Archive for Thursday, October 31, 2002

Tech center would offer shop for 21st century

October 31, 2002

To understand the concept behind the technology center in De Soto USD 232's proposed $76.75 million bond issue, think shop for the 21st century, the district's technology and curriculum directors said.

The $700,000 center would be an addition to the District Administration Building on 91st Street in De Soto. District technology director Ben Crosier and curriculum director Doug Powers said district patrons shouldn't be misled by the center's location. It will be very much a student-learning center, they said.

Just as woodworking and metal shops prepared students for jobs in the past, the technology center would provide valuable instruction in the field on information technology networks the equipment and software that allows computers to share information and applications, they said.

The technology center would have three different classrooms, Crosier said. One would be lab with 25 computers, a smaller room would be a four computer servers and the last room would be a "make-it, break-it lab." That lab would give students hands-on experience routers, switches and other elements of information technology systems, Crosier said.

"For students, it gives them a chance to work on a system that doesn't have to be available all the time," he said. "They can find out what happens if they unplug that cable from the back of the computer.

"It is like the old automotive shop that had cars around you could try things on you wouldn't want to try on your own car. The teacher would come in before class and remove the distributor cap, and the students would try to find out what was wrong."

The 25-computer room could not only be used as a traditional computer lab but would allow students to in a basic networking class to do application experiments, Crosier said.

District students who complete the instruction would be prepared to find employment with businesses and corporations seeking to provide further training to young graduates with needed skills, Powers said. Others may choose to enroll in the two-year system-networking program offered at Johnson County Community College or a four-year program now available at Fort Hays State University, he said.

The technology center will provide more opportunities for community education classes it offers district patrons beyond the introduction to personal computers classes currently available to senior citizens, Powers said.

Parent education will become more important as the district moves forward with its 21st century technology initiative, which made laptop computers available to students at the new Riverview Elementary in Shawnee and will make them Lexington Trails in January.

The computer lab would also allow the district to offer additional staff training, Powers said. That is difficult to do currently because school computer labs are in almost-constant use by students, he said.

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