Technology is definitely here to stay. I cant imagine a workday without my smartphone, computer and email.
In fact, without technology there would be no way to effectively train and offer professional development to Norco Inc.s 900-plus employees who span across 60 branches and seven states. Each day, each employee, in each department uses some form of technology.
To provide consistent training for new hires and refresher courses for existing employees, the Norco Virtual University (NVU) was launched in 2001. Due to its success and increasing technology needs, NVU expanded with two spinoff training websites and video training modules these have educated thousands of employees throughout the industries Norco represents.
The critical importance of technology in the workplace underscores the need to incorporate technology into our schools, where students learn complete digital literacy alongside reading, writing and arithmetic. The educational experience must produce adults who are comfortable and proficient with the tools of technology, because that is what Idaho needs for the future.
Of course students need to be well-rounded and prepared as a whole, because people matter the most. Aptitude in leadership, creativity and collaboration must complement technical skills to make an exemplary employee. Good people enable businesses to grow and thrive, with technology supercharging the process. Fortunately Idaho has many programs and organizations, like the Idaho Leads Project, working to meet this need. The Boise State University-managed program supports teachers in bringing technology into the classroom.
The Idaho Leads Project, in collaboration with the Idaho Technology Council, is presenting the MyFuture Student Tech Contest. MyFuture asks Idahos K-12 students and teachers to help design the classroom of the 21st century.
Participants create short videos explaining things like: What kinds of technology do you use? How do students collaborate? How can you use technology to take tests? What do your art, science, history, etc., classes look like with technology?
Producing these videos offers an excellent opportunity for students and teachers to learn and share. Community members and parents can see how things have changed since they were in school. It can be a source of pride for Idaho illustrating the creativity of our teachers and students.
It will be up to the community to vote for the contest winners. I urge the public to become engaged in this process, go online and vote. With prizes ranging from classroom iPads and virtual field trips to college scholarships, your vote could improve someones future. Show Idahos students and teachers that technology in education is valuable, and that Idaho is invested in their success.
Community voting is open from Friday to Monday. The finalists will be honored and winners announced at the annual Hall of Fame Gala on Tuesday.
As a sponsor of this contest, Norco Inc. hopes this imaginative effort will help teachers provide customized learning to students, as well as stimulating creative new educational tools for student use. I congratulate Idahos educational community for its admirable progress in this vital effort.
Jim Kissler is the chief executive officer of Norco Inc.
Idaho students and teachers have crafted videos detailing their dream classrooms. Now you can vote for the winners. Cast our vote from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 and learn more about the MyFuture Student Tech Contest on the Idaho Leads Project website (http://education.boisestate.edu/idaholeads)