Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2004

Board presented tech timetable

January 22, 2004

De Soto High School students would receive personal computing devices during the first semester of the 2004-2005 school year under a tentative timetable shared Monday with the De Soto USD 232 Board of Education.
District Director of Educational Services Doug Powers provided the Board with a schedule for implementing the district's so-called 21st Century Learning Initiative and installation of Thin Client -- the computer hardware and software system that was is the district 1-to1 computing solution.
Powers plan envisioned the district's newest elementary school, the Woodsonia Replacement school, to be the first building in line for the technology. After Woodsonia connects to Thin Client in August, De Soto High School will be next to follow in October.
"There are still lots of factors that could accelerate or slow the schedule," Powers said. "I'll be coming back to the Board with continued updates. We'll take a lead from them as this project goes along."
Powers plan calls for the installation of Thin Client in 10 district schools by the beginning of the 2007-2008 school year. This projection includes all existing district schools but does not including two additional elementary schools approved in the 2002 $176 million bond issue.
District Technology Director Ben Crosier is closely involved with Powers in the process. Crosier was responsible for bringing the Thin Client solution to the Board for approval during the last year. Superintendent Sharon Zoellner, while not assisting with the technical aspects of the projects, consults with Powers on the project's financial aspects. The $176 million dollar bond issue allocated $12 million for technology funding.
Thin Client devices have been evaluated throughout the district and is compatible with the 450 laptops already in use at Riverside Elementary and Lexington Trails' 400 laptops. Powers recommended a systems technician be placed at each building to maintain the 800 more devices to be introduced.
"It's not just technology," he said. "We need someone in each school to apply school strategies for staff. We need to also hire staff developers because we need teachers training teachers. Part of the 21st Century Learning Initiative is asking teachers to do new and different things once the 1-to-1 ratio is present in the classrooms."
Powers said existing staff and new staff could expect a very straight-forward approach to Thin Client training. He has kicked around the idea of producing tutorials on compact discs for distribution to teachers so they won't need to attend August workshops to become familiar with the software.
"It's not rocket science but people do need to see how to do it," Powers said. "The (CDs) might be the best way to show them so they can learn it whenever is convenient."

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