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Principal Suggests Seven Steps to Effectively Use Technology in Schools

An Arkansas principal of a 225-student pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school has seven suggestions on how to transfrom rural schools' attitudes towards using technology.

Daisy Dyer Duerr, principal of St. Paul public schools in St. Paul, Ark., was named National Digital Principal   of 2014 by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. When she started at the school in 2011, it had a few SmartBoards, 10 Macbooks, and little other technology.

Duerr changed that by giving iPads to every teacher and buying Netbooks and Nooks for students. The school went from 10 portable devices to 200. Duerr also started a weekly Arkansas Twitter chat (using the hashtag #ArkEdChat) and lobbied for more bandwith for her school.

She recently was featured on the KQED in San Francisco, Calif., public television web site, and here are her seven suggestions for boosting technology use in rural schools:

1. Just start: "It's not about what you have, it's about being awesome," Duerr said in the KQED story.

2. Develop a shared vision

3. Write grants

4. Take advantage of BYOD, or "Bring Your Own Devices"

5. Consider hotspots

6. Invest in professional development

7. Try something new: The school has a "genius hour" during which every fourth- through 12th-grader works on a "passion project." School officials say it has benefited students and the community.

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