SCP schools go hi-tech

March 21, 2007 at 2:11 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

The St. Charles Parish schools are making leaps and bounds to keep their students and staff ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, the latest leap being the adoption of a new long-range technology plan.

The plan was approved at the March 14 school board meeting and is based on the State Technology Plan in accordance with the Louisiana Department of Education. St. Charles schools have until 2014 to meet the benchmarks required by the state, which will ultimately be to integrate technology into everyday learning in the classroom.

Kendall Stall, the district’s Information Technology Services Director, said they are already off to a good start, boasting a computer to student ratio that beats the national average.

“We’d like to have that ratio at one to one, but for now we have the next best thing,” Stall said.

While its not an impossible task, it’s one that will certainly require time and more importantly funding. The school system technology budget for the 06-07 school year runs at just under $4.2 million, which still puts them $2.2 million below what they’re projected to need to implement some of the major upgrades planned.

Of that additional funding needed, approximately $1.9 million will be allocated to add large screen LCD projection devices in 750 classrooms. Stall said some teachers have already been able to use the large screen device and have said it had the most impact of any technology they had used with their students.

Local district funds are employed to meet the needs of the technology budget, but the school system also applies for a multitude of grants as well as e-rate funding which provides discounts on telecommunications services and Internet access. Stall said that money goes towards replacing obsolete technology.

The goal set forth in the technology plan is to replace hardware every three years and software and services every five years instead of the current replacement every seven years for software.

“The advantage of the three year cycle is that it helps keep warranties intact and technology closer to current,” Stall said.

Virtual schools will also be embraced as part of the new technology plan, providing online classes for students anytime with little restriction by 2014. The Louisiana Virtual High School currently provides classes only during regular school hours and those classes are not taught in actual classrooms.

Over the next seven years, teachers and administrators will engage in a variety of development activities to ensure they have the proper training required to implement new technologies into the classroom as well as the core curriculum.

Stall realizes that meeting the new technology benchmarks by 2014 will be no easy task, and he offered the words of the famous baseball player Yogi Berra to sum up what needs to be done.

“It gets late early out there, so lets get moving,” he said.

View other articles written Caleb Frey

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