Technology at forefront of Bexley plans

The future of technology at Bexley Schools looks bright, and Technology Director Paul Ross hopes the Bexley community will continue to provide guidance in setting new goals.

The district’s Technology Roundtable, a group of Bexley staff and community members, meets regularly from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the second Monday of the month. District officials are encouraging community members to attend the meetings to help provide ideas on ways Bexley Schools can implement its goals and to provide expertise on future directions.

"I am encouraging students, parents and technology professionals who have a passionate interest in the use of technology for the benefit of our school community to attend," Ross said.

The roundtable began in 1996 as part of a Facilities Task Force to consider technology needs as district renovation plans were conceived. Over the years, the district has worked to update its systems and finished examining the requirements of the state-required three-year technology plan.

Currently, the district is in the implementation phase of deploying Smart Boards, a project that provides state-of-the-art technology in all Bexley classrooms at every grade level. The Technology Roundtable is one of many venues where the information will be shared detailing the process and experiences of this implementation.

The roundtable will look at how the district can maintain and support the program, what additional resources are available to foster the link between technology and the curriculum standards and how the technologies can be adopted for the new curriculum initiatives.

Brought into the district in 2007 as the technology department head, Ross initially addressed shoring up and replacing existing systems, including consolidating servers, putting in place new applications and supervising the installation of the Smart Boards in the classrooms.

Now, he said, his goal is to continue exploring how the district can tailor its services to the needs of faculty and students.

"One track is to enable the provision of remote access to services and applications for faculty and students," Ross said. "This will maximize the return on the capital invested, extending services and programs beyond the classroom."

The district’s first initiative for the new year will be piloting two Web based learning management systems, he said.

"The district has a mixed technology infrastructure of varying speeds and vendors," Ross said. "Over the next 12 months there will be consolidation as we seek to capitalize on the investment by increasing speed and services to the desktop. No system or service will be more than three hops to the fiber backbone."

The district also will implement a streaming media network in the near future, initially broadcasting internal announcements, followed by curriculum specific content.

"Services and applications that traditionally reside on the desktop or solely on the Web will be made accessible remotely, breaking the bonds that tie delivery to specific hardware and operating systems," he said.

For more information about Bexley’s Technology Roundtable or to attend the Roundtable sessions, contact Ross at (614) 231-7611 or by e-mail at paul.ross@bexleyschools.org. The next meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Jan. 12 at the technology office.

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