Tech updates get Woodstock in touch with the world.
After two and a half years of preparation, Woodstock students were finally able to access the Internet and email with relative freedom last semester, an opportunity that will continue through this semester. Email and Internet are not the only benefits of the system updates, however. Computer Education teacher David Wiebe is chairing the Academic Technology Committee, which aims to educate teachers about the new resources available at Woodstock, and also to help them use these resources in their teaching. According to Mr. Steve Ediger, Administration Information Systems, many of the teachers do not use the technology in their classes because they are not familiar with the possibilities. One of the main goals of the ATC is to "get the teachers one step ahead of the students." While this may take some time, students can already be involved with the new technology in other ways academic. Classes in programming as well as in basic computer education have already been making use of the technology for over a year. The Computer Crew has also taken on more responsibilities in the area of training new users.
So what exactly have the system updates included? When Mr. Ediger come to Woodstock, there was not a common program. There were about 100 computers running multiple versions of DOS, Windows, and Word Perfect. These computers have been updated so they all run the same version of Winclows95 and Office97, which have been licensed to Woodstock; furthermore, 30 new computers have been added. The main campus now makes use of three servers. One of these serves the office staff, accounting department, and administration; another serves the library and will soon include an electronic card catalog to replace the hard version currently in use. The third server includes an email, web, and proxy server, which makes the off-campus connection. Through this server, students email their parents and friends and visit sites like www.woodstock.ac.in on the Internet.
In his work through the post two and a half years, Mr. Ediger has been assisted by an outside contractor, Puneet Kaura, who comes to Woodstock two to four times a week. Last semester Mr. Lynn Black also joined the group as technical support, and this semester new staff member Christy Dinakaran will also be helping with training part-time. The updates have been made possible not only by the hard work of Ediger and his crew, but also through grants by a group called American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA). These grants have been given over a period of time beginning in the late 1980s and have also helped the Science Department, Media Center, Arts Department, and Audio/Visual Crew.
How are these up-dates working in practice? Most of the students and staff are very enthusiastic about their new communication opportunities. Students can keep in touch more easily at school, even emailing information for group homework and projects to each other. The research sources available have greatly increased with easier access to information outside of the campus, as has the ability to keep up with the rest of the world. Admittedly, there is a negative side. Some students do not really understand the system well enough to respect the rules and responsibilities that go with using it. Fortunately, because the Woodstock community is making an effort to increase user education, this problem shouldn't last long. So many staff and students are willing to help others learn to use the new system that everyone at Woodstock could be online in the very near future.
Rachael Smith, 12th Grade
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