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Decision nears on 1:1 technology proposal

By Seth Schmidt

 

The Tracy Board of Education’s Technology committee was scheduled to meet Tuesday night, April 26, to discuss platform options for a proposed “technology initiative” next fall at the high school.

Last week, the full board deferred a decision on the issue to give the committee more time before making a recommendation.

School administrators and management are considering a “1:1 initiative” that would give each student their own personal digital device in which to access the Internet, communicate with teachers, and do their school work.  Under the 1:1 initiative, students would be responsible for their own device and would be required to pay for any repairs due to student negligence, or replace a unit that is lost.

Several platforms have been studied.  On the high range, an estimated $430,000 would be needed to purchase Apple Mac Air laptops for each student. Refurbished Dell laptops under warranty would represent an investment of about $182,000.

Teachers would have more flexibility in presenting lessons and assignments on the uniform school computer platform. Students would be able to take notes, and store work on their own device, rather than maintaining folders on computers in the high school’s existing labs.

The school district’s current capital outlay budget for the 2016-17 school year lists $275,000 for the purchase of 375 student computers at an estimated cost of $726 each.   That spending item has not been approved in the coming year’s budget, although earlier this year, the school board did okay $200,000 for “technology enhancement.”

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The high school now has about 300 in-house computers available for student use, both stationary and mobile.  Supt. Chad Anderson estimates that 60% of these units are “reaching the end of their life cycle.”

The student computers now at TAHS consist of:

• Four stationary labs: Business Lab, Learning Lab, Multi-Media Lab, Room 125.  Total:  120.

• Surface Pro mobile lab. Total: 45.

• iPad mobile lab; 15 iPads plus 10 additional Surface Pros.  Total: 25.

• Two Netbook labs: 28 each.  Total: 56.

• Two Netbook labs in ag rooms. Total: 45.

• 13 computers in IT lab. Total:  13

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If the technology committee comes to a consensus Tuesday night, Anderson said he would ask the school board to call a special meeting to consider the technology recommendation.

 

See this week's Headlight-Herald for more on this topic.