Georgia schools get a communications makeover
Under a new contract that the district has signed with Norcross, Ga.-based Southern Business Communications Group (SBCG), classrooms will get a variety of new technology, including ceiling-mounted digital-light-processing (DLP) projection systems.
Sound amplifiers installed in the upgrade will elevate the clarity of any audio coming from the instructor’s computer, DVD-VCR combinations or other audio sources that feed into the classroom.
Wall-mounted controls on the new setup will allow teachers to power up and down, adjust volume, select equipment sources and automatically shut down the system at the end of day, according to SBCG.
“The new technology gives every student a level playing field in the classroom,” Fred Bridges, SBCG’s K-12 sales manager for the state of Georgia, told GovPro.com. “For students with or without visual or auditory issues or limitations, the new technology ensures a uniformly positive presentation.”
Terms of the contract with SBCG call for a total of 5,000 district classrooms to be upgraded by January 2010.
According to Greg LaHatte, director of broadcast and distance learning for the Gwinnett County Public Schools, the technology project is funded by recent voter approval of a $750 million general obligation bond referendum.
“Our citizens value public education,” LaHatte said. “Through their vote, they have ensured that our students have the facilities and tools they need to be successful.”
Gwinnett County Public Schools, located in the Atlanta area, is the largest school system in Georgia and continues to grow, as the system is expected to welcome about 4,000 new students for the 2008-2009 school year. One of every five Gwinnett County residents is a student in the public school system.
Recruit advocates for new classroom technology
For administrators looking to upgrade classroom technology in their districts, Bridges advises: Get PTA members on board and let them “become your advocates.”
“If you are in a situation where you’ve got to have people voicing their opinions about what your students need, who better to say it than the parents – the taxpayers,” Bridges told GovPro.com. “Start your grassroots efforts with local PTAs. Parents and individuals serving on the PTA definitely have a voice and can influence school and district decisions. It has to start with parents who understand how this type of technology is going to help their children compete in the 21st century.”
Bridges added that administrators can look for technology funding from a variety of sources, including local government taxes, private foundations and grants from state and federal agencies.