More than $3.3 million in laptop carts will roll into Chippewa Valley’s elementary, middle and high schools next year after a recent purchase by the Chippewa Valley Schools Board of Education.
The carts, which have replaced computer rooms in recent years as the preferred method of providing each student with his or her own computer, are slated to save time, labor and money for the district.
Laptops carts, holding 16 laptops each, have been common sights in classrooms and media centers throughout the district for the past 10 years. However, while the laptops have served as a convenience to teachers and students, they have been an upgrade nightmare for the district’s IT staff.
“These carts have caused us a lot of labor in the past because if we need to update or upgrade the software, we have to send a person down to physically connect each laptop to our network,” said Craig McBain, technology director.
With some 1,000 laptops throughout the district, even a new version of Internet Explorer or Microsoft Word could take a week or more to complete.
The new laptop carts, designed by Dell, not only hold 24 laptops, but connect each laptop to the cart, so by plugging the cart itself into the district’s network, upgrades are almost instantaneous.
- The laptops have antimicrobial keyboards; they are germ-resistant.
- The keyboards are tamper-resistant. This means that students will no longer be able to take keys as souvenirs, or rearrange them into creative messages for the next user.
- The new carts cost $5,000 less than the current carts.
- All laptops are wireless.
- Network Activity Light, aka Big Brother for teachers. A small light at the top of the laptop’s front blinks when the computer is accessing the Internet. When students aren’t supposed to be on the Internet, the light will alert the teacher.
Funding available within the 2010 Building & Site Funds will cover the $1,672,288 contract with Inacomp TSG and the $1,672,753 contract with Netech Corp. for the computer equipment project.