District 196 Technology
District 196 has worked diligently over the past several years improving the district’s infrastructure in order to support the integration of technology into the curriculum.
Student Computer Access
Each school in the district has a student to computer ratio of 6:1 or better. The computers that are counted in this ratio are 5 years old or less. This distribution of computers allows for equitable access to current technology for all of the district’s students.
Interactive White Boards and Projectors
Several classrooms throughout the district have been equipped with projectors and interactive white boards; this project is ongoing. Equipping classrooms with this technology fully utilizes the one classroom computer. The visualizations that these technologies enable reinforce and give meaning to textual explanations.
Advanced Placement students at both the elementary and middle school levels are able to participate in classes at the next level electronically through the use of web-based collaboration software and video conferencing solutions. These resources eliminate the need for unnecessary travel increasing safety and efficient use of time for students.
The District’s Network
In the summer of 2005, District 196 joined with the cities of Apple Valley, Eagan and Burnsville, Dakota County, state of Minnesota, and the Lakeville and Farmington School Districts to install a fiber optic network under a joint-powers agreement. This joint venture resulted in a substantial cost savings for the installation of a high-speed data network which allows for the centralization of servers; offering the most efficient use of processing power and storage capacity. In addition to the enhanced wired connectivity, each school has at minimum one instructional area with wireless access.
The district’s unified messaging system allows integrated (email and voicemail) messaging for all teachers and support staff. In addition to extensive internal use, many parents communicate with teachers using voice mail and/or email.
In addition to the district’s web presence, schools maintain their own school websites. Other district web services include a staff intranet, web-based courseware (Moodle), online surveys, email list software (Backpack Online) and an emergency notification system.
Parents/guardians of district students can obtain access to a portal that can be used to view transportation information, health records, make online payments into lunch accounts, and update phone numbers, address and email addresses for the district's Student Information system. In addition parents of secondary school students can view grade book data and attendance records.
Benefits for Students
- Enhanced access to information via internal and external network resources allows students to spend less time accessing information and more time interacting with the data, thus expanding the learning continuum and emphasizing critical thinking skills such as analyzing, evaluating, creating and problem solving.
- Greater technology access allows students to communicate, interact, and collaborate with tools and skills necessary for today's and tomorrow's workforce and the ability to develop cultural understanding and global awareness.
- Opportunities to envision and manipulate conceptual models, design and create digital works, as well as research and report on findings allow students to become architects of their own learning process.
- Greater access to a variety of software applications allows students and teachers to effectively integrate appropriate technologies into daily learning.
- More focused and engaged learning is the ultimate result for students as the learning environment evolves and greater access to electronic resources become commonplace.
More detailed information is contained in the Technology Plan (2008-11). You may also contact the Technology Support Department at 651-423-7793 or email Edward Heier.