Indiana District Funds Classroom Makeovers with Open Source Savings


Indiana's Michigan City Area Schools is in the midst of renovating hundreds of classrooms at fourteen school sites. Through a new technology initiative, called HiTEC ("High Technology Educational Classroom"), the district is outfitting its classrooms with a wide range of interactive A/V technologies and control systems and funding the whole thing through savings realized through an open source initiative.

According to the district, the five-year plan calls for every classroom in the district to be equipped with 60-inch plasma screens, interactive slates, tablet PCs, DVD gear, document cameras, and a wireless video transmitters and receivers. Calypso Systems' CB-5000 is being used to control the equipment, and the company's CA-1000 is being used with the WCM-RF wireless microphone system for audio amplification in the classrooms.

"Calypso is on the front edge of K-12 technology. We chose Calypso because their solution is easy to install, manage and operate," stated Kevin McGuire, Director of Technology, Michigan City Area Schools. "Teachers can now manage instructional technology from their desk and can utilize consistent, high-quality audio amplification in the room, which facilitates a more collaborative learning environment."

At present, 41 classrooms have been converted so far. Another 40 will be converted in the fall. And all of the district's 300 classrooms should be finished within five years.

According to McGuire, the entire project is being funded through savings from the district's open source project, estimated at about $150,000 to $200,000 per year. All of the savings are being reinvested back into the school, said McGuire.

Michigan City Area Schools serves students in nine elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school, as well as a career center and an early learning center.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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