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Last Updated: 03/12/2018


 Article of Interest - Education

State Announces 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 over time.
"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 classrooms.
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 additional districts.

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