You Gotta Have Cart

Voted one of the Tech-Savvy Superintendents of the Year for 2005, Sacramento, CA's Grant Joint Union School District superintendent Larry M. Buchanan knows that staying ahead of technological advancements can benefit his students greatly. As part of a major overhaul to the district's outdated AV educational equipment, he enlisted California reseller, Matrix Ingenuity, to help rebuild the district's multimedia focus.

A major element to the project was the installation of Matrix carts in 15 libraries across the district. "Because they couldn't put one in every classroom, they decided to put it in the library so when they did the training for core courses they had to teach all the students, they could all gather in a central location," explained Matrix Ingenuity president, Theresa Naumann. Additionally, the location allows for large groups to meet for staff development and training. However, one of the advantages of the Matrix cart is its portability, so teachers are also able to roll the cart around campus.
The tools are largely contained in the Matrix cart itself. Each cart includes a multimedia PC, a Polycom ViewStation FX videoconferencing codec, a Global Cache network adapter, a DVD/VCR combination, an AV receiver and a signal management platform. The cart includes an Altinex MultiTasker with Simtrol's ONGOER to provide control and integration solutions for the disparate devices, and the InterWrite iPanel from GTCO CalComp controls the entire AV system. Matrix Ingenuity installed about 80 percent of the overall equipment for the project, with the remaining being equipment the school already had in place. The district already had several new projectors and some projection screens, but some had to be replaced with new Da-Lite screens if they were too small, old or damaged. In several classrooms, GTCO CalComp InterWrite SchoolBoards, durable electronic whiteboards, were installed to provide a complete interactive environment.
Most classrooms, however, have daylight screens installed, and with the use of a projector and a computer that has the software installed, teachers are using InterWrite SchoolPads to enliven their lessons. Used in conjunction with or independent of the Matrix cart and integrating with the ONGOER software, these Bluetooth wireless pads provide the instructor full mobility throughout the room while operating the system. "You can do everything you would at the board, but now you can walk around and maintain control of these busy rooms," said Naumann.

Adding to the experience are the InterWrite Personal Response Systems (PRS). These wireless infared transmitters allow students to provide instant feedback to a teacher's presentation. "She can put up a math problem, for example, and ask them to answer it, and they can answer with the PRS without getting up to go to the board," explained Naumann. Each student can use a PRS clicker, a simple device with a few buttons. The teacher can go through a presentation, and as she's going through she can bring up a slide with a multiple-choice quiz question or an opinion question, and in that slide is embedded the PRS software, so the students can answer the question, and she gets an instant response back and will know whether or not they've understood what they've been taught.

Cambridge Soundworks...

Global Cache...



Mary Bakija is a writer and editor with more than 15 years of storytelling experience. Bakija is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Library and Information Science to help others find and tell important stories that might otherwise be lost, and to ensure those stories are preserved for future generations to see.