ALEX and ACCESS
Alabama has a program called ACCESS distance learning. The purpose of this program is to make scarce resources available to any student in Alabama through technology. (example given was if a student wanted to learn Chinese but his school didn't offer it. He could use the online distance learning to take his Chinese course.) By all students having access to all the same resources and classes it evens the playing field and allows all students to get the best. This program not only gives students access to material they wouldnt otherwise get but it helps teachers also.
The Access program gave out 70 grants to highschools to bring in distance learning into the classroom. A distance learning classroom gets:Codec (A codec is technology for compressing and decompressing data),Cameras, Monitors and/or projectors, Interactive whiteboard (interactive, portable, wireless electronic boards), 25 tablet computers (minimum), Wireless port or router, Installation, on-site service, warranty, technical support, and equipment training and equipment manuals, Professional Development/ Specialized Training. The current goal of Access is to provide a distance learning classroom for every high school in Alabama.
Part of the ACCESS program is ALEX(Alabama Learning Exchange). ALEX is an online resource that allows teachers to store, share, or borrow lesson plans. One of the features is that when you submit a lesson plan it is put of for reviewing. Viewers can critique your lesson plan but can only grade it by the websites criteria. When they say something is wrong with your lesson plan they have to put a comment of why its not perfect and ways to make it better. Also on their website is links to a list of websites that the Department of Education thinks is important. ( websites that provide professional development opportunities, teaching and learning tools, latest news, or best practices)
To me, it seems like Alabama is trying to give students, as well as teachers, all the resources it can. Not only are they giving you ways to further your knowledge but they are making the classroom more technology centered. Making classrooms more technological will help Alabama produce more tech. literate students. There is no way to get around technology so merging it is the best thing. If you can't beat them, Join them.