Monongalia County (West Virginia) Board of Education gets technology update – WV News

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Updated: November 13, 2022 @ 12:44 pm
Director of Technology Chris Urban talks to the Monongalia County Board of Education.

Director of Technology Chris Urban talks to the Monongalia County Board of Education.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) — The Office of Technology at Monongalia County Schools is involved in so much more than just making sure each student has a functioning Chromebook.
Director of Technology Chris Urban presented Monongalia County Board of Education board members an overview of what her department does and thanked them for their support.
“We couldn’t do what we do if the Office of Technology was not supported,” Urban said. “I know I send you large orders, but I’m very appreciative.”
One reason for the large orders over the past two years was the fact that the supply chain was disrupted during the pandemic. Urban cited the drastic increase in computer chip prices as an example and she mentioned continuing difficulty in finding projectors.
As a result, Urban purchased 123 interactive displays to replace projectors using local levy money and another 123 using state Tools for Schools money, which should arrive in three or four weeks.
There are six technicians in the Office of Technology who work in the administrative building, and each of the 18 schools has its own EdTech leader, Urban said. She placed herself at the bottom of the organization chart saying her mission is to support her techs that do the kind of wiring and router configuration she can’t.
Urban credited Deputy Superintendent Donna Talerico for her vision in increasing the number of EdTechs. There are still counties that only have two or three.
“It’s been phenomenal and helps make the teachers’ lives easier by having them there because everything nowadays is driven by technology,” she said.
There is hardware such as Chromebooks and iPads, but freezers are smart and send a text out if the temperature climbs too high, Urban said. There is specialty software for individual departments, software used for grading and general software such as the Adobe package, which has 22 programs or Microsoft 365.
Board member Nancy Walker asked when the next cycle of replacements for Chromebooks would happen and she was told two more years. Walker followed up by asking how the Chromebooks were holding up under use.
“Great. They really are,” Urban said. “I mean that I’m not gonna lie, there are issues, but they are holding up better than they have. I think the biggest change is kids are now realizing they don’t want to be without, so they take better care of them. Because all the teachers use them. And that’s kind of been a mind shift in the last two years.”
Students aren’t held liable for damaged Chromebooks, but it may take a few days to get them replaced, she said.

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