Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Inventory: Roadmap2.0

We have to know where we are to figure out where we're going!  This week, I'm involved in helping to collect up-to-date inventory data for our network here in the district.  Wow!  What an eye-opening experience!  I've come from a background in a 1:1 high school program, where every student and staff member has a laptop and the wireless connectivity is almost seamless.  (I won't deny that there are times we fall off the cliff and find ourselves disconnected, but those times are few and far between!)  I spent the day yesterday visiting 3 of the district's middle schools, none of which had a wireless network (yet).  We spent a lot of energy simply trying to find a data port that worked in many of the classrooms!  Then we had to wait for the wireless access point to boot up (supposedly a one minute-40 second task that routinely took anywhere from 5-10 minutes).

We have bright spots that are rays of sunshine:  classrooms fully implemented with interactive boards, projectors, document cameras, etc.!  But more often than not, there were classrooms with either no computers or with a few that were woefully outdated.  It's no wonder there were rooms where the equipment wasn't even plugged in.  If the wiring won't work, we won't get on the world-wide web!  (I'll admit it, I just wanted to see how many "w"s I could get into that sentence!)  Instead we have a classroom-narrow frustration!

It's no secret that in our district, there have been two worlds, the haves (the high schools with their 1:1 program) and the have-nots (everyone else).  We're in the process of trying to address that dichotomy.  This inventory is another step towards leveling the playing field.  We have a plan to dispose of any old equipment that won't meet minimum standards and to begin working towards a more equitable distribution of "stuff!"  There may be some discomfort as we get there, but at least we now have a roadmap and a vision of our destination.  Bear with us as we follow this path into the 21st Century.  We really will get there!

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