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Wetzel BOE Discusses Technology Upgrades

By Staff | Dec 7, 2016

Wetzel County Schools Technology Supervisor Ben McPherson provided the board with an update on technology in the school system at the board’s second November meeting.

McPherson said Wetzel County Schools had started the implementation of the 1:1 technology initiative, meaning that each student in the county will have a device of his or her own to work with.

McPherson said the first distribution of devices occurred on Nov. 16 at Paden City Elementary School. McPherson said the devices were being used within 10 minutes of being placed in the classroom.

The technology supervisor also provided an update on the WiFi upgrade projects at Wetzel County Schools. He said these projects are being paid with through the E-rate program, which is a government program that gives discounts and funding to eligible schools and libraries.

It was noted that after improving the wireless access points, along with the second passing of the school system’s acceptable use of technology policy, the 1:1 initiative should proceed much quicker. It was noted that the policy has increased from one and one-half pages to seven pages.

“I think we are in solid shape with that,” McPherson noted. “The policy will have to go home with students before they can take a laptop home. It has to be signed and in place before the laptops are in the cases.”

McPherson also briefed the board on certain filters that are in place on the students’ devices, ensuring the devices will not be able to access any inappropriate websites. Also, McPherson spoke about the benefits of a URcast program. He said this program is being used at Long Drain School. He said this program can send a certain video or lesson to each kid’s machine, whether it has Internet access or not. “It’s a good way to interact with kids,” McPherson noted,

Also included in McPherson’s presentation was an update on the technology integration specialists, which McPherson described as a “much needed” addition. He said the specialists’ demand will increase as the 1:1 technology initiative is implemented.

In another matter, Ed Toman also thanked the board and all members of staff for “the incredible venture here at Wetzel County Schools” so far. He thanked Secretary Jo Beth Simmons, for being “right beside me everyday,” and Board Members Blair and Joshua Balcerek “for the vote of support to get me here.