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Technology improving in local schools
, Courier Staff Writer
Thursday, April 18, 2013 11:00 AM
School board members heard reports Wednesday about technology improvements at the Trimble County Schools.
Rod Smothers, the district's chief information officer, discussed goals the schools set for the 2012-2013 school year in a technology plan. The five goals included replacing switches, a one-to-one computing ratio for students, video distribution, voice over internet protocol - or VOIP - and cabling in schools.
The district replaced switches and cabling in all schools over the summer, he said. The one-to-one computing ratio for students is about 40 percent complete with wireless capabilities throughout the schools, but the schools still rely on personal devices for access in many situations.
Smothers said the wireless and new switches were important for the other technology improvements.
"That's important for a lot of reasons because all of our information goes through switches," Smothers said of the already completed goals.
Computer accessibility in the schools has increased throughout the last year. Currently, the district has about 730 computers, 105 projectors and 74 Smart boards.
"We feel like we're doing pretty good," Smothers said.
Nearly every teacher has a projector in each classroom. Trimble County Schools has an estimated 110 classrooms, so only five classrooms are without a projector.
Video distribution and VOIP will remain on the list of goals in the technology plan for the 2013-2014 school year.
"That's the direction everyone is going," Smothers said of VOIP capabilities. The VOIP system will utilize the data system used for the school's internet capabilities.
The district also hopes to continue to improve on the one-to-one computing ratio, although the increased amount of computers would lead to the need for an increase of access points in the school buildings.
Each school has also set individual goals as part of the plan, including increased use of multimedia in Bedford Elementary, more use of software packages at Milton Elementary, utilization of iPads and the Apple TV technology at the middle school, and an increase of personally-owned devices at the high school level.
The district also needs to look into replacing anywhere from 100 to 150 computers each year to make sure the technology doesn't become outdated all at once and cause the district to replace several hundred computers all at one time, Smothers said.
"It's an ongoing process," he said.
The school board unanimously approved the plan during the meeting.
In other business:
Bedford Elementary School Principal Debbie Beeles gave reports about kindergarten registration. About 55 new kindergarteners went through the registration so far.
"We usually gain about 10 in August," she said.
Milton Elementary School Principal Sharon James told the school board a recent book fair did very well.
"It was one of the most successful we've had," James said.
Eighth grade students enjoyed the Operation Preparation event at the high school recently, Trimble County Middle School Principal Mike Genton said. The program helps students become familiar with the high school before the transition to a new building next year.
High school principal Rachael Adams told the school board the first Artapalooza went well for the students who presented a variety of projects. Math, art, band and drama students collaborated to present the one-day program.
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