American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
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School is in Session
It's hard to believe that another summer has come and gone. Students, teachers and administrators are back in their schools and are looking forward to a new school year.
At EAGLE-Net Alliance (EAGLE-Net), we are well into our Broadband Technology and Opportunities Program (BTOP) project. With 234 community anchor institutions to connect by the end of August 2013, our work is plentiful. See our "Highlights" article below for the latest progress and follow us at www.co-eaglenet.net for the latest news and postings.
EAGLE-Net Alliance Highlights
3rd Quarter 2011
Over the past quarter, EAGLE-Net Alliance has been busy fulfilling some of the next steps of the Broadband Technology and Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant. Here's a quick view of the highlights from the 3rd quarter of 2011:
- Now available on our website!
- A physical network map of the 234 community anchor institutions (CAIs) across Colorado that will be connected via the EAGLE-Net project funded by the Broadband Technology and Opportunities Program (BTOP)
- A logical network diagram which refers to how data passes through the network from one device to the next
- A project timeline that shows a macro level view of when EAGLE-Net Alliance will execute various phases of the project. This timeline is dictated by the agreed upon milestones in the grant award, and we will provide more detail on a quarterly basis in our NTIA Performance Progress Reports
- In early August, EAGLE-Net received notice that its Environmental Assessment had been approved and that it had received a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) which oversees the BTOP program. This approval allows us to move into the next phase of the grant and begin constructing connections to the identified CAIs in our grant application. <Read the press release>
- In August, EAGLE-Net announced that G4S Technology (formerly Adesta) had been designated as the design-build contractor to provide network design and build services for deployment of a statewide broadband network across Colorado. <Read the press release>
- The EAGLE-Net Business Development team has been contacting each and every one of 234 CAIs via phone and in person to share information about the EAGLE-Net network, assess needs, and discuss broadband solutions.
RFPs and RFIs Issued to Date
- On August 19, a Request for Proposal for Fiber Optic Cable was issued by G4S. The RFP closed on August 29, 2011.
- On August 10, a Request for Information for Dark Fiber Indefeasible Right of Use was issued by G4S. The RFI closed on August 26, 2011.
Using Technology to Improve Education:
How Schools Can Make Academic Strides and Save Money
School budgets are tight and everyone is feeling the pinch. Schools are faced with the challenge of finding ways to improve education while spending less. In many cases, if schools invest and spend wisely, there are several ways to ensure that students are meeting and exceeding standards without breaking the bank.
After conducting extensive research on technology transformed schools, Project RED created and distributed a report of the findings. The Technology Factor: Nine Keys to Student Achievement and Cost-Effectiveness not only details the potential benefits of using technology to improve education, it also provides several cost-effective strategies that schools can use to ensure that educators are properly implementing technology tools in the classroom and schools are optimizing their investments.
The research conducted by Project RED indicates that when schools invest in technology, most of the money is spent on hardware, refresh cycles, professional development, and software. With tight budgets, the growing trend is to invest in other areas of education and forgo spending on new technology. However, research indicates that while schools may spend more in direct costs when investing in a computer for each student (1:1), they will save more indirectly. The savings can be found in a variety of areas including but not limited to the following:
- Dropout and Graduation Rates: Of the many cost variables researched, the costs associated with dropouts have the greatest financial impact. The costs typically stem from failing and repeating courses prior to dropping out in the short term, as well the long term costs associated with tax revenue and the earnings of an individual who has not earned a diploma or a degree. According to Project RED, 25% of students in the United States will not graduate. A student who has earned a diploma will likely pay $166,000 to $353,000 more in taxes compared to a non-graduate.
- Online Assessments: Measuring a student's proficiency through assessments is an invaluable tool for educators. However, the printing and time spent grading tests can be quite costly. It is estimated that by reducing the materials used and time spent manually grading tests and implementing technology-based tests, schools can stand to save $44 per student per year.
- Disciplinary Actions: Research indicates that in 1:1 technology schools, the need for disciplinary action decreases. Disciplinary actions not only inhibit the learning process, but are also costly with regard to staffing. Most schools with severe disciplinary issues tend to require additional security, thereby costing the school more to protect and educate students. When disciplinary actions are reduced, schools can save up to $20 per student per year.
- Teacher Attendance: Research shows that in 1:1 schools, teachers are less likely to call in sick. The indirect costs of finding and paying a substitute can add up. Schools can save up to $718 million a year nationally, based on a 1% increase in teacher attendance. This would save schools $13 per student per year as a result of investment in technology.
- Copy Machine Costs: Schools spend a significant amount of their operating budget each year on the costs associated with copy machines. It is estimated that a high school with 1500 students spends $100,000 annually on copies. When technology is used to replace paper and copies, schools will save $2.2 billion nation-wide. This is a savings of $40 per student per year.
While schools may be looking at the price tag of technology with hesitation, a school actually stands to save more by investing in technology tools. All things considered, 1:1 technology schools can expect to see a net savings of $164 per student per year. In a time when budgets are tight, every school can profit from the savings associated with implementing new technology tools in addition to the advantages schools will gain in improved learning and student engagement.
The benefits of using technology in the classroom are endless and saving money is only one of them. From improved test scores to a decrease in disciplinary action, technology is one of the key indicators of a quality education. Properly implemented technology tools can lead to the following benefits:
- Reduction in dropout rates
- Improvement in high-stakes test scores
- Decreased need for disciplinary action
- Better attendance
- Enhanced student motivation and engagement
In order for schools in Colorado to experience the benefits of technology, a reliable high-speed connection is needed. However, broadband connectivity alone cannot improve education. To successfully execute new policies, it is critical that school leaders are supportive, ensure quality instruction, provide opportunities for professional development, and foster a school environment in which student achievement is well established. Providing ongoing professional development for teachers is a determining factor in how successful new technology tools are in an educational setting. Without it, many software programs and technological tools go underused, thereby discouraging student achievement and wasting valuable resources.
Special Offer! Become a member of CASE and COSN, and get a free copy of "The Technology Factor: Nine Keys to Student Achievement and Cost-Effectiveness." Contact Melissa Gibson at the Colorado Association of School Executives at MGibson@co-case.org or 303.762.8762 for more details.
Pre-assessment for 2011-2012 School Year
EAGLE-Net will continue to offer the TLAP program for the 2011-2012 school year. The program is now open for pre-assessment through December 2011. Even though grant dollars are no longer available, EAGLE-Net will continue offering the TLAP program free of charge to Colorado school districts with its own funding.
What is TLAP?
TLAP (Technology Literacy Assessment Program) is an online technology literacy assessment that has been developed as part of a Title 2D Grant, by numerous school districts and BOCES throughout the state of Colorado. TLAP addresses schools' need to comply with state and federal reporting requirements on assessing the technology literacy proficiency of 8th grade students. The TLAP assessment consists of 36 multiple-choice questions, 6 questions per ISTE standard. The average time for taking the assessment is 22 minutes. Students needing multiple class periods are able to log in as often as needed during their scheduled assessment window to complete the assessment.
The final test for the 2011-2012 school year will go live in mid-January. We will contact all of the registered administrators when the test is ready for distribution.
If you have any questions, please visit the website www.coloradotechliteracy.org or contact Info@coloradotechliteracy.org.
Growing Today's Local Ideas into
Tomorrow's Global Solutions
What would you do if you knew that Internet services available in your county were costly, unreliable, and not very fast when compared to other areas of Colorado? If you're the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC), you would take action to ensure that the county stays "open for business."
In June, the CCEDC co-sponsored the Mountain Connect 2011 broadband conference to bring together rural communities, experts and groups like EAGLE-Net to share lessons learned. The conference sparked excitement among Chaffee County participants, and the CCEDC and Governor's Office of Information Technology formed a Local Technology Planning Team to work on broadband issues. This team meets biweekly and includes business and community leaders, government representatives and interested individuals.
To date, CCEDC staff has identified critical short-term needs of two large county employers and is working on immediate solutions. The team has launched a campaign, using the state's broadband survey, to inventory existing service in the county. With those results, a county-wide plan will be created that identifies future demand and pinpoints where infrastructure is needed. The plan will allow CCEDC staff to work with service providers, such as EAGLE-Net, to find solutions that meet the county's growing Internet needs.
In parallel, information has been aggregated, including the Broadband 101, on the ChaffeeConnect Web site. Workshops will be facilitated so businesses and individuals understand the benefits of high-speed broadband and become knowledgeable about online tools and business opportunities. Finally, CCEDC is meeting with surrounding counties, that are interested in joining forces to find a regional broadband strategy for central Colorado.
High-speed broadband is the infrastructure need of the 21st century to help rural Colorado grow and thrive.
ChaffeeConnect is working to make that a reality in central Colorado.
More information can be found at www.chaffeeconnect.org or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Technology in Use
School Officials Deliver Statewide Updates with Web Meetings
Indiana Department of Education uses online tools to update schools on budget changes while lowering meeting costs.
Learn how the Indiana Department of Education solved their issues around quickly disseminating information to large numbers across the state. Additionally, their use of technology allowed them to increase training and development without increasing costs.
Don Gilroy, director of the office of digital media at the Indiana Department of Education, "We have a responsibility to the public to use our funds as effectively as possible," he says. "We needed a web-based technology that would not only help us deliver information to school personnel more rapidly, but would also allow us to do it in a way that was much less expensive than meeting in person."
Learn more by:
Meet Our Staff
Director of Infrastructure Implementation
Andrew Wright joined EAGLE-Net in April 2011. His degrees include an MBA in Operations Management and Electronic Commerce from Regis University as well as a BA/BS from Arizona State University in Computer Information Systems and Business. Andrew has over 13 years of management experience in technology with the last 5 being the CIO of one of the fastest growing school districts in Colorado, School District 27J in Brighton.
At EAGLE-Net, Andrew's specialty is the implementation of applications and architecture to customers via the network. This enables customers to be able to fully utilize the broadband connection from EAGLE-Net to do other things besides basic Internet browsing. While working in School District 27J, Andrew worked on implementing numerous programs using their 50+ miles of fiber. These programs significantly increased student achievement and graduation rates in the district, which were among the best in the Denver metro area; all while decreasing the annual costs for these services. He hopes similar results to replicate in all school districts across Colorado in his role at EAGLE-Net.
Andrew is also active in local and national leadership groups for educational technology with the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), Colorado Association of Leaders in Educational Technology (CALET), and Consortium of School Networking (COSN). He is a nationally published author on distributed computer management, has had the honor of presenting papers on identity management at national conferences, and is the current CALET President.
To contact Andrew, email email@example.com.