Chi­nook board ap­proves re­place­ment of desk­top com­put­ers for teach­ers

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - Swift Current - BY MATTHEW LIEBEN­BERG— mlieben­[email protected]­

The Chi­nook School Divi­sion will pur­chase 400 re­fur­bished desk­top com­put­ers for teach­ers to use in their class­rooms at a cost of about $200,000.

Trustees ap­proved a mo­tion at a reg­u­lar Chi­nook School Divi­sion board meet­ing on June 25 to fund the pur­chase of the com­put­ers from ded­i­cated capital equip­ment and re­pur­posed 2017-18 bud­get funds.

“We had some money in our ex­ist­ing bud­get for the capital pur­chases,” Chi­nook School Divi­sion Chief Fi­nan­cial Of­fi­cer Rod Quintin said after the meet­ing. “We had some peo­ple leave our or­ga­ni­za­tion partly through the year. So we freed up some salary bud­get that we can re­di­vert to the pur­chase of the com­put­ers. Orig­i­nally we planned to do it in a twoyear cy­cle. This al­lowed us to step up the re­place­ment pro­ject to a one-year, com­bined with the fairly good pric­ing on the equip­ment.”

The cur­rent desk­top com­put­ers were pur­chased 11 years ago as re­fur­bished equip­ment, and they are there­fore con­sid­ered to be well past their use­ful life.

The school divi­sion con­sid­ered other op­tions, in­clud­ing por­ta­ble de­vices, as an al­ter­na­tive to desk­top com­put­ers for teach­ers in their class­rooms.

“One of the chal­lenges we had is if there was a sub­sti­tute teacher and the reg­u­lar teacher had a por­ta­ble de­vice not in the class­room, we still need to pro­vide for that sub­sti­tute teacher to come in and have a de­vice in the class­room,” he explained. “We did a sur­vey and didn’t get a real con­clu­sive re­sponse around that. There was a large num­ber of teach­ers though that still wanted to have a desk­top type de­vice. So we chose to go that route be­cause it is pri­mar­ily meet­ing the need of hav­ing some sort of de­vice in the room, plus it’s very cost ef­fec­tive.”

Dur­ing the past two years the Chi­nook School Divi­sion has also done a tech­nol­ogy up­date in schools through the pur­chase of Chrome­books for use by students. The pur­chase of Chrome­book for teach­ers in­stead of desk­top com­put­ers was not con­sid­ered to be a fea­si­ble op­tion.

“There’s some that wanted the Chrome­books and some that use the Chrome­books, but there are some that do not,” he said. “So we could not get enough con­sen­sus on that one to say that would be the di­rec­tion to go and then we started to think about the need to have some­thing in place for things like sub­sti­tute teach­ers.”

An­other im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion in the de­ci­sion to pur­chase re­fur­bished desk­top com­put­ers is the use of smart boards in class­rooms. A smart board is an in­ter­ac­tive white­board that can be con­nected to a com­puter.

“A lot of teach­ers use the com­put­ers to at­tach to the smart boards,” Quintin noted. “So the smart board con­nec­tion can stay ba­si­cally in place all of the time when there is a desk­top com­puter in the room. Oth­er­wise you would have to make some sort of an at­tach­ment for that to be used from a por­ta­ble de­vice.”

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