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April 16, 2010 - Teachers Save Through Cost-Effective Training Partnership   RSS feed

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OneNet and OTAC utilize technology to deliver free programs to school districts across the state

There’s no need for teachers to spend their gas and time driving to professional development when they can receive the training they need from the comfort of their own computers through the Oklahoma Technical Assistance Center (OTAC).

Powered by OneNet, Oklahoma’s official telecommunications and information network for education, government and research, OTAC provides free programs on more than 60 different topics including programs mandated by the Oklahoma Legislature for school personnel.

“By delivering professional development directly to a teacher’s computer, travel costs are eliminated, which saves Oklahoma’s school districts money,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “This partnership further shows the value of OneNet and its capabilities, especially during a time when state resources must be utilized in the most efficient manner.”

OTAC recruits highly regarded specialists from across Oklahoma to present programs that are digitally recorded and made available on the OTAC Web site. Teachers and school administrators choose the programs or “webcast” topics that meet their needs and download them to their computers. The programs can be viewed individually or shown to groups. After viewing, participants are encouraged to complete a brief evaluation of their experience.

“We’ve seen exponential growth in the demand for this resource,” said David McPhail, technology coordinator for OTAC. “Recent counts show that more than 100,000 viewers have accessed the online programs, up from 1,076 in 2005.”

In addition to a continuously evolving menu of programs, participants have the opportunity to learn from speakers who are out of state. By utilizing OneNet’s capabilities, OTAC recently connected more than 35 programs for a follow-up session with a conference speaker based in Virginia.

Created in 2005, this partnership among OTAC, OneNet and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has provided cost-efficient, high-quality professional development to teachers and administrators more than 100,000 times.

OneNet, a division of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, is operated in cooperation with the Oklahoma Office of State Finance. Through a partnership between the state of Oklahoma and private telecommunications companies, OneNet provides comprehensive, high-speed telecommunications access for distance learning and Internet applications.