The first update discussed was the installation of a new wireless
Internet connection for the school's computers. The updated hardware
came with a new security filter for browsing websites deemed
appropriate by the administration, but it is not yet updated to the
full potential of its programming. When the programming is finished,
the software will allow for the tracking of Web history on the
"I can tell exactly who is streaming and
when," said Sandra Bronson, committee member and computer science
In addition to these security measures, the school is working on
updating the virus protection software that is already in place.
A second hardware update was the installation of electrical
outlets on the various carts that are used to carry laptops from
classroom to classroom. These plugs remove the potential problem of
low battery life in the machines.
A new school website is also on the way for LCHS. The new website
will be constructed in June and should be finished in July. It is
being built by Edline, a Web-based company that works with grade
schools and high schools that use the Internet as part of the
teaching process, such as for turning in assignments or taking tests
online. This teaching method has become more prevalent, due to the
vast majority of high school students having Internet access at
With the current business discussion completed, the meeting
turned to the future and what new equipment will be purchased for
the next school year.
One of the major concerns facing the tech committee is the
purchasing of new computers. While traditionally the school
purchases desktops for the classrooms and computer labs, there are
certain aspects of laptops that are more appealing.
Laptops are more easily capable of using the new wireless
connections, and they do not require as much maintenance today as
previous models required. Price is also a factor, and laptops are
becoming cheaper, according to committee member Kenneth Golden.
"The biggest problem is that they easily walk away," he said.
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Theft, while unlikely, is a potential problem with a more
portable machine. A teacher is not likely to steal a laptop, but the
laptops would have to remain under close supervision to prevent
student theft. In this regard, a desktop seems more desirable, as
they would be much more likely to remain in the school.
While on the topic of portability, Jim Vipond and Kathy Stoyak,
both teachers and committee members, expressed a desire to be
allowed to take laptops home with them if the machines are ordered.
"If we're allowed to take them home and use them, the hard drive
and our documents are on there, then I would go with the laptop,"
Vipond said. Furthermore, there are programs that can only be
accessed via the new machines, and teachers may want to take them
home to finish their work.
The next equipment to be purchased is the Promethean electronic
whiteboard or Smart Board. These boards function as a dry-erase
board, except a virtual marker is used rather than a real one, and
lessons can be programmed for display on the board ahead of time.
The school is working toward an eventual goal of having one of these
boards in every classroom. At the moment, there are only a few added
every year, and so teachers have to sign up to use them.
Purchasing these boards also brings about the need for new
training. Currently, a teacher may use an electronic whiteboard only
three or four times in a year, and so they have to relearn how to
use one every time. Upon purchasing the new boards, a date will be
established for retraining.
The meeting concluded with setting the next meeting date, which
will be April 23.
Those present at the meeting were Kenneth Golden, Kathy Stoyak,
Jim Vipond, Sarah Benner, Todd Poelker, Robert Bagby and Sandra
[By DEREK HURLEY]