Getting ready for 1:1 Initiative

Tom Skoda, senior, helps take the MacBook Airs out of their shipping boxes. Harold Jensen said he was standing by a $60,000 cart.

Tom Skoda, senior, helps take the MacBook Airs out of their shipping boxes. Harold Jensen said he was standing by a $60,000 cart.

By Marcie Klomp

Slow and steady wins the race. It takes time to prepare to distribute computer devices to the approximate 1,230 students at Howard-Winneshiek Community School District this fall, but slowly staff and student volunteers are getting it done.

This past week, summer help, Silver Cord volunteers and technology staff members started scanning in the bar codes from the new MacBook Airs and assigning them to a student in seventh through 12th grade. The computers came pre-programmed, saving the technology department time.

The computers will be distributed to 7-12 students the night before school starts, on Wednesday, Aug. 21. Seventh and eighth graders will receive their laptops at 5:30 p.m. and high schoolers will receive theirs at 6:30. At 6:00 a 7-12 picnic is planned.

i-Pads are to be in the hands of K-6 students this fall as well. There is no time set yet when they will receive their devices. Software technology integrationist Heather Klenke will work with getting them set up.

One of the concerns of hardware technology integrationist Harold Jensen was where to store all the devices until they are picked up by the students. The board room was offered, as board meetings have been held in the library for the past year.

One of the summer helpers dubbed the room “the million dollar room” as the laptops (at $949 per unit), cases and $67,000 new wirelesss network were being stored.

Another problem with storage will need to be resolved before the end of the 2013-14 school year. Currently the laptops are protected by the boxes they were packaged in. In the spring, they will just have the carrying cases and won’t be able to be stacked as high.

Besides getting the new digital devices ready, a new Aerohive wireless system will need to be installed and tested. Jensen explained the old system was four years old and had problems. This new system will accommodate the students and teachers’ computers.

“We are confident what the outlying centers have (Lime Springs-Chester and Elma) will work,” he said.

There are more computers to be unpacked and scanned. Anyone who would like to help can contact the school and leave their e-mail address. The dates and times of the next workday will be sent out. (As an added incentive, the last group was given pizza for lunch!)


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