Nearly 2,000 state teachers further education at TTL academies Beginning June 3 and continuing through July, nearly 2,000 of South Dakota's educators will head back to the classroom to learn how to better integrate technology into their teaching. This year's participants in the state's Technology for Teaching and Learning (TTL) academies will join the ranks of 4,800 graduates of the program who have already been trained since Gov. Bill Janklow launched the program five summers ago.
"We began the TTL academies in 1997 with 135 teachers and now, with this summer's academies, we will have reached 54 percent of the teaching force in South Dakota with Basic TTL," Janklow said. "We have to make sure every student is able to gain the maximum advantage from technology that is available to them. Teachers won't be able to fully use technology in their classroom if they aren't trained properly and that means some kids won't have the opportunity to make the most of what's available."
Regional TTL academies will be held in June and July at Beresford, Bon Homme, Brandon Valley, Brookings, Canistota, Castlewood, Chamberlain, Custer, De Smet, Dell Rapids, Eureka, Florence, Freeman, Groton, Hanson, Huron, Irene, Lemmon, Madison Central, McIntosh, Meade, Milbank, Mitchell, Mount Vernon, Pierre, Platte, Rapid City, Redfield, Sioux Falls, Sioux Valley, Shannon County, Spearfish, Sully Buttes, Tri-Valley, Vermillion, Viborg, Wagner, Wall, Watertown, West Central, Winner and Yankton.
TTL participants are immersed in technology training for 200 classroom hours during the course of the four-week academy. They learn basic computer applications, including word processing, desktop publishing, spreadsheets, databases, web authoring and presentation programs. Each TTL participant receives a $1,000 stipend for attending the academy and $1,000 to take back home for their school district to buy technology.
No other state has a program similar to South Dakota's TTL academies. Janklow started them as a key part of his systematic approach of infusing technology into education: wiring the schools for technology, connecting the schools to each other and training the teachers to integrate technology into lesson plans and daily classroom activities. The comprehensive approach to technology in education has won South Dakota national awards and recognition, including being ranked No. 1 in the nation in use of technology for education in the Digital State annual survey.
The TTL menu of teacher training also includes Advanced TTL, a two-week course at Dakota State University in Madison, Northern State University in Aberdeen, Black Hills State University in Spearfish, and The University of South Dakota in Vermillion. These advanced sessions focus on higher-level technology skills, including advanced web design, video editing, classroom use of personal digital assistants and global positioning units, and digital photography and editing. The Advanced TTL sessions will be held at DSU, NSU, and BHSU in June and again at DSU and USD June 17-28.
Other specialized TTL courses include, Distance Teaching and Learning (DTL) for teachers to create, implement, and deliver distance courses using the state's Digital Dakota Network; and courses for network administrators (TTL NA) and school administrators (TTL SA).
Regional DTL sessions in June will be held at Canton, Dupree, Faith, Hamlin, Meade, Parker, Parkston, Sisseton, and Wessington Springs and in July at Bristol, Bupree, Hamlin, Sisseton, and Spearfish. TTL NA sessions will be at Mitchell Technical Institute and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. TTL SA will be held at Black Hills State University and The University of South Dakota.
The TTL academies are staffed by K-12 teachers who serve as instructors, with leadership provided by the Department of Education and Cultural Affairs, the Governor's Office, and Technology and Innovations in Education (TIE).
For more information, visit the South Dakota TTL Web site at http://www.sdttl.com/. An issue brief that provides a deeper look at the TTL academies can be found at www.state.sd.us/news.