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Wireless, Classroom Computers, Training, Office, Personal Devices: Questions and Answers

Technical Computers

Technical Computers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thank you for the great feedback on the survey. We read every comment! These are some common comments with the information you’ve requested.

Would like better WIFI access in classrooms. I can only get it in the hallway.

We’re getting district-wide WIFI! 🙂

The 2011 bond program includes district-wide wireless. The first phase of this project, installation of wireless at the high schools, is scheduled for completion by August 1, 2012.

It would be nice to have access to computers in the classroom for the students.

Space, furniture, electricity, and network drops in classrooms can accommodate approximately three desktops per room. This isn’t enough for a class of students to share, and teachers report that it’s difficult to design meaningful lessons that involve them. Many districts have discontinued the practice of deploying stations of 2-3 student computers in classrooms for that reason.

A higher priority in MISD has been replacing lab and teacher computers, because they receive the most frequent use.

The district used cost savings from a series of major cabling projects to re-purpose (clean, add memory, upgrade software, and deliver) computers that had been pulled from labs and teachers’ desks. Because the 2009-2010 replacement cycle was (according to an external audit) several years overdue, the computers re-purposed for use on some campuses were already well past their prime. Some campuses had few or none that could be re-purposed. Some have more student computers because of campus investments or parent groups. The goal had been 1-3 per room, but more deployments will probably follow the next replacement cycle.

We hear that these computers are used most frequently for centers, reading programs, and some typing.

We’re also hearing that devices like the iPad and iTouch would be preferable to classroom computers. What do you think?

This computer doesn’t have Office! How can I get it?

Office can be installed on a district computer as part of our annual licensing agreement with Microsoft. If you have a computer that needs it, please key a work order or call the Help Desk. If there are several, please put in a work order at http://eduphoria.mansfieldisd.org.

The most recent version of Office that the computer will run will be installed.

I’d like to see students allowed to use their personal smartphones in class for academic assignments.

We’re working on changes to the handbook and upgrades to the infrastructure that will accommodate this. Stay tuned!

I got my Extreme Makeover equipment just recently and haven’t gotten any training. What can I do?

We’re in the process of setting up training for groups such as ELL teachers who recently received equipment. More advanced classes are available at http://edtech.mansfieldisd.org.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Carol Welle #

    Please take a step into the present and stop purchasing desktop units. Stop allowing a lab based mentality to drive our technology purchases. Labs are a thing of the past. Anywhere, anytime, anybody using technology (ipad, itouch, iwhatever portable electronic device) is not the future, IT IS NOW. Finally having a district wide Wi-Fi protocol is great, like a shiny new spaceship. Purchasing/reprurposing non mobile devices to access our new network is like trying to cram an ancient smelly dinosaur onto our new shiny space ship. Please stop repurposing dinosaurs. Please stop adding dinosaurs to already overcrowded classrooms.

    April 10, 2012
    • Carol, thanks for your feedback. I enjoyed your dinosaur and spaceship analogies. The administration has proposed plans to transition to more mobile devices distributed among more students and teachers. Moving toward this model does not require banning desktop computer purchases or automatically sending to salvage computers purchased during the 2009-2010 replacement cycle. There are many teachers who would welcome a three to four year old computer into their classrooms that has been made available due to its replacement by a more mobile device somewhere else in the district. Arguably, some of the original repurposed computers deployed two years ago are now creating more frustration for teachers and students than benefit. Retiring them may be the best option. Repurposing serviceable computers helps to make the most of funds that the district has invested in that technology already. Whether schools will become completely lab-free is an interesting question. It’s still a matter of identifying the right model to meet needs. It’s likely that fewer labs will be needed. When the equipment needed for a given purpose is so expensive that providing it as a shared resource makes sense, a lab may still be the way to go. Again, thanks for sharing your ideas.

      April 10, 2012
  2. Bettie Saccardo #

    I would like to say that I read recently about the possibility of MISD providing iPads to high school students. I think it is a brilliant idea. The district we moved from in New Mexico was a pilot district in the distribution of MacBooks to all students grades 6-12. It was a resounding success. My children came out of that district with much higher technology aptitude than most students their age. In addition it gave them more incentive to do well. MISD needs to move forward and institute programs like this or we are leaving our children behind in a world that will move past them. I invite you to take a look at how the program is working. http://district.fms.k12.nm.us/fli/, Also take a look at this video to see how technology is affecting our children http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljbI-363A2Q

    April 10, 2012
    • Bettie, thanks for you comments. Thanks for sending the link to Farmington Public Schools. It sounds like they have a great program! In Texas, we’ve been following one-to-one programs in McAllen, Eanes, Northwest, and Irving ISDs. Programs we’re keeping tabs on in other states include Henrico County, Virginia and the State of Maine. The “Shift Happens” video makes some very valid points about the increasingly competitive environment that students will encounter once they join the workforce. Thanks again for taking a few minutes to share your ideas!

      April 10, 2012
  3. Melissa Bourland #

    Is it possible to retrofit Promethean Boards to have headsets? That would enable us to use them more productively for stations without disrupting other students at stations around the room, as well as the students at the Teacher Table.

    April 11, 2012
    • This is an original and interesting idea! Because the sound originates at the computer, it may be possible to install a solution that would carry the signal to headphones.

      April 11, 2012

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