When students at Cranford High School return in September, they'll notice more gadgets in and around the classrooms.
The most obvious will be 20 new Dell computers in the business lab, according to Michael Mangini, the Computer Systems Manager for the Cranford School District.
Mangini said students in a science room and math room will also notice two more SMART Boards, which is an interactive whiteboard. He added that the district is pleased to offer such products, which enhance student learning.
"Technology does assist kids who think school is boring," he said. "It goes right into their hands."
Other technology additions won't be as apparent.
Mangini said they're trying to add several more wireless points in the building, including hot spots in a science room, the media center and in the A wing. He explained that it's difficult to get a strong wireless signal in the building because it's "built like Fort Knox."
He said most students will no longer be using the USB keys to store their computer files, as viruses were becoming rampant. Instead more students will begin using Web Lockers – an online storage system and a safer alternative.
Lastly Mangini said more of the freshman students will use PowerSchool - an Internet based student data information system designed to share information between parents, students and teachers regarding student grades and attendance. According to the Pearson Products, the company that distributes PowerSchool, the program supports more than 8.5 million students in 50 states and over 50 countries. Mangini said more Cranford High teachers are being trained in the program.
Mangini said despite all the additions, the school district has cut back on its technology budget. He said this may be one of the last years students see real advances in the technology offered at the school due to lack of state and federal funding.
"There are other things we need to upgrade but we've put them on the backburner," he said.
Mangini said the district is trying to get grants in order to upgrade current technology and purchase new items. For example, Mangini said the district is working on a grant to purchase 24 Apple iPod touches on which teachers can put educational applications.
"There are a lot of different things coming down and hopefully with the grants we'll be able to be on top of it all," he said.