Technology has a big impact not just on the business environment in Idaho, but also on the state’s education system. 

By exposing students to new ideas and enabling new pedagogical strategies, technology enhances and maximizes classroom learning. In recent years, technology has made teaching and learning more interactive, which helps students apprehend and internalize information more easily. Making a sizeable investment in elementary and high schools, Idaho’s legislature pledged funding last year to launch technology pilot projects in school districts within the state.

Emphasizing a full integration technology model, the Idaho Legislature appropriated $3 million to improve student academic growth and increase financial efficiencies. This grant funding is available to selected school districts throughout the state for periods of up to two years for the purpose of implementing technology. Once a technology model is fully integrated at a single school building, it will be scalable to other buildings and will eventually be sustainable throughout the state.

Unfortunately, technology in many schools in Idaho is insufficient. Bringing more technology into the classroom can enhance learning opportunities for Idaho’s students and help teachers employ new, innovative teaching methods. The more access and exposure students get to technology in the classroom, the more equipped they will be to successfully leverage technology in higher education and in their careers. By rolling out technology in schools, Idaho is supporting children in experiencing the most current trends in education, information, and learning.

Idaho Housing Market

Housing prices continued to remain mostly flat at year’s end and in early 2015, with a slight decrease both nationally and in Idaho. According to the CoreLogic Home Price Index, home prices decreased 0.3 percent in Idaho at year’s end, which represents a 1.3-percent rise compared to December 2013. On the national scene, home prices also decreased 0.1 percent month over month, which represents a 5.0-percent climb from December 2013 prices. In Idaho, home prices are still 19.5 percent below their September 2007 high, and home prices nationally are still 13.4 percent below their pre-recession high.

Just as oil prices affect every aspect of the economy—from unemployment to wages to inflation—they also have a significant impact on home prices. Major cities with high employment in the oil and gas industry, such as Houston and Oklahoma City, tend to see home prices sway with oil prices, but these home price drops are usually delayed by a year or two.

The recent boom in drilling in the U.S. has led to the creation of boom-towns across the nation that rely more on oil and gas jobs than large cities like Houston do. In these areas, a significant drop in oil prices often leads to an immediate drop in home prices, which helps to partially explain why the growth in home prices has been so slow across the nation over the past few months.