Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Profile: Sonja Gonzalez, Director of IT, Oyster River Cooperative School District, Durham, NH

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Profile: Sonja Gonzalez, Director of IT, Oyster River Cooperative School District, Durham, NH

Article excerpt

* HELPING HANDOVER

"I studied mechanical engineering in college, worked at Polaroid for a few years, then weaved my way into marketing and sales. I was working for myself for a while, trying to get involved in my community--what better way to meet people than to volunteer at a school. As it happened, around 1997 my husband's company was getting rid of a bunch of computers, so I went to the elementary school and asked if they wanted some of them. They said sure, but they didn't know what to do with them. So I set up a network at the school, then wrote some grants to get them technology funding. Soon they offered. me a job."

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

* LEARNING A NEW WAY

"When I got out of school in 1988, I arrived at Polaroid and was given a computer, a username, and a password. It soon became very obvious to me that the way I was taught to do things in school was a hindrance, and I had to stop myself from doing them that way. I always wanted to pick up a book or write on paper; that just slowed me down. It was obvious that if you could do things electronically you went faster."

* THIN IS IN

"In classrooms, we often have power issues--a few circuits that get overloaded. A typical desktop has a 250- to 300-watt power supply. You go to a thin client and you're down to a 10-watt power supply, so now I can put 20 to 22 thin clients on a single circuit and not worry about it. Thin clients do have their limitations. They're not going to be your high-end workstation. But for most of what we do, such as when we create writing labs and research labs, with thin clients we can bring our numbers up fairly inexpensively, especially when you think about how much it costs to put in your typical desktop computer lab with all of the dedicated circuits. It's a great way to get your 1-to-1 ratio in the classroom and have a lot of applications available to students at a low buy-in cost, along with less time spent in maintenance."

* I ALSO LIKE ...

"Netbooks--simply laptops with minimal specs--are good enough for a lot of the things we do in schools. They're physically light for the students to carry and their price point is nice--about $400, as opposed to the $750 or so that we pay for our 14-inch laptops. To me, they're equivalent to a thin client sort of environment as far as what applications I can run on them. …

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