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Cogs are beginning to mesh to put Utah's $15 million technology initiative into motion.

The naming of a project director for the Technology Office will enhance the ability of local school districts to get approval for plans to spend their share of the initiative money. Money from the initiative passed by the 1990 Legislature will be distributed to school districts late this month, but none of it can be spent until individual district plans are OK'd.The appointment of E. Curtis Fawson, professor of instructional technology at Brigham Young University, as project director was announced Wednesday during the annual meeting of the Utah School Superintendents Association in Park City's Olympia Hotel.

"I hope we can focus (technology efforts) on the needs of students," Fawson told reporters. "Technology is not a panacea, but there are some things it can do and do extremely well."

Technology in the classroom has the potential to relieve teachers of tedious administrative tasks and allow them more teaching time, Fawson said. The trend has been to try to adapt industrial models for technology to education, he said. "We need to look at some new approaches."

Fawson has been involved in developing technological support programs for special education and other instructional uses and hopes to encourage development of Utah programs that will provide models for the districts as they plan how to spend their technology money.