District integrates more technology

Brian Chang, News Editor

Plans for future technological improvements were revealed by the school board at its recent meeting.

During the Sept. 6 meeting, Walnut Valley Unified School District Information Technology Manager Adam Doty spoke about the past use of technology in Walnut Valley schools.

He then began discussing new measures recently put into effect, such as an online application called MyPortal.

The program groups multiple apps together, such as Google Classroom, the Microsoft Office suite and Aeries, to allow staff and students to access them all with just one password. MyPortal replaced Blackboard, the district’s old system.

“We were noticing that at certain elementary schools, these third grade kids had 15 to 17 different usernames and passwords they had to remember,” Doty said. “We wanted to bring this all in, synchronize a lot of these applications.”

In addition, Doty discussed Illuminate, a new testing system put into practice last year, and a district newsletter highlighting teachers who have been using technology in their classrooms. Netop Vision is another piece of technology implemented throughout the district this year. The software allows teachers to view and manipulate student laptop screens.

“[Having] eyes on me has never been this easy,” Doty said. “Say a kid in the back is having a tough time seeing the projector, everyone has a laptop. My screen is now on your screen, and I know what everyone is looking at at that time.”

Doty said that during the past year, there has been a significant decrease in the number of Windows computers on campus. This is the third year of this trend, as more Windows laptops are being replaced with iPads and Apple computers.

The district will focus on diving deeper into the applications of Illuminate, MyPortal and Google Classroom this year.

“We are focusing this year on what we call the year of integration,” Doty said. “We really want to take all these devices, all these technologies that are available, and bring it all together. Bring it all into the classroom, make it easy to use and make it a part of everyday life.”

The school’s wifi networks may also be expanded to include fields so students will have wireless access even outside the classroom.