Solving the Technology Funding Challenge-Making a Fresh Start by ProQuest


Media staff members were spending an increasing amount of time on tech support instead of helping students and teachers be effective users of information and technology. The systems were selected for ease in installation, compatibility, and functionality with core software, multimedia capabilities, and affordability With a cost of $450 per seat or 40% less than a traditional desktop computer, it is possible for our labs to be standardized districtwide. All district media specialists were involved in developing lab install lists and software application needs for staff computers, a process that meant identifying which teachers would need content-specific tools and identifying shareware that would be beneficial to everyone.

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									THE MEDIA CENTER                                                     by Mary Alice Anderson
                                                                             Lead Media Specialist
                                                                        Winona Area Public Schools
                                                                                Winona, Minnesota

Solving the Technology Funding Challenge—
                         Making a Fresh Start

                        HOW did           things get so bad?        For the most part we were limp-
                        Like that of many others, the condi-     ing along with limited enthusiasm
  For the most part     tion of the technology in our district   for implementing new ideas in the
                        has declined to the point of continu-    curriculum. There was an increas-
    we were limping     ing frustration. Our recent reality      ingly negative attitude toward tech-
                        has been a districtwide hodge-podge      nology; some teachers were reluc-
   along with limited   of hardware, software, and operat-       tant to use it even for low-tech
                        ing systems ranging from Mac OS          PowerPoint projects. The reality of
                        8.6 to Windows XP. We were at best       our situation became especially ap-
      enthusiasm for    standing still. Decentralized deci-      parent to media specialists when
                        sion making and purchasing; resis-       elementary students could not use
  implementing new      tance to change; limited funding at      an online children’s encyclopedia
                        the federal, state, and local levels;    and high school teachers could not
                        and two failed technology referen-       update classroom websites without
         ideas in the   dums contributed to the increasing       browser failure. Media staff mem-
                        obsolescence of district technology.     bers were spending an increasing
   curriculum. There    There were pockets of improvement.       amount of time on tech support in-
                        We funded two secondary labs with        stead of helping students and
  was an increasingly   Microsoft settlement money. (The         teachers be effective users of infor-
                        settlements resulted from class ac-      mation and technology. The need
                        tion lawsuits brought by consumers       for change was obvious. Even this
    negative attitude   against Microsoft Corp. alleging         longtime Mac user and champion
                        abuse of power to inflate prices.        knew we had to do something. I
 toward technology;     There’s more on this at www.qed          hope that by sharing our district’s
                         story I can help media and tech-
 some teachers were     crosoftSettlement.pdf if you’re in-      nology specialists in similar situa-
                        terested.) Creative teachers received    tions remain … well … a little less
                        grants to use technology innova-         discouraged.
  reluctant to use it   tively. And special education funds
                        helped purchase PCs largely for          CHANGE HAPPENS SLOWLY
   even for low-tech    teacher use. Elementary schools             In 2005, our technology commit-
                        benefited from the generosity of par-    tee began investigating thin-client
PowerPoint projects.    ent and community groups. Funding        solutions for older Macintosh and
                        limitations and inequities had cre-      Windows computers. Some solu-
                        ated in-district haves and have-nots.    tions seemed possible, but without


                                               November/December 2008   MULTIMEDIA & INTERNET@SCHOOLS   35

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