Thursday, August 16, 2007

Exciting Technology Updates for 07-08

You'll notice some new and improved technology when you return to school in a few short days. Although a few new procedures are still in the works, here are some exciting changes:

  • We are connected to the new regional wide-area network. Our Internet speed has increased from 1.5 megabits per second (mbps) to 5 mbps.

  • Kevin Watkins, our tech liaison at IU 6, explains the wide-area network (WAN) connection as follows: Envision a bundle of 100 pencils. The 100 pencils represent the new connection of 100 Mb. Inside of this connection, there will be 5 Mb of Internet and 2 Mb of Internet2. This is represented by 5 and 2 pencils respectively. Our old connection is represented by only a pencil and a half! The remaining pencils are for the WAN, where sharing services like videoconferencing within a school in IU 5, 6 or 28 territory will use the WAN, not the Internet.

  • We will soon have access to Internet2, which will allow us to connect to experts and other quality resources as well as to increase our download speeds dramatically.
  • We will have access to video conferencing equipment in the district. This will allow us to take virtual field trips, confer with experts, and much more.

  • Our email will be hosted by Sting Communications soon. Sting is the company contracted to install the new regional WAN. Our email addresses should not change, though.

  • Our old Internet filtering friend, the notorious dog "Bess," has been replaced with a Lightspeed server. Yes, we will still be filtering . . . the law requires it.

  • Lab 210 at Keystone Elementary has been replaced, and teachers and students will enjoy a new lab of Dell desktops! Kudos to Mrs. Smith and Mrs. Cozad for keeping the lab together as they limped through last year with poorly functioning, outdated computers.

  • The CAD lab at the high school also has new Dell desktops.

  • The laptop cart in the senior high wing at KHS will have 26 new HP laptops!

  • Teachers who are due for new computers on our 4-year rotation will find new ones on their desks.

  • New projection systems have been installed in all 10 seventh and eighth grade core classrooms, thanks to our EETT grant. A projection system has also been installed in the Keystone Elementary library, with another coming soon to Lab 210 at KES.

  • Computer Showcase will continue to provide technical support.

I can't thank our School Board, administration, and community members enough for their continued support of our technology program. Although it's a financial struggle, we do our best to provide our students with the tools they need to be successful in the 21st Century. Technology is a vital tool for 21st Century learning.

By the way, rumor has it that the "Classrooms for the Future" grants will be awarded this week!


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