Chi­nook meet­ing technology chal­lenges

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS - ELISABETHD­OWSON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

The Technology Sta­tus Re­port and the first quar­ter Fi­nan­cial Re­port from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, 2010 were the key topics at the Jan. 10 reg­u­lar meet­ing of the Chi­nook School Di­vi­sion Board.

Ron McCon­nell, Su­per­vi­sor of Technology, said in his re­port Jan. 10 that all schools in the Chi­nook School Di­vi­sion re­ceived new hard­ware or soft­ware of one type or an­other in 2010, in­clud­ing the re­place­ment of 450 com­put­ers, 650 old­style mon­i­tors with low-en­ergy flat screen mon­i­tors, the up­grad­ing of eight schools with fi­bre-op­tic In­ter­net, and the in­stal­la­tion of two SMART Boards (in­ter­ac­tive white boards).

“Technology is be­com­ing more of a learn­ing tool in schools and most of our schools have pretty good ac­cess to equip­ment like SMART Boards or the In­ter­net or LCD pro­jec­tors, com­puter labs,” said Kyle McIn­tyre, Deputy Di­rec­tor of Ed­u­ca­tion.

“We have a good stu­dent­com­puter ra­tio in our Di­vi­sion. Some schools, by their size, have more op­por­tu­nity to ac­cess that than oth­ers, but I think as a Di­vi­sion we’re proud of the op­por­tu­ni­ties kids have with technology.

“ We typ­i­cally have a re­place­ment plan in place where over time we re­move cer­tain equip­ment that has out­lived it’s func­tional us­age and re­place it with other equip­ment and where pos­si­ble we’re try­ing to be more green as a Di­vi­sion,” McIn­tyre added.

One on­go­ing chal­lenge for the Di­vi­sion is ac­cess to suf­fi­cient band­width.

“School Di­vi­sions are given our band­width for In­ter­net through Com­mu­ni­tyNet [Saskatchew­an’s high-speed in­ter­net sys­tem], which is sort of the band­width pipe that comes from Regina and the Min­istry of Learn­ing,” McIn­tyre ex­plained.

“We try to use that band­width to meet the learn­ing needs of kids, but one of the chal­lenges oc­curs at this time of year when kids get [elec­tron­ics] and some­times bring them in un­know­ingly into the school and those things take some of the band­width from some of the learn­ing ap­pli­ca­tions that we have as a sys­tem.”

Band­width ‘theft’ oc­curs when por­ta­ble de­vices such as lap­tops, e-read­ers, Net­books, iPods, and SMART phones use school band­widths to ac­cess videos or mu­sic.

“[Stu­dents] don’t re­al­ize that it is chok­ing off band­width that’s used for other learn­ing ap­pli­ca­tions,” said McIn­tyre. “As a learn­ing com­mu­nity we all have to do our part to en­sure that we’re pro­tect­ing the band­width.”

An­other chal­lenge match­ing technology cur­ricu­lum needs.

“The chal­lenge with technology is that you can never re­ally keep up with schools in what’s go­ing on in a larger com­mu­nity and the world around us, so we’re fight­ing a bit of a los­ing bat­tle in terms of school di­vi­sions.

“ We’re try­ing to pro­vide some good, sound re­li­able in­fra­struc­ture for our kids to learn with. Some­times the great­est chal­lenge is mak­ing sure that the technology is able to meet the learn­ing out­comes that are in the cur­ricu­lum, be­cause some­times as a tool it­self it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily en­sure that there’s go­ing to be bet­ter learn­ing that oc­curs with technology,” McIn­tyre said. is to

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