Last updated: August 13. 2014 9:32AM - 2014 Views
By - swillets@civitasmedia.com - 910-816-1974

Johnny Hunt
Johnny Hunt
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This summer technicians across the Public Schools of Robeson County traveled from school to school working to upgrade various technologies. These changes included adding more than 1,300 wireless access points. These points allow any wireless intervention and expand access for students using laptops or any wireless driven device. This change offers the district more of a mobile one-to-one environment in classrooms throughout the district.

Teachers can envision a more enhanced 21st century-rated classroom, which can transition with the needs of the students. Students are no longer bound to one location in the classroom. The rooms can be multi-faceted to create more a mobile environment. A science teacher today can conduct classes outside the traditional classroom setting by using wireless microscopes and computers in an outdoor classroom.

Educators still have access to a wired system. This summer, the technicians also installed 730 network switches. These devices are used for wired classroom access for teachers and students.

During these upgrades, 50 servers were installed at each school location across the district. These servers serve as processing units for the various data traffic needs at each location.

The 42 campuses of the Public Schools of Robeson County went wireless in 2008. At that time, the district was one of the few school districts of this size or larger in the state to be completely wireless. With our school system being in the largest landmass county in the state, our data system has its obstacles to overcome to deliver services to remote areas. Some of the locations are as far as 41 miles from the central office in Lumberton. To help alleviate managing a district of that size and distance, our network is one of only a few that has straight fiber optics to the classroom.

In the past year, PSRC moved closer to its One to One initiative by deploying software packages such as LANDESK to decrease the amount of downtime for items such as laptops and desktops due to software failures or user errors in the classroom. One to One computing refers to academic institutions, such as schools or colleges who issue each enrolled student an electronic device in order to access the Internet, digital course materials and digital textbooks. Lumberton High School is a One to One campus. Fairmont High School is in the One to One process.

Transitioning to new technology will decrease telecommunication cost tremendously. While the district works to upgrade each classroom this summer, there are other technology endeavors on the horizon for PSRC students. One future goal is to pursue voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) in each classroom. (VOIP) reduces cost for equipment, phone lines, manpower and maintenance. The most attractive feature is the cost-saving potential with in-expensive long distance capabilities.

The technology changes this summer were the first upgrade for the school district in the past five years. This system upgrade cost more than $4 million. The upgrades were funded through Title I and Race to the Top Funds.

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