Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Aug. 28, 2000

ITV to speed up LP school's Internet access

By Jane Otto

The upcoming school year may not move as fast as students would like, but Internet access on school computers will certainly move faster.

The interactive TV network (ITV) will change greatly due to some grant money the district received, School Supt. James Redfield told the board at its meeting last Monday.

Aside from taking college courses via ITV, Internet access will be via ITV. The system will be updated to serve as an automatic switching hub for Internet access, explained Redfield. It will recognize any computer that is asking for access and then supply that access at a speed the equivalent of a T-1 line.

How fast is that?

To give you an idea, information travels at about 768 kilobytes per second (kbps) in half a T-1 line, and in most home personal computers, (PCs) at only 28.8 to 56 kbps.

Another grant has provided the school with 64 refurbished PC computers through the prison system. Redfield said that they came with only the Windows operating system.

Internet cards have to be purchased and installed, as does software.

Elementary principal Richard Hartshorn said that the elementary school needs to decide whether to convert the computer lab to PCs and put three to four Macintoshes in each classroom or vice versa. Up until now, the school has mainly used Macintosh computers.

Regardless of the decision, the elementary will still need primary software for PCs.

"That's an expensive venture," said Hartshorn.

Since most of the staff is unfamiliar with a PC environment, staff members recently participated in a three-day training program given by Mindsharp. A teacher/training grant made the participation possible.

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