Effingham County’s schools are pushing ahead with 21st century classrooms.
Schools information technology coordinator Jeff Lariscy said there are plans to continue to purchase products for interactive classrooms. The school system started at Effingham County Middle School using Promethean products.
However, they weren’t as flexible as Interwrite’s line of products, Lariscy said.
“We initially started at Effingham County Middle with Promethean products, and they were great, but they weren’t as flexible as the Interwrite products,” he said. “At all the other schools we are deploying Interwrite.”
Lariscy said the board is continuing to place Promethean systems at ECMS because the teachers have learned to use them and are comfortable with them. Lariscy said he does not know how many interactive classrooms ECMS has but knows the school is very close to having all of its classrooms interactive.
Assistant Superintendent Greg Arnsdorff said ECMS is closer to being completely interactive because the school used some of its discretionary Title I funds to purchase the equipment over the last three years.
A fully equipped interactive classroom includes a new computer, an interactive board, an interactive pad, student response devices or clickers, a projector, a monitor, speakers and a power retrofit and installation of the products.
Lariscy said there has not yet been an experience with an interactive board going bad.
“There will be something new, something better, but as long as the board continues to work, it will provide that interactive nature,” he said.
The cost for a classroom to be completely equipped is approximately $6,430. The budget to equip more classrooms with the technology over the next five years is $1.75 million.
Also to be improved is surveillance at the schools.
“That’s something that we’re hitting fast and furious right now,” Lariscy said. “We tried a little bit of this in-house, and we weren’t very successful with this.”
Lariscy told the board there are plans to install video surveillance at all of the schools throughout the upcoming year beginning in the high schools and working down to the elementary schools. The total budget for the project is $450,000.
Work was projected to start Monday at Effingham County High School installing the cameras and recording equipment. South Effingham High School will receive its cameras and recorders soon and Lariscy expects them to be in by the first football game.
He said the systems should have several benefits, including deterring discipline problems, vandalism. and assisting in identifying vandals.
Lariscy said he thinks one of the most beneficial aspects of the system is the ability to connect it to a WiFi coverage at the front of the school that would allow administration or law enforcement to view the cameras from outside the building in the event of a crisis situation.
Arnsdorff said there will be approximately 50 cameras in each of the high schools.
Lariscy said some of the areas are hard to cover. He said the systems will allow for growth if additional cameras are needed in the future.