The Technology Department of the Berrien County School District is devoted to providing students and teachers with the newest technology available for learning tools. Currently, the District uses Google G Suite to provide teachers and students with their own email address in order to create and share documents and presentations within their classes. The G Suite tool teaches students how to use cloud based technology in order to collaborate assignments with other students and obtain instant feedback from the teacher. As a result, Google classrooms are providing business tools for each student that is current with today's job market. The school district has over 2000 computers and 2500 Chromebooks, with high speed internet and Wi-Fi in each classroom. The technology goal is to provide students with a 1:1 student to computer ratio across the district with access to internet based programs such as Harcourt, Microsoft Office, Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math and Academy of Reading.
The latest technology upgrades within the school district include wireless access for every classroom, increased internet speeds for all the schools, and the virtualization of computers in the labs. The Berrien School District is adapting to the new era in technology called BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). This will allow students to bring their own laptops, tablets, ipads, and smartphones to be used in the classroom. However, each student and employee must adhere with the internet usage policy of the District. Since internet access has become readily available to students and employees through many different devices, the technology department has implemented a new CIPA (Child Internet Protection ACT) filter to control what can be viewed.
Another improvement in Technology has led to the use of virtualized computers. Virtualization eliminates the computer from the desk area and leaves only a keyboard and monitor that is attached to a server. This concept saves the district money in two ways. Both the cost of a new computer and the amount of energy each machine uses is cut in half. Another benefit from the virtualization is less computer repairs and wait times for students in the labs.
Upgrades to the District network are maintained by the technology department. Currently the schools are connected by fiber optics which helps speed the data transfer between the schools and internet. This was accomplished by an agreement with Berrien County Schools, Georgia Power and EMC to allow the district to use their poles to hang the fiber optics throughout the city. This fiber network is the backbone to all technology across the district and saves the annual cost of renting lines from the local service provider. The technology department maintains all switching equipment and cabling within the network.
Funding acquired through the Erate process helps to purchase the school districts servers. Currently, we have added new centralized server technology into the libraries and cafeterias. A centralized library system called Destiny allows web based library management including cataloging, circulation, searching, reporting, loans, and holds of books within each school. Students can search each school's library for books via the internet. A centralized Cafeteria system called Café Enterprise provides food service managers with student photos, account balance, student reports and journals of sales.
Advances in technology are pushing the 21st century classroom into schools. All of the classrooms have a lcd projector that displays up to a 77 inch picture. This viewing area is controlled by touch screen allowing interactive internet access, document editing, presentations, video streaming, closed circuit television and computer programs at teacher and student fingertips.
Thank you for your interest in the Technology Department.