Northeast Tarrant

GCISD officials tweak plans to keep up with changing technology

Colleyville Middle School students Danielle Sandlin (right) and Isabella Marks share a laptop.
Colleyville Middle School students Danielle Sandlin (right) and Isabella Marks share a laptop. Courtesy photo

At the Oct. 26 board meeting, trustees approved the reallocation of $5.2 million remaining in the 2011 bond funds for technology to go towards ensuring devices for every student and for the infrastructure necessary for up-to-date instructional technology.

As part of the digital classroom initiative, all students in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district will have their own mobile technology devices in the next 18 to 24 months.

“Every child having access to technology changes the intellectual capabilities. Students can access all kinds of appropriate information and have more ways to process it and demonstrate mastery,” said Tony Zahn, director of science and instructional technology.

District officials recently completed the one-to-one device goal with Apple iPads for kindergarten through fifth grade and are working out the details for secondary students.

Zahn said the technology will help children meet state curriculum standards and be better prepared for a work force that requires strong technical skills.

Improving GCISD technology and being on the forefront of 21st century education were part of the district’s LEAD 2021, the long-range strategic plan formed by educators and community stakeholders.

Paul Aceves, executive director of technical services, said that part of the funding will go to the digital devices. Officials also want to upgrade the district’s storage area networks, network security systems and a better mobile management system to manage all devices.

At the secondary level, many students bring their own smartphones to school, so having a great number of access points along with a strong firewall in place are important, Aceves said.

Officials halve almost completed the installation of 500 new access points, many of them in high traffic areas like cafeterias.

Some of the reallocation of funds is impacted by rapid change in technology, Aceves said. For instance, in the 2011 bond, officials planned more money than needed for hard-wired data drops. They also earmarked funds for whiteboards with a digital interface, money better used now for interactive projectors that hook up to the teacher’s computer.