Monday, June 6, 2011

EHS steps up the technology; teachers get new computers and monitors

The new projectors mounted to the ceilings and the laptops sitting next to the now obsolete Mac monitors are the first in a long line of Guaranteed and Viable Technology (GVT) advancements to come.
As the current Mac servers die out, they will be replaced with new PC servers. This will, in turn, reduce the cost of technology over time and save the school money for other departments that need it, according to Barry Sterling, Institutional Technology coordinator.
“The district is taking on the responsibility of refurbishing all of the schools [with newer technology] for future students,” Sterling said.
One of the technological advances that the school has made is to provide all of the teachers with new M & A Companion Touch 10. This computer is a fully equipped laptop, with new software, which doubles as a “tablet.” The computer display spins and folds back on itself, allowing teachers to pick up the computer as if they were carrying a book and write on it, or move from slide to slide on presentations. It has a six-cell battery, which allows up to seven hours of life, and 2G of memory with a 160G hard drive for storage.
All teachers received their laptops on Friday, Sept. 24. Teachers who are new to Eaglecrest, however, received their laptops before school started and say that they have been very useful so far. “The Netbook has been incredibly useful,” English teacher, Paul Kemp said via email interview. “It’s extremely lightweight and portable, so it can be carried from a classroom to a PLT meeting to any other location. It also incorporates a document camera, which allows me to project student work onto the screen – that’s a great feature.”
One of the goals for these laptops is to provide a universal tool for the teachers, which will help teachers bridge the gap between work and home.
Teachers are still exploring uses for these new tablets, but are still incorporating them into their classrooms.
“I use it every day for multiple purposes in my classrooms. It has so many capabilities though and I have not taken advantage of several of them thus far,” English teacher Sarah Hancock said.
Media productions specialist Helen McCreesh feels that the new technology is long overdue. “We live in an electronic age and we have to meet those needs,” she said.
Some students question the district’s decision to improve teachers’ tools. “To be honest, I think this is a choice that isn’t particularly smart, or in the best interest of the entire school. With budget cuts and all, shouldn’t the money we have be used for something that would benefit us as a whole?” sophomore Jamie Griffin said.
The district plans to make the teacher’s Mac computers available to students, which in turn provides more computers available for students to work on during the day.
Senior Laura Brewer, however, feels that this is a positive advancement in the schools. “I think that it’s a good thing that teachers are getting new laptops because it will allow them to work on some things from school without having to switch computers or transfer information. Also, because they are all new, the teachers will have the latest of everything which will make it easier for students that have the latest version of something to turn things in electronically without the hassle of compatibility.”
The next step with the new technology is wireless connection with the newly mounted projectors that were put in every room over the summer.
Before with the Macs, teachers needed an adapter is no longer needed, which also contributes to the portability of the tablets.

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