Upper Dublin Schools to Move to ‘21st Century’
The school district is looking to enact a 3-part plan … to move to the cloud.
Upper Dublin School District’s Director of Technology Stephanie Hultquist showed a video to the school board and to the audience at the meeting Monday night. The video, from a school district in Canada, had no dialogue, just words flashing on the screen. It asked the audience to remember the last time they: used a payphone, adjusted the tracking on a VCR or used liquid corrective fluid. It also suggested that textbooks, desks and report cards are soon to be heading the way of the LaserDisc and the Walkman.
The presentation then got localized.
Hultquist laid out a technology plan for the school district for the next couple of years — “A Vision for 21st Century Learning Environments.” In it, the school district would essentially phase out things like textbooks and standard computer labs in favor of cloud-based learning.
The project would happen in three steps. First, the school district would build a K through 12 wireless infrastructure; it would include beefing up existing network security and allowing for seamless access for guests, students and faculty.
Phase two includes developing a digital curriculum — using cloud-based software like “Curriculum Loft,” which would allow teachers to distribute assignments, or “push” assignments to students’ portable devices. In turn, students would be able to submit assignments through the network. Ultimately the teachers' grading process would be incorporated into the the system.
The last part of the program would be a BYOD (bring your own device) or tablet rollout for students.
“Students are in a changing learning environment and we have to adjust and adapt to that,” Hultquist said.
Building the infrastructure for the K-8 buildings, including access points (APs) and power over Ethernet switches (PoE) — will cost about $166,000 with about $5,500 in recurring support costs. Obtaining the “Curriculum Loft” software will cost about $22,000 with about $3,000 in recurring support costs. And each tablet would cost about $650 to $675.
The Upper Dublin Educational Foundation has donated $60,000 to the project, and the remainder of the money will come from the district’s capital and educational technology operations budget.
“It’s a proposal, but it’s more of a vision, a direction, especially in an area that changes so rapidly,” Superintendent Michael Pladus said. “This is not possible without funding support from the educational foundation and various parent groups.”
Check back later for an update.