As the IT director for Bloomfield School District in New Mexico, I faced a major challenge with our infrastructure when it came time to upgrade our network and voice systems to meet our educational and technological objectives. The district, with 10 administrative and school sites, is located in a rural area of northwestern portion of the state, which limited the alternatives available to us. Its network was based on T1 connections, and the bandwidth would not support the education initiatives of the district. It was also very expensive, costing us about $5,900 each month.
Students in 30 K-12 schools around the United States will engage in a cross-cultural exchange beginning in December through a new International PULSE videoconferencing program dubbed "Arab World and the U.S." Sponsored by Global Nomads Group, the videoconferencing program will connect U.S. students to schools in Cairo, Egypt to engage in collaborative activities and exchange cultural perspectives.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is deploying a mass notification system to provide emergency notifications to parents and students and to offer regular alerts on district events and news. According to the NTI Group, which is providing the notification system, LAUSD is now the largest district in the United States to deploy such a system across the entire district.
VoIP chat provider Skype Technologies and book publisher Annick Press are jointly presenting LIVEbrary, a series of online classroom programs that will connect middle and junior high schoolers and their teachers with various authors over a five-week program starting Oct. 15.
Communications technology developer Polycom this week introduced its forthcoming HDX 4000, a videoconferencing and collaboration system that includes high-definition capabilities. It's expected to ship in the fourth quarter.
Internet service provider Education Networks of America (ENA) has teamed up with Sylantro Systems to deliver hosted VoIP solutions for education using ENA Connect and back-end systems using Sylantro's Synergy platform.
Introducing a new technology tool often has unexpected results. At Whittier Union High School District south of Los Angeles, teachers and parents are having more face to face interactions after the district introduced an automated system for contacting parents about student behavior.
- By Linda L. Briggs
Last week the Education and Libraries Networks Coalition (EdLiNC) and the National Coalition for Technology in Education and Training (NCTET) released a report detailing the impact of E-Rate 10 years and $19 billion later. The study showed a dramatic increase in access to communications technologies in schools and libraries. But the study also suggested that the mission of E-Rate is not yet complete.
Omvox Telecom has launched a new grant allowance program for K-12 schools in the United States, offering a total of $500,000. Schools can receive up to $2,500, which can be used to fund Omvox's Alertify mass notification system.
Hatboro-Horsham School District in Pennsylvania has implemented a new IP-based phone system throughout the district. The new system, from Siemens Communications, replaces five separate systems in 11 locations throughout the district.