is growing quickly. "This is a very good example of how you can take a small but critical activity in government, automate it to the Web, populate the database with vendors, and give everyone what they need in a simple and cost-effective manner," he said.
Training Just in Time
Oregon is another state that's currently enjoying the benefits of online training, but the training is primarily for educators. Called Just in Time Training (JITT), the site focuses on the "how to" of technology integration in the classroom.
According to Marilyn Kelly, JITT team leader, the Web site began in the mind of a district technology coordinator. "The idea was to use Web technology to deliver professional development and technical resources to educators around the state -- anytime, anywhere. All they needed was a connection to the Internet," she said. "People would have access to training when they needed it (and when they felt like doing it); they wouldn't need to travel to get it; they wouldn't need to arrange for a substitute. Districts and the state would benefit because information and professional development would be delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner."
With this idea in mind, several people from Eugene School District 4J got together with the Oregon Association of Education Service Districts and the Center for Advanced Technology at the University of Oregon and applied for a grant to deploy the Web site. In the fall of 1996, the group was awarded a grant from the Oregon Department of Education. Today, JITT is online and packed with training resources for educators, including a 45-minute, hands-on tutorial on Web navigation.
"Among other things, we [wanted] to create a model professional-development Web site," said Kelly. "We believe we succeeded in doing that. We have received almost nothing but rave reviews from teachers, tech coordinators and other educators at regional training centers around the state. They are excited to be able to go to the Web site, learn about the Web and [learn] how to use it with their kids."
The site also includes a searchable database of the state's recently adopted academic performance standards. Teachers and parents can query the database by grade level and subject for the precise curriculum benchmarks state educators are phasing in over the next five years. Examples of student work and annotated comments on how the samples relate to educational performance are also included.
While Oregon doesn't currently have any statistics on JITT's return on investment, Kelly is confident they are favorable. "When you think about the fact that everyone in the state has access to the latest standards information from the Oregon Department of Education, or to lesson plans for searching the Web, or to listservs for professional development, and to all kinds of information for research, and reaching out to people around the world, the cost of delivering the information is minimal," Kelly said. "The benefits of delivering it and making it available to our teachers and our students are great."