President’s Blog – May 2015

Luis AModern Technology is Going to Save Our Cities and Schools!

(If we can figure out how to use it)

Luis Ayala, Latino Policy Center Board President and Vice-Mayor, City of Alhambra

There’s no question digital technology has changed our lives. Who knew one day we would be able to buy airline tickets and pick our seats; participate on an important conference call and see everyone’s faces; and check on our kid’s grades all on our phones! But making sure all that technology makes our life easier and not more complicated is a daily challenge.

The same is true for those of us who lead cities, schools and colleges. We know technology can be a powerful tool to serve our residents and our students. Hi-tech classrooms are transforming education. City residents can go online and see the inner workings of local government. I remember recently watching a Monterey Park Recreation worker turn the lights on for a soccer field using his cell phone. But how do we, as policymakers, determine what technology is best? Which technology is most cost-effective? Which tech tools are going to produce the results we want? These are important questions that for many of us there are no easy answers.

That’s why we decided to focus on technology at our next annual Latino Policy Forum. Our event, 21st Century Cities and Schools, is designed to provide you with useful resources and give you the chance to connect and engage with education and civic leaders who have found ways to make technology work effectively for their cities and schools.

We all want to be connected via wifi to the Internet – why rely on Starbucks? But should a city invest in a larger wifi network? What does that cost and are they ways to use that wifi to stimulate economic development? Tablets are now the hottest education tool but we’ve all read the headlines about what happened at LAUSD and their ipads. What can schools do to make sure they use tablets and other digital tools effectively?

Our Policy Forum will make use of some hi-tech software to conduct a real-time survey of participants and we’re featuring panelists from cities, schools and tech companies such as Facebook to help us bridge our own digital divide.

Register today for our Forum but you’ll have to do it the old-school way and call us. We’re working on getting 21st Century technology for our website but we’re not quite there yet!