of Web Tools 2.0, and online collaboration.”

About a quarter of the $1.4 million grant is funding professional development for teachers to learn how to best integrate the laptops into their lessons and help students get the most out of the new technology.