Locations for Wireless Classrooms
from Gongwer News
Service, November 19, 2002
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Six school districts covering
different regions of Michigan were awarded funds Tuesday by
state officials to implement wireless laptop computers in some
of their classrooms, a technology supporters say engages
pupils and poses fewer practical hurdles than wired computers.
Winning grants were: Berrien County Intermediate School
District ($1.3 million), Detroit Public Schools ($1.1
million), Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District
($1.1 million), Flint Community Schools ($1.1 million), Kaleva
Norman Dickson School ($650,000) and the Traverse Bay
Intermediate School District ($650,000).
An additional eight schools already providing wireless
computing technology received grants of about $100,000. The
program, paid for by $6 million in federal funds and $3.5
million in state funds, was launched by House Speaker Rick
Johnson (R-LeRoy) with the Department of Education and the
Michigan Virtual University collaborating to administer it.
"We need to be putting technology in the hands of our children
to make sure they can compete and not just survive, but
thrive, in the 21st century," said State Superintendent of
Public Instruction Tom Watkins.
The Department of Education will oversee and evaluate the
program. Virtual University President David Spencer said 94
school districts turned in applications. Several of the
state's 15 public universities and numerous private technology
firms offered assistance to the school districts that applied.
About 10,000 pupils are expected to benefit from the program
out of the state's roughly 1.7 million schoolchildren. Mr.
Johnson and Mr. Watkins said they hope to broaden its scope
"It's exciting for me that it's really starting off the way we
wanted to," Mr. Johnson said.
Mr. Johnson has been pushing for greater adoption of wireless
technology in schools. It is a cheaper alternative for
technology that avoids problems in older school buildings that
lack high-speed phone lines for relatively smooth Internet
activity and insufficient electric outlets. Wireless also
offers mobility and avoids a ganglion of cords and wires in
Districts will target the program at specific grade levels
through their district.
Receiving the smaller grants to aid with existing programs:
Alpena Public Schools, Chelsea School District, Gladwin
Community Schools, North Dickinson School District, North Star
Academy, Onsted Community Schools, Vanderbilt Area Schools and
Zeeland Public Schools. Officials are considering adding two