SD 67 grappling with tech

The Okanagan Skaha School District has been presented with a comprehensive series of ideas on how to harness technology in the classroom, but its not clear if it will be able to afford them.

SD 67 trustees were presented Monday with an IBM study into the district’s information technology infrastructure.

The report outlines several recommendations, such as providing every teacher with a tablet or laptop to assist in teaching, or commit to a four-year refresh window for machines.

“A four-year refresh will be difficult, we’ve got machines out there that are eight years old,” Superinternet Wendy Hyer said.

“For the last 10 years we haven’t had an increase in budget or received any dollars to support additional replacement of technology,” she said, adding they expect to receive identical funding next year, despite inflation.

Hyer said the district will be moving immediately to implement some of the other solutions in the report, such as the creation of a working group to oversee all IT purchases in the district.

When the $100,000 IBM study was ordered last year, trustees heard about principals making the occasional IT purchase, or PACs buying technology for classrooms without checking with the district’s IT department for compatibility.

Hyer said school PACs will retain the ability to make some technology purchases, but only if they fit with the district’s framework.

“Technology is almost like a utility now,” Hyer said, referring costs associated with internet, fiber networks and machine upgrades.

The superintendent said the district will be implementing most of the study’s recommendations that fit within their budget within four years.


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