After lots of planning, the technology component of the 2014 Bond package is now being implemented. At the outset of the bond package, the AISD technology department developed minimum technology standards for all classrooms. The department originally planned to implement these standards across the district over the course of two years, but is now aiming to get it all done in one year and a half.
The standards are broken into three categories: audio/visual (AV), teachers and students.
- Under AV, each classroom is getting a projector and speakers. The projectors are connected to the district network and, at the elementary level, will be touch interactive.
- For the teachers, each will receive a laptop and have a docking station with a monitor on their desk and an AV drop nearby to plug into the projector and speakers.
- The student component is about access to devices. Every two classrooms will share a mobile cart of devices. Each cart will contain 22-30 devices, depending on the grade level. For grades Pre-K-2, students will use iPads, and for grades 3-12, students will use Chromebooks. Many of the Chromebooks have already been ordered and received. At Martin High School, for example, 63 carts containing 1,890 Chromebooks are in place and ready for student use.
Ed Cannady, AISD director of technical support, orders all the new devices and technology hardware. He is also overseeing the installation of the AV and teacher components in each classroom. He visits every single AISD classroom, along with subcontractors from Delcom Group, to plan where everything will go and ensure there is electrical and network drops nearby to support the technology. Cannady has visited over 1,000 classrooms so far.
When Cannady and Delcom visit classrooms, they first review the layout of the instructional space along with locating any existing power and data drops. The goal is to identify the best appropriate wall where the projector and screen or white board can be installed. This can vary based upon the campus and room design. They also determine the location for the speakers. In most classrooms, the speakers go in the ceiling. However, explained Doug Busey, Delcom director of AV services, in rooms with extra high ceilings, the speakers are mounted on the walls to be closer to the students. If there is a need to add electrical or data drops to accommodate where the projector is being installed then more will be added.
These minimum technology standards are being implemented campus by campus, with schools in greater need of technology updates going first. After the classroom walkthroughs and evaluations, Delcom comes in after school hours and works until about 2 a.m. They can get 10-20 rooms done each night and leave the classrooms ready to go for the next morning.
As of Jan. 26, 2016, the A/V component has been completed at 34 schools, the teacher component has been completed at 27 schools, and the student component has been completed at 24 schools.