Dallas school board hears tech upgrade plans

First Posted: 6/2/2008

The Dallas School Board heard how  new technology is being used this school year, and about plans to equip 20 more high school classrooms with electronic white boards, projectors and software for teachers next year, at a cost of $140,000.

District Educational Technologist Sandy Pesavento ran through a number of new things teachers are doing with equipment installed this school year, including students video conferencing with people in distant locations, and creating detailed teacher web pages so students and parents can see homework assignments, photographs from school or field trips, and quizzes.

Much of the latest hardware, as well as teacher training to use it, came courtesy of the state’s "Classrooms For the Future" grant program. Dallas won a piece of the grant money this year and used it to equip 11 high school classrooms with laptops for students as well as projectors and electronic interactive white boards.

The district has applied for more Classrooms For the Future money next school year, but  Technology Coordinator Bill Gartrell told the board he plans to forge ahead even if the grant doesn’t come through. He has earmarked $140,000 to buy projectors and white boards for 20 more classrooms.

"Installing them is the hardest part," he said after the meeting, and the work can be done more easily during summer when school is out.

The money would have been used to by new computers,to replace older ones, but Gartrell said he has upgraded existing computers to make them last longer. He also noted that money that would have been spent for classroom TVs can now be used for newer technology since televisions have been replaced with the new projectors.

If the state money comes through, Gartrell said he hopes to be able to buy 600 more laptops for the high school, which would be nearly one for every student.

Gartrell also said after the meeting that he plans to scan textbooks into digital files students can read on their computers and teachers can project onto their white boards during lessons involving the books.

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