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Wireless technology installed in schools

Efforts to install wireless Internet technology in all Nanaimo school district facilities are continuing.

The technology upgrades are almost complete in the district’s secondary schools and the goal is to have wireless technology in all elementary schools by the end of next school year, said Steve Sproston, the district’s information systems manager.

The upgrades, to cost $600,000 over five years, are more than just wireless technology – it also covers network infrastructure upgrades such as replacing switches and wiring that will boost security and allow staff to monitor and maintain the network centrally, detect some faults before they become a bigger problem and even fix some problems remotely – right now if there is a problem, staff have to travel to the school and diagnose problems manually.

“It’s quite big,” said Sproston. “It makes us more efficient. The ultimate goal is to meet the needs of our strategic plan.”

Those elementary schools that purchased wireless access points in recent years will have their technology replaced with this newer technology, he added.

As the wireless is installed, teachers will be able to use their own personal devices.

“Our outcome is to eventually allow student devices in the classroom and we are currently exploring these possibilities from an educational point of view,” said Sproston.

The wireless technology and infrastructure upgrades are the first step in the district’s technology plan, which is based on a review conducted by IBM K-12 consultants two years ago.

The review recommends the district buy data projectors for each teacher, two to four desktop computers per classroom and mobile computer labs for each school.

Sproston said the wireless technology follows safety guidelines set by Health Canada and the district will review these guidelines on an ongoing basis.

For more information on Nanaimo school district, please visit its website at www.sd68.bc.ca.

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