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Technology upgrade completed at R-5 schools

Friday, December 14, 2012

By Ralph Pokorny

Nevada Daily Mail

During a regular meeting Wednesday, Chase Owens, the R-5 District instructional technology director, told the Nevada R-5 Board of Education that the upgrade to the district's Internet connection has been completed.

"It took a lot of hard work and long hours," he said, but will mean a vast improvement to the district's technological resources.

"The increased bandwidth is a huge plus," Owens said.

The district increased the bandwidth of the connection from 20 megabits to 100 megabits.

He said that in recent months they have upgraded the operating system on 98 percent of the district's computers to Windows 7 and did not plan to move to Windows 8 at present. The computers that were not upgraded have software that is not compatible with Windows 7.

He told the board that they have installed new computers in four of the district's computer labs.

"We added a computer lab at Bryan," he said, adding that a lot of those kids had never seen a computer before and the teachers have had to teach them basic computer skills.

"Everything's going well," he said.

As part of the district's infrastructure upgrade Owens said they had added 84 wireless access points, and have added several more since school started.

"There is not a spot in the district you can walk without wireless," he said.

"An Ipad can be put in everybody's hands and the infrastructure can support that," he said.

This is a big change from the report Owens presented the board in April, before the infrastructure upgrades were made.

At that time, Owens told the board that the entire district was using a 20 megabit connection for not only educational purposes but also for everyday operations, such as the control of its heating and cooling system, all of which require significant bandwidth.

He told the board that in April the district's Internet connection was running at capacity, and that the district had Ipads sitting in boxes that couldn't be used because there was not enough bandwidth to handle the load.

That has changed since April.

Owens told the board Wednesday that the Ipad carts the district has purchased are in use all the time.

While the district has improved its wireless capability, Owens said that at the same time they secured the system, so it is no longer open to the public.

"I'm excited about all the changes," Owens said.

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