Schools to keep using tech products

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System will continue to use Promethean products in the classroom.

The Newton County Board of Education recently approved a recommendation from NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews for the system to continue contracting with Georgia-based Logical Choice Technologies for Promethean's technological products to be used in the classrooms. The company provides products like ActivBoards and accompanying accessories and has exclusive rights to sell the interactive boards in Georgia.

Both LCT and Dell Computers bid for the contract, which was bid to national accounts, and were evenly matched in the price of products, Mathews said. Some of the boards range in price from about $3,200 to nearly $4,900, including installation, which is a drop in price of about $500, according to Gary Shattuck, director of Technology at NCSS.

However, when NCSS checked references for the companies, they found many differences -- LCT received high marks, while many of Dell's references were not satisfied with the installation services; Dell officials said the company uses various companies for installation. Additionally, NCSS has used LCT for the past six years, so Mathews recommended to continue the contract with the company.

In the spring, NCSS plans to purchase about 200 ActivBoards with federal funds that are available for technology in Title I schools. Other schools recently have purchased ActivBoards using grants and other special funds and also will be able to use the reduced prices for future purposes, Shattuck said.

To accompany the ActivBoards, schools also can purchase voting machines for about $1,000 for a set of 25 in which students can answer questions and the teacher will instantly receive the data; special wands, pens and microphones for up to $200 per set; and other equipment and programs for up to $2,000.

Over the past couple of years, NCSS has increased its use of technology in the classroom to engage students and boost academic rigor, officials have said. Teachers and other school staff also are getting professional development and taking training sessions to learn how to integrate the devices into their lesson plans.

Mathews said that the system must make classroom improvement to increase its academics.

Several schools also have added wireless capabilities to their campuses and renovated technology systems.