Chinook board approves replacement of desktop computers for teachers
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.”