upper waypoint

Oakland Schools Get Wireless Upgrade, New Computers

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

elmhurst
Elmhust Community Prep, in Oakland, where schools have been getting a wireless computer network upgrade as well as new computers in preparation for online testing. (Katrina Schwartz/KQED)

Oakland grade-school students will start taking the state's new online standardized tests this week. District technology experts have been working hard over spring break to make sure  every school's wireless network is ready to handle the testing. The district spent $3.2 million on Google Chromebooks and Internet upgrades in preparation.

Elmhurst Principal Killian Betlach says his teachers have been using Chromebooks in the classroom for more than a year, but have been frustrated with slow Internet speeds, and they have frequently gotten booted off the network. That's made teachers reluctant to rely on technology when planning lessons.

John Krull, Oakland Unified's IT director, says his team has quadrupled the wireless bandwidth in most schools, and Betlach says he's now confident that everyone can simultaneously use the network without impacting its reliability. He expects the devices will allow teachers to give a group of students a task online so that the teachers will be freed up to help struggling students in a smaller group.

California provided the money for the tech upgrade in order to prepare schools for the new online standardized tests. When those are over, the schools will keep the new devices to support teaching. Oakland planned its technology purposes with these two uses in mind.

"Really our plan is that these Chromebooks are for teaching and learning as well as for assessment," Krull said. "We want to have that link between teaching and learning and assessments so that we roll the Chromebook carts into the classroom, the students are used to using them for learning. And then when it's time to do testing, they just use them for testing." The carts will allow students to take the tests in their own classrooms, where they are comfortable.

Sponsored

The district can easily configure the devices for testing so that students cannot navigate to other resources online while taking the test. Then, when testing is over, they switch off the testing mode and the device once again can be used to access any part of the Internet allowed under the school's filter.

lower waypoint
next waypoint
San Francisco's 1st Mayoral Debate Is Here. The Stakes Are HighFor High Schoolers in the South Bay, Silicon Valley LoomsAs California's Transitional Kindergarten Enrollment Grows, Parents Must Make Big ChoicesSan Francisco's New License Plate Readers Are Leading to Arrests — and Concerns About PrivacyNewsom Proposes Cuts to Medi-Cal Amid Budget DeficitTaco Bell, KFC Workers in San José Walk Out Over Hot, Dangerous ConditionsSF Mayor Candidates Speak to Their Bases and No One Else at 1st Debate5 Takeaways from the 1st San Francisco Mayoral Candidate DebateCOVID Keeps Rising in Bay Area Wastewater. What to Know, From New Variants to SymptomsSan Francisco Declares Itself a Transgender Sanctuary City