Computer shortage means Minooka students can use personal electronics in class
BY KRIS STADALSKY Correspondent November 1, 2013 7:42PM
Updated: December 5, 2013 6:15AM
Because of a computer shortage, Minooka Community Consolidated School District 201 administrators are encouraging students to bring their own electronic devices to school to do classwork.
The District 201 board recently approved a policy outlining what is acceptable and what is not when using personal electronics in the classroom. It’s one way for the district to try to keep up with the demand for computers in the classroom when there aren’t enough to go around, Assistant Supt. Steph Palaniuk said.
More state-required assessments and curriculum work are online, and educators don’t have enough computers for all students to work at the same time.
“I don’t think we even have enough for two-thirds of our students,” Palaniuk said.
Minooka Intermediate School, for example, is in need of three or four more carts, each consisting of 30 laptops and a charging station.
No electronic device smaller than 71/2 diagonal inches is allowed, according to the policy, which will make it easier for teachers to monitor what students are doing and to keep them on track. Banned devices include cellphones, iPods and iPod Touch, Palaniuk said.
Students can visit only school-approved sites on their personal devices while in school.
The district has allowed students to bring personal electronics to school for some time, but the policy makes it official and provides guidelines about expectations, enforcement and purpose.
“We have laid out the parameters,” Palaniuk said.
The board has been working to increase the number of laptops each school year as the budget allows to replace older computers that don’t work properly or are not compatible with needed programs, Supt. Al Gegenheimer said.
Board President Jim Satorius recommended ordering one additional cart of 30 laptops now for Minooka Intermediate School instead of waiting until the next school year. The computers will cost $7,000 to $8,000, and a recharging cart is $2,000.
Administrators still are concerned about the district’s networking capability during mass online assessments, Palaniuk said. With a second round of Discovery testing coming up, teachers purposely will put all students on computers at the same time to test the system.